12 Days of Giving

12 DAYS OF GIVING
GRATEFUL PATIENT SPOTLIGHT

Vicki Edward is a Grateful Patient…

Recovering from a stroke can be a long and arduous process, but having the support of knowledgeable and caring medical professionals along the way is key to keeping patients motivated to do all they can to regain control of their lives.

Vicki Edward

From left: Occupational/Physical Therapists Tara Porter and Brooke Stewart, Grateful Patient Vicki Edward, and Physiotherapists Lynn Zammit and Susan Brandon.

For Vicki Edward, the care and support she received at the Brant Community Healthcare System since suffering a stroke in the Fall of 2015 has helped her continue to regain range of motion, and she’s committed to the work it takes to be able to move the way she used to.

It was a regular day for Vicki when she arrived at work and went about opening the store she was managing. It was mid-morning and while on a ladder retrieving something from a shelf, she suddenly felt “off.”

“I noticed I felt a little dizzy when I got off the ladder… with a rocking sensation,” said Vicki. She excused herself to get a drink of water and to sit for a minute.

“I’m one of those people who when you’re sick, you’re not really sick. I just work through it,” she said. “I did that all day. I don’t think I had the typical stroke symptoms.”

Her dizziness and the rocking sensation came and went, but she called her husband, Gethin, to ask that he pick her up from work. She wasn’t sure if what she was experiencing was vertigo, but she felt she shouldn’t drive herself home.

Co-workers, friends and her husband encouraged her to go to the hospital to find out what was wrong, but Vicki admits she was afraid of hospitals. She had never gone, except to deliver her children.

By the time Vicki and her husband arrived at The Brantford General, she was weaker, but able to walk in by herself. Emergency Department staff quickly triaged Vicki, asking specific questions to determine if she had experienced a stroke.

“They really felt I had a clot,” she said.

After having a CAT scan, Vicki was admitted to the stroke unit. The Brant Community Healthcare System is a District Stroke Centre, where medical staff specialize in the treatment and recovery of patients who have suffered a stroke.

“I think once they saw me, they knew I was having a stroke,” said Vicki.  That was the beginning of a 20-day stay in the Integrated Stroke Unit.

The next morning, the effects of the stroke had become more clear. She had no use of the left side of her body.

“Once I was at the hospital, everything started to shut down,” she said about the delayed reaction.

The Physical and Occupational Therapists immediately started Vicki on a regimen of rehabilitation exercises. Even while she required the use of a wheelchair during the early days of her care, she was encouraged to use her feet to walk herself along. Her first goal was to get out of the wheelchair. She was frustrated that she needed to call a nurse to assist her with most tasks, but said she rarely had to wait for their care.

“It’s a very busy floor,” said Vicki. “Those people work hard on that floor.”

“They really get you going fast (on your recovery). That’s the part I loved.”

Vicki praises the therapists in the Rehabilitation unit for getting her started right away on recovering from the deficits that came with her stroke. Staff are committed to an active and coordinated process where people who are disabled by disease, injury, or surgery work to regain their best level of independence. There are a variety of services aimed at stroke patients, but everyone receives timely, effective and patient-focused care.

Vicki said she had a lot of support from family and friends during her recovery, and that helped keep her motivated to work hard. Five months after her stroke, Vicki continued her rehabilitation therapy on an out-patient basis and was keen to try any exercise or idea suggested by the therapists.

The nurses and therapists had lots of useful information available to her and answered any questions without hesitation.

Vicki has made some adjustments in her lifestyle, such as getting more sleep each night, exercising each day, adopting a heart-healthy diet, and now takesmedication for her blood pressure.

“It’s a very long, slow process,” she said. “That’s the thing about a stroke. It’s so unique to each person, you don’t know how long it’s going to take you to get back to normal.”

Her therapists are also credited with helping to keep her motivated during times when she didn’t feel she was making any progress.

“You can really get down if you don’t feel you’re improving,” she said. “But you learn that every little milestone you have is a good one.”

As Vicki and her family know first-hand, when crisis or illness impacts you or a loved one, the Brant Community Healthcare System is here to offer you exceptional healthcare in your time of need.

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