Dr Simon Lane
I’m one of those fortunate people for whom life has been pretty kind health wise. I have always had good blood pressure readings, relatively low cholesterol readings, my weight control has never been a serious challenge and I have never been a smoker.
It was somewhat a shock, therefore, when in 2009 I was admitted to the QEH and diagnosed with having had a minor stroke. It was an even greater shock to be told by my treating physician that I was one of 30% of stroke sufferers for whom there was no known cause for the stroke. It is a confronting and anxiety inducing experience from which one can take some time to fully recover psychologically, not to mention the severe physical consequences that can flow for so many years. I was fortunate because, apart from slightly increased bouts of tiredness during the day (for which there may well be other causes such as the ageing process), I am now able to lead a full and unrestricted life.
But the experience made an impact and I was happy to contribute as one of two consumer advocates for quite a few years on the State wide Steering Committee which was examining better means for treating and rehabilitating stroke victims.
The Committee comprised many of the State’s leading stroke physicians, GP’s, nurses, physios and other allied health professionals and there is no question that the efforts of those people have contributed very significantly to improvements in those areas.
That experience introduced me to the organisations known as Stroke SA which was starting to languish because so many of its long serving and hard-working supporters were getting older and worn down. The organisation is now in the process of revitalizing itself with a new committee, a new Constitution, an influx of new and energetic volunteers to help those who are still helping out in the office and doing speaking engagements and the intention is for Stroke SA to become a major force in SA in helping the establishment and support of Support Groups in the city and country. Those groups will comprise stroke sufferers and their carers and they will aim to help those people in a variety of ways to adjust to life after their strokes and to reintegrate into their communities.
There is a lot of work that has been done and there is a lot more to be done. One of the crucial initiatives has to be finding a way of keeping track of those stroke sufferers once they have left hospital. That is an area where representatives of the Stroke Foundation, the Peter Couche Foundation, Stroke SA and the government have to work collaboratively and constructively.
No organisation can help people if they don’t know where they are and how they can be contacted – that is the challenge we must all confront and “solve.”