I want to share this story with you. It is about my mom and her life after she suffered a severe stroke. About 3 1/2 years ago mom had a stroke that left her unable to walk & talk. More specifically she lost the use of the right side of her body – she is half paralyzed. She also lost her ability to speak comprehensively. She can say only a few words but people can communicate with her still by asking yes and no questions because she does comprehend what we say most of the time. Mom does have days where she seems to be less comprehensive than others but for the most part she is still all there, mentally.
Before her stroke you would always see her knitting a beautiful afghan, sweater, scarf or a hat while visiting with guests, watching television or whenever she had a minute to sit down & knit. It was one of those things that she really enjoyed doing. She had her works being sold in a couple of small speciality shops and at local functions. And when she was not knitting you may find her making speciality soaps that she sold in the same manner. She is very talented and loves making things with her hands.
After her stroke she only has use of the left side of her body. Being right handed, the stroke left her very much handicapped with very limited abilities. I tried to find a way for her to knit with her left hand only but had no success. Then I asked the social media world, via a knitting Facebook page, if anyone had any suggestions as to how mom may be able to knit in her current condition. One suggestion I received was to try a loom. Off to the craft store I went to buy a loom. I took the loom and yarn to her and we gave it a try. She seemed to do somewhat okay but neither one of us really knew what we were doing and we gave up.
Three years later than it should have happened mom and step dad were placed in my step sisters home where mom is finally getting the attention she needs to regain or re-learn whatever is possible. Thank God for Vera being willing to take on such a challenge of having mom & dad live with her and her being mom’s full-time caregiver.
For three years after the stroke mom & dad were living in a small hotel-like room with a wet bar and separate sleeping room at an assisted living facility. At the facility their unit was so small and crammed with stuff that if mom was not in her recliner she was in the way. She spent day after day stuck in her recliner except when they went to the dining hall for midday supper and when she went to bed at night. Being stuck in the recliner day after day was starting to affect her will to live. It was really hard to even go visit her, to see her that way and to watch her fading away.
With her new placement at my stepsister’s home, mom now has the assistance and space she needs to actually live the rest of her life. She goes for strolls in her power chair daily, plays cards, and enjoys her new found passion – SEWING. Yes, finally she is getting to do something useful with her hands as she has always enjoyed. She uses her foot to run the foot pedal and feeds the fabric with her left hand. Of course, she needs assistance with cutting and pinning the fabrics but she runs the machine by herself.
The reason for me writing this today is to let others know that stroke victims can and will survive as long as they are given the right resources and a healing environment. Do not let anyone tell you differently not even the patient. It may take time and it WILL take patience but it is worth every minute. If my story helps even just one person then it was worth my time and effort.
On a side note mom most likely would not have even had a chance to prove herself as being capable of using a power chair if it was not for my brother going out and buying her one and placing it at her assisted living unit. It sat there unused until one day mom insisted that the nurse put her in the power chair instead of the push chair. There was a small learning curve and a couple of scuffs along the walls but in no time mom was zooming along.
I am heading out now to SAS Fabrics Superstore to pick up some fabrics for mom so she can make blankets for friends and family members that have expressed that they would like her to make for them. SAS Fabrics Superstore is the best place in Arizona to buy affordable fabrics. It is a must visit fabric warehouse.
Take Care and happy sewing.