My ten top tips for stroke recovery

8

'Admit to your condition. The sooner you do this, the sooner the recovery journey can start.'

It is essential to admit this to yourself and to confide in others. The sooner you do this the sooner the recovery journey can start. In my experience, once I explained to people what had happened to me they understood and were usually willing to help.

In the beginning admitting to my condition was quite difficult largely because I did not understand it myself. I knew I had hemianopia, in fact I could even spell it, but I didn't understand exactly its effect on me. I did not realise that the reason I walked into people, bus stops, lampposts and the like was because I was half blind.

It was explained to me quite simply. I was told to look straight ahead and stretch out my arms shoulder-width apart. I could see my left hand but not my right. The reason I bumped into things is that, as far as I was concerned, they were not there. This was a revelation and persuaded me to have a white cane - I had not understood the need for one before. . .

I was taught how to use one by Sensory Support at North Tyneside Council and life soon became easier because I no longer banged into people and things. It also avoided confusion when the reason for my odd behaviour was not always obvious to others and was sometimes mistaken for something else, such as drunkenness or aggression.

The use of printed cards such as a Stroke Card or a Sight Impaired Card can be very helpful in these situations.

To learn more about hemianopia and to see a short presentation about a project called Read-Right, developed by University College Hospital London and part funded by the Stroke Association, to help people with it to read, click here.