Stroke survivor stories - Mrs. Chithra Padmini

The stories of stroke survivors are what drives our fight at the World Stroke Organization to achieve our goal of a world free from stroke. Welcome to our stroke survivor stories series, which we'll pop up on the blog every Thursday, you may wish to contribute to this poignant narrative of stroke globally. Please contact

Where were you when you had your stroke?  
Ten years back, when I was forty-two, I flew to Dubai to be employed as a domestic helper. When I was on the verge of fifty, I had ill health, so I flew back to Sri Lanka in late September 2016. The following day, suddenly, I fell down in my room. I noticed that I could not talk and move my right arm and right leg.

Could you access hospital?
I was helpless because nobody was at home. I started dragging myself along the floor slowly and was able to come to the verandah. There I saw a neighbour, so I waved my left hand which was movable. Luckily, she saw me and ran to me quickly. Then with the help of my neighbours, I was admitted to a local hospital and was found to be anaemic and was transfused with two pints of blood. On the same day, I was transferred to the National Hospital in Colombo for a CT scan of my brain. I was diagnosed as having a stroke and was transferred to the stroke unit of the National Hospital.

What expectations did you have for your treatment, rehabilitation, therapy and recovery?
By the time I was admitted to the stroke unit, I was unable to talk, walk and swallow. But my vision, hearing and bodily functions were not affected. I feared I would be bed-ridden and I felt that my life was not worth living disabled. I started losing my courage, strength and hopes.
What was your experience of treatment and/or rehabilitation and therapy?
The next day, I heard a gentle female voice from my bedside. She was the Doctor-in-charge of the stroke unit. She took plenty of time to explain my condition to me and my family and she advised me to engage in physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy daily. She also explained the importance of not losing courage. I just listened to her with tears in my eyes. I could not do anything else as I could not utter a word. 

What has helped you in your recovery?
Slowly, day by day, I started improving with medications and the rehabilitation programme. At the end of the first week, I was able to talk, sit up in the bed, walk with support and swallow semi solids. My hopes started blossoming. Everyday, I had to undergo well planned schedules of physiotherapy and occupational therapy. The counsellor was a kind lady who met me frequently. The social worker helped me to get the financial support that was granted by the government. After staying one month in the stroke unit, I was completely recovered without any residual deficits which I did not expect at all at the outset.

How did your family and friends feel and respond?
Although members of my family were shocked and disappointed, they gave me the maximum care and support that was vital at that moment. 

Stroke survivor stories - Mrs. Chithra Padmini Reviewed by Sarah Belson on Thursday, January 26, 2017 Rating: 5

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