24 Jun 2017 at 12:00AM
Category: Your Stories
Hello, my name is Claire, and I completed a Lifemoves course in the middle of 2014, and have been volunteering with Brainlink ever since.
I was working as the Access Co-ordinator of a Melbourne Intensive Care Unit, [nursing position]. I had worked in that hospital for 23 years.
I was in the shower on my day off work when I felt a tingling in my right hand that very quickly became fairly severe numbness of my whole right side. I managed to get to the phone, call an ambulance, and told them I was having a stroke! The ambulance came and took me to the same hospital where I worked. I was given 48 hours to live. That was almost 9 yrs ago! I had a hemorrhagic brain stem stroke at age 41.
I was left with multiple deficits; poor balance, unable to walk, [requiring a wheelchair] really poor speech, inability to write, [I was right handed] and a right sided tremor, amongst other things.
Throughout this whole experience, my mental state remained intact.
Life quickly became about physical rehabilitation, although many people could see that I craved mental stimulation. I used to speak to a stroke group every 8 weeks, as did a volunteer from Lifemoves who encouraged me to do the Lifemoves Program. Dubious at first, I did. I thought I didn’t need anything like that. I thought I was way too independent.
It was probably the best thing I’ve ever done!
I had lost my job, licence, most of my old friends, and my independence. I was feeling pretty low, and a bit sorry for myself.
After completing the very enlightening Lifemoves Program, and discovering I was NOT alone, I completed the training to be a peer, and then a facilitator in the 8 week Lifemoves Program.
I have worked in Programs, as a peer, and am currently working, for the first time, in a Lifemoves Program as a facilitator. I had a bit of apprehension doing this, as my speech is still impaired, but the volunteer team were so supportive.
I am the social organiser for my original program, and we still meet once a month for lunch. The people in the program have become really good friends. I have become the official ‘baker’ for the volunteer team, and have many Birthday cakes to bake!
Lifemoves is all about what you can do, not what you can’t.
I feel very supported, and dare I say, even useful again.
I would like to think that if people with ABI’s see me, participating in a Lifemoves Program, they will feel like they can achieve anything they wish.
On a final note – I’d like to thank Brainlink, for giving me some much needed mental stimulation, and remember that the benefits of sharing experiences are priceless!