EFFECTS of a stroke last for a long time after you leave hospital – and people don’t understand that.
That is how Martin Shaw from Southsea feels after suffering a stroke in May 2015 while watching Arsenal beat Aston Villa in the FA Cup Final on TV.
The 61-year-old said: ‘My right arm felt heavy. I put it down to the fact I drank a couple of cans of beer watching the football. I assumed it would just go away.
‘I woke up about 3am and realised that I could not feel my right side.’
The following day Martin was taken by ambulance to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.
Four years on Martin says he is still feeling the knock-on effects of a stroke and suffers with a limp, problems with balance and dexterity and depression.
He said: ‘It’s important that people understand more. It doesn’t just cause inconvenience for a while. The effects can be long-lasting.’
Martin was unemployed when he had his stroke after being made redundant by the Land Registry and has applied for more than 400 jobs and only landed one short-term role.
He said: ‘I don’t go anywhere for nights out because I haven’t got the money. It gets me down a lot because I miss out on anything that’s enriching culturally.
‘We used to go to a lot of rock concerts but I simply can’t afford it now. We have enough to get by and cover the basics but that’s all.’
Volunteering has kept Martin busy and he has been supported by the Stroke Association, which gave him money which he used to buy a guitar and a bus pass.
He said: ‘The association has been a tower of strength in the face of misunderstanding.
‘Playing the guitar helps my dexterity. I had been depressed and this has helped me immensely.
‘Most stroke survivors do not want sympathy, but a bit of understanding.’
Juliet Bouverie, chief executive of the Stroke Association, said: ‘Life changes instantly after a stroke, and the condition can have a huge cost, not only to people’s finances, but also to their health, independence and relationships. Not enough people realise the wider impacts that stroke can bring.’
For advice and support, visit the Stroke Association’s website www.stroke.org.uk