Education sessions around the province offer practical advice to people who’ve had strokes — and their loved ones
Ray McDonald was able to move a toe, just a tiny bit, on his immobilized left side after he awoke from emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. “You know what that means?” his doctor asked. “That means you’ll walk again.” Now, two years after a hemorrhagic stroke flooded the right side of this brain with blood, McDonald is not only walking, but also telling other stroke survivors to not lose faith in the wonders of human resilience. That’s despite the fact he can’t see out of the left side of each eye, a condition called hemianopsia
, a type of vision impairment that’s not uncommon after a stroke. So he takes a white cane with him for walks, particularly in crowded situations when he’s likely to bump into people and they’re unlikely to understand because he looks perfectly normal.
“You have to remind yourself that things are getting better,” McDonald said over coffee near his home in Burnaby recently. “My wife is good at reminding me about how I’ve progressed
“My physical recovery happened quite quickly,” says McDonald. “Some of the cognitive stuff is taking a lot longer.”
McDonald — and others like him — will be speaking at a series of educational sessions on stroke recovery around B.C. this weekend and next. It’s part of continued work by the Stroke Recovery Association of B.C. to offer practical advice to people who have had strokes — and to their loved ones.
An estimated 315,000 Canadians are living with the effects of stroke and more than 14,000 Canadians die from stroke each year, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.