In the video below, Allan discusses how he got back to getting out and about.
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Q. One of the things you wanted to get back to after your stroke was getting out and about and socialising again – That can be a big thing to do so what were you’re thoughts about that?
A. I was apprehensive and worried about how people would react because after forty years of being able-bodied to suddenly having a disability overnight, kind of worried me a bit. It was difficult.
Q. Did the Occupational Therapist make some suggestions in the hospital before you left?
A. She did. One of the things she said to do was to try and socialise and get back to doing the things I enjoyed. I liked to go to the Cinema and I was really worried but once I done it I was thinking that it wasn’t a big deal. It was those initial steps… even the thought of going out was a bit apprehensive.
Q. Did your wife go out with you the first time you left the house?”
A. Unfortunately, she did! (laughs). I had a stick and walking was difficult and I was frightened that I might fall on to my affected side so she would hold on to my arm and walk with me just to stabilise me. Over time it got a lot easier.”
Q. You were a driver before your stroke and driving was a bit part of your job for getting out and about and socialising too. For the first year, you weren’t driving?
A. Yes, that’s right.
Q. How are you getting out and about.?
A. Basically, I had a bus pass which was free travel and I used that but I found that even getting out the door… I had a lot of depression at that time and um, I was worried about what people were thinking. Just getting to the bus stop was a challenge in itself.
Q. How did you pace yourself?
A. One step at a time. I tried walking around the block and my wife and myself would walk up to ASDA but I would like to go first thing in the morning, at 7am or 8am so no one was about because I felt so self conscious.
Q. So sometime it was not just the physical problems you had but also the psychological adjustments you had to make as well?
A. It’s a strange situation to be thrown into. Having to learn new ways and have a new life but luckily with the support from my wife and friends and going out and doing things, it felt really good. It’s just making that initial first step that’s going to make a difference.
Q. So does your wife still come out with you now and to the shops and the cinema?”
A. The good thing is I go out to the shops with her but while she is in the shops I’ll go for a coffee in a café. I get some peace and quiet with a paper!
Q. So you’re still getting out and about but you don’t have to do your messages?
A. Yeah, the only time I get a phone call in the supermarket is when I have to go and pay for it.
Q. That sounds like a good compromise?
Q. Not on my part! (laughs).
Hints and tips:
- Do part of the task and gradually build up to doing more
- Ask someone to accompany you the first time you go out
- Take control
- Work towards a reward
- Make a plan including places to sit and rest and ensure that someone else knows where you are
Something to try
Would any of these hints and tips help you? Make a note of these and think how you could put them into action.