Sorry to hear about grandma. Please tell her that many of us thought ourselves to be fit and well before our strokes, so it is both difficult at first to accept the stroke and equally difficult to deal with the physical and emotional consequences. Support for stroke survivors varies from area to area, so is a bit of a lottery. Mine was very good, but because of demands on the NHS it is necessarily time limited.
Please warn grandma that progress tends to be good at first and then slows down. Physio and self exercise regimes tend to be repetitive but have to be done over and over again. Tell grandma she must be determined, but also have a sense of humour. She may well break things, feel very frustrated and she certainly must know how to get up from a fall.
It is important that she realises what progress she makes. I am four years post stroke and like grandma it affected my left side. I had to learn to walk again, tie shoe laces and get myself up and down stairs. Every bit of progress was hard fought for, but it comes. It helps to break tasks down into stages and take time doing them. Every task done, though is a task achieved.
I think the two hardest things to deal with are post stroke fatigue and moods that go up and down. I still have to rest for an hour every day, so I do not try to fight this. There is also a tendency to feel depressed and scared of another stroke or imminent death, These fade with time. Tell grandma it’s okay to swear too. I do if the least little thing goes wrong. For example, this morning I dropped a teaspoon into the food waste container and had to ferret about amongst old tea bags to get it out. Certain expletives were said, but the spoon was rescued.
Tell her also, that whilst she cannot do what she did before, she can still achieve. I cook, bake, go on short breaks and, last Saturday, enjoyed a night at the theatre. Yes, I have a weak left arm and hand and I walk slowly with a stick, but I am alive. I can still see beauty in my surroundings, despite being unable to get a bus at will and go on the country walks I used to love.
The best advice I received was, ‘Although you are not yet the person that you were, remember to be the person you are now’. I always bear this in mind. The Stroke Association are a great help too. Wish grandma all the best from me.