Stroke Survivor Stories - Rita Upton

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?  
I was walking down the stairs at home, I can tell you the exact date and time. 8.30am Thursday 11th September 2008.

Could you access hospital?
My husband recognised I was having a stroke, and as my friend arrived for our walk he told her to call an ambulance. The ambulance was called and I was at the hospital by 9am.

What expectations did you have for your treatment, rehabilitation, therapy and recovery?
I had no expectations as I hadn’t had a stroke before so I didn’t know what was supposed to happen. All I was led to believe was that I was supposed to have a scan within 3 hours – which is what the ambulance staff had told my husband en route to the hospital when he asked about treatment. The ambulance staff had phoned ahead to say I was coming with a suspected stroke. However I had to wait for 36 hours for my scan.  

What was your experience of treatment and/or rehabilitation and therapy?
I had a very bad experience when I was first admitted to hospital, I got lost in the system and it was only due to my husband’s perseverance that the scan took place 36 hours later. Although I arrived at hospital at 9am I did not have the swallowing test until the evening, therefore I was not given a drink all day.
I was transferred into a rehabilitation hospital about a month later and I had an excellent experience there, there was a lovely atmosphere and the staff were brilliant. I had physiotherapy every morning and support from occupational therapists to show me the best and easiest ways to wash and dress myself.

What has helped you in your recovery?
Volunteering has helped me because it gives me a reason to get up in the morning. It gives me a purpose in life rather than sitting at home. It gets you mixing with people again. After a stroke your confidence goes rock bottom.

What have been/are your fears?
Having another stroke basically and not being able to volunteer because if I sat at home I’ll get depressed.

How did your family and friends feel and respond?

My family and friends were fantastic. My husband and I had a very close circle of friends and they never forgot who I was inside. I was still Rita inside. My husband was so positive and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be where I am. My husband has been my tower of strength and my rock.
Stroke Survivor Stories - Rita Upton Reviewed by Sarah Belson on Friday, January 06, 2017 Rating: 5

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