Having loves and cares to overcome challenges of stroke
On July 2010, one night, while Mr Yang was still working, he suddenly called his wife at home to tell her about his strong feeling of discomfort. The wife quickly called her son who was working near Mr Yang’s location then. Without having any delay, the son rushed to the scene and check his father’s condition.
Mrs. Yang recalled that after her son arrived and checked his father, her son found out Mr Yang was walking like a drunkard; thus, her son decided his father must be examined by a doctor. Eventually the attending doctor has confirmed Mr Yang was hit by stroke, so he must be transferred into hospital at once.
At that time, Mr Yang stood unsteadily and couldn’t speak. He couldn’t even recognize family members. During his hospitalisation, Mr Yang also experienced urinary incontinence. After going through several medical examinations, finally the doctor has advised Mr Yang to stay in hospital for ten more days.
Right after this thrilling event, Mr Yang has changed and behaved differently. He is no longer able to take care of himself and eat independently. Even his speech has become unclear since then.
Mr Yang can only obtain nutrition of food via larynx, and his life basically solely relying on his wife every day. Therefore, Mrs. Yang had to quit her job and look after her husband wholeheartedly.
Mrs Yang felt worry when taking care her husband initially. She was afraid that she would not be able to do her job well.
In the first four months after Mr. Yang’s stroke happened, Mrs. Yang decided to let her husband stayed in the nursing home and visited him daily instead. She also sent him to the National Stroke Association of Malaysia (NASAM) for seeking physical therapy.
While her husband was undergoing physiotherapy, Mrs. Yang was also actively learning on the necessary skills for taking care stroke patients. Four months later, she has acquired enough knowledge to look after her husband with more confidence.
Mrs. Yang relearn and communicate with her husband differently, in order to understand her husband’s thoughts, since he is facing speech problems after stroke.
Mrs Yang must be ready to face many other unexpected situations as well, for example, when her husband’s face turned pale or lips’ colour turned purple, she must stay alert since these might be the signs of having difficulty in swallowing.
Because of this, Mrs Yang had never dared to distance herself too far from her husband, hence, she cannot even leave home for any quick shopping or running errands.
After a period of adjustment and befriended with other stroke patients’ family members at NASAM, presently, Mrs Yang is considered quite well-versed in caring her husband. Moreover, Mr Yang’s health condition has been improving in past few years, so he started walking slowly with his crutches.
Mrs Yang commented that her husband’s health has always been unsatisfactory, his immunity was poor, coupled with medical history of high blood pressure and excessive blood cholesterol levels, so much so that, his health condition started deteriorating from bad to worse, and resulted stroke. She believed such unfortunate outcome largely can attribute to the long-term bad eating habits of her husband.
In the face of Mr. Yang’s stroke, Mrs Yang was overwhelmed at the beginning. At the same time, the doctor’s pessimistic forecasts also aggravated her despair and made her fall into desperation mood.
Fortunately, a friend has suggested her to seek helps from NASAM. Thanks to this advice, she began to see a bit of light at the end of tunnel.
Both Mr and Mrs Yang actively participated in various activities and slowly integrated into new community during stroke treatments in NASAM. Many patients and their family members have been communicating and cheering up each other there, thus creating the positive atmosphere to overcome the challenges boldly. Mrs Yang also managed to receive some government subsidies and eased the economic burden of her family to certain extent.
Ischaemic Stroke & Haemorrhagic Stroke
Brain’s blood vessels are blocked, resulting insufficient blood supply
Bleeds due to weakened vessels that ruptured
Remember the acronym, F.A.S.T.
4 Steps to recognise stroke
Facial Drooping : One side is drooping and hard to move, can be recognised by a crooked smile
Arm weakness : The inability to raise one’s arm fully
Speech Difficulties : The inability or difficulty to understand and produce speech
Time : Call for emergency services or send patient to hospitals
One in every 2,000 people suffers stroke
Improving our knowledge and preventing stroke
Prof Hamidon Basri pointed out stroke is a very serious disease. When someone in the family has suffered stroke, not only is the patient himself is tortured, but the entire family’s life is also disrupted. Therefore, every adult male and female should learn and prevent themselves from suffering stroke.
In Malaysia, one out of every 2000 adults do suffer from a stroke. High blood pressure is the main cause of stroke. When stroke occurs, the brain tissues will be damaged, and affected patients’ brains will no longer operating properly thereafter. Many stroke patients will feel dizziness and end up lying on beds.
Prof Hamidon said that, roughly speaking, stroke is divided into two major types, namely Ischaemic Stroke and Haemorrhagic Stroke. Another type of stroke is called “Transient Ischaemic Attack”, which is also known as “mini stroke” whereby patients can recover within 24 hours after the onset.
Stroke ranked third in all deaths. In addition, stroke is the biggest cause of physical disability.
About 75% of patients are late in arriving hospitals after their stroke attacks. The main reason largely due to 65% of people do not understand the common symptoms of stroke. What is even more worrying to doctors, is also the presence of sad reality, whereby approximately 78% of the patients are dependent on their families to decide whether they should be sent into the hospitals for seeking further treatments. In other words, poor knowledge on stroke, has resulted many avoidable delays of hospitalisations and created a lot of terrible consequences to stroke victims.
As such, general public should know more about National Stroke Association of Malaysia, (NASAM)
This association has two main objectives :
- Improve the quality of life of stroke patients. In addition to physical therapy, language therapy and occupational therapy are also provided by qualified therapists.
Other activities include functional activities, games, craftsmanship, mental training and more.
- Promote stroke awareness and encourage healthy lifestyles to reduce stroke in Malaysia.
NASAM Telephone Number