Long road to recovery from stroke
Life is slowly returning to normal for stroke survivor Betty Soi.
She suffered a stroke in July last year, aged 31, after a blood clot formed in her brain because of an infection.
“I was at work setting up one of my machines and then couldn’t feel my left hand,” she says.
“I sat down, then tried to get up and my left leg gave way.”
After months of antibiotics to clear the infection that caused the clot, and rehabilitation to learn to walk again, the Onehunga resident decided to regain her independence.
“In July this year I realised I’m not 100 percent, but just because I’ve got a disability shouldn’t stop me from living the dreams I want,” she says.
Ms Soi secured a part-time job at the Tongan Youth Trust as an administrative assistant.
She was helped by employment service Workbridge and the Stroke Foundation, who mark Stroke Awareness week this week.
She says the chance to get out and do something has done her the world of good.
“When all my family would leave me alone in the house I’d start crying.”
While she still has some trouble walking and is on medication to prevent seizures, Ms Soi says she is grateful there were no other complications caused by her stroke.
The 32-year-old hopes to be able to increase the hours she works as her health improves.
Stroke Foundation Northern Region chief executive Rex Paddy says the number of younger people suffering from strokes has increased in recent years.
Factors range from blood clots to abusing substances such as drugs and alcohol.
Symptoms can include one side of the face drooping, weakness on one side of the body and slurred speech.
Mr Paddy urges anyone who thinks they’re having a stroke to go straight to hospital for treatment.
“If they get to hospital with- in three hours they can have scans and tests done to find out if it’s a blockage born attack or bleeding.”
The foundation employ regional officers to advocate with government departments on behalf of the stroke victim so they get the support they’re entitled to.
They also provide stroke clubs to help people socialise and subsidise areas such as transport and rehabilitation to help sufferers live a normal life.
Stroke Foundation collectors will be on the street this week. For more information visit www.stroke.org.nz.
New beginnings: Stroke survivor Betty Soi is slowly getting her independence back with a part-time job at the Tongan Youth Trust in Onehunga.