Heading out for her morning walk, Beverly started feeling faint and unwell. That was the last thing she recalls of the stroke that left her unable to walk or speak, with paralysis down her right side and no movement in her entire upper limb.
‘’Luckily, I didn’t fall down the stairs! My husband called the ambulance and I spent weeks in acute care at Royal North Shore Hospital before being transferred to Royal Rehab Private,’’ says Beverly. ‘’It was hard to come to terms with the fact that I had experienced a stroke and the instant effects it had on my ability to do basic everyday things.’’
Stroke often comes as a sudden shock for otherwise fit and healthy individuals like Beverly, but research shows that the lifetime risk of stroke for women between the ages of 55 and 75 is 1 in 5. What is surprising for some is that stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer does, making stroke the third leading cause of death for women.
Beverly’s stroke was a parietal intraparenchymal haemorrhage, meaning she had a bleed into the left side of her brain which affected her right side.
Looking back at her experience six weeks on in the comfort of Royal Rehab Private Hospital where she is receiving specialist rehabilitation support, Beverly reveals she became depressed early on as the reality of her situation set in. She credits the ‘’encouraging and skilled staff at Royal Rehab’’ and her determined personality to giving her the motivation to dig deep and give it all she has to recover.
‘’I decided I am strong and fit, so there was no reason I could not recover to a certain point. I was determined to work hard, and I know I was in the best place for stroke rehab.”
Under the direction of Rehabilitation Specialist, Dr Darren Lee, the multidisciplinary team of allied health professionals developed a personalised program designed to support Beverly achieve her goals. Her intensive treatments include daily sessions in the gym with physiotherapists and occupational therapists working on programs to support Beverly gain strength, function, and independence. Her husband is also very much involved throughout the whole process which empowers them as a team with knowledge and skills going forward.
Beverley continues to gain remarkable improvements in functionality – including movement in her arms and hands and the ability to stand with support.
Having trained as a nurse and then volunteered at a several hospitals over a 30-year period, Beverly is well qualified to make comment on her experience.
‘’I can now see light at end of the tunnel,’’ says Beverly. “They are fantastic here and the treatment is amazing. I would not be at the point I am at if not for the staff. They make you feel encouraged and safe. I truly feel now the sky is the limit!”
‘’I hope that everyone who is unfortunate to have a stroke, finds the care I have found at Royal Rehab Private Hospital. I say to other stroke survivors, ‘’give it all you have and then some more. This is not the end of the journey, just a different one than you imagined.’’
When she is ready to be discharged from the inpatient unit, Beverly looks forward to continuing her rehabilitation in the Royal Rehab Private Hospital Day Rehab program.