A woman told how she woke up in hospital with “locked-in” syndrome and was unable to speak after experiencing neck pain that turned out to be stroke.
Kate Green, 43, of Rotherham was taking her son Stanley, aged seven, swimming in December 2021 when she felt a sudden feeling of exhaustion.
She felt a severe pain in her neck when she returned home.
She said, “Within minutes, I couldn’t move, couldn’t talk, and very soon started struggling to breath.”
Kate was rushed into Rotherham Hospital, where she spent five months after suffering a stroke as a result of a bleeding on the brain.
She was left with the locked-in syndrome which left her awake but unable to communicate.
She told YorkshireLive that her son would have to deal with any after-effects.
“I think that for a seven-year old, this is a very difficult thing to understand.” He thought for a long time that it was his fault.
Mrs Green believes that access to support for the children of stroke survivors is a basic right.
She said: “I believe that this sort of thing, support and advice for kids at least, should be given to everyone automatically.” Maybe they can get access to child psychologists who can help them through the process.
Mrs Green was also concerned about losing her independence.
She said: “In Rotherham you continue to receive care at home. Whether it’s physios, or carers. But I felt that I would lose my independence.
“I have a young child and a working husband, so I felt that if i had gone home, they would have been under so much pressure to be my caregivers.”
The NHS does not provide funding for stroke survivors to receive physiotherapy.
She believes that one area where hospitals could improve would be the immediate access to rehab unit for those who do not have facilities at home.
Instead of classifying stroke treatment in acute care, Ms Green believes that a “rehab mentality” may be a better option.
She said: “What’s needed is a little bit of a cultural change.” I think the way people view aftercare is also important.
Mrs Green was forced to fund her rehabilitation after she faced some unexpected challenges.
“At first I couldn’t get upstairs. My mental health was affected when I thought that I would have to go to bed downstairs after saying “goodnight” to my family. “I just didn’t like that idea,” she said.
Another idea that Mrs Green has is to provide medical equipment such as her functional electrical stimulator. This would be a simple yet effective way to help those who are making long-term recovery.
Friends and family members have described the experience as a “wake up call” since Mrs Green was living a healthy life before the stroke.
She said: “I believe I was in a much better position because I did not smoke, was not overweight, and was quite fit. I think it’s because of that I’m still alive. So, I believe it’s important to take care of yourself from a young age.
“Even if you exercised for an hour or more a day, but spend most of your time sitting at work, you’re still classified as having a sedentary life style.”
Although the recovery took time, Mrs Green is still optimistic about the progress she’s made.
She said: “My current goal is to be able just to walk around my house by myself. Now I feel like it’s within reach. Now I can see that things are improving. I feel stronger. “I think I am in a great place.”
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