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A stroke survivor!
Post date: 23 May 2016

I’m sure we’ve all seen the cowboy films as a stranger walks into a saloon – all dusty and weary – and the piano stops playing and everyone turns to face him. "You’re not from round here, are you, boy?” asks the barman. Stroke survivor

This is how it felt to walk into my first stroke group meeting at the Methodist Church on Third Avenue in Gillingham. The only difference is I didn’t get shot or hounded out of town. Instead, I was offered a friendly cup of tea and some biscuits. Three months later, I was a stroke survivor and proud of it. I had my disabled person’s railcard and bus pass – eventually, I’d have a mobility car and railing in my house to hold on to all down to stroke survivors and my stroke team who used to come round often and make sure I was alright. They helped me with the minefield that is the benefits system and they were always there for me when I needed them. And not just me but others too.chocolate biscuits before sitting down to share horror stories – horror stories that for me started just after my wedding – that saw me rushed from Borstal to King’s College Hospital in south London in a coma, where I had emergency and life-saving surgery. 

My memory loss means that every time I walk into the group, it’s like the first time. People smile and shout "Hello, Nigel!” but they’re all still strangers to me because I simply don’t remember them. I do however remember the first time I got the bus to the meeting, Tracey from the group had spent several weeks training me on where to go and where to get off. The first time was scary as hell and even these days, I don’t remember my way around Chatham bus station.

Now the actual club itself isn’t as daunting - it’s actually something to look forward to! I’ve made a lot of friends at the group and I love every one of them – even the ones whose names I can’t remember. I regularly think to myself: "What do you call a bunch of people who’ve had a stroke and meet up once every fortnight to support each other?” And the answer always is ‘Survivors!’

Thank you to Nigel, a stroke survivor, for sharing this blog. 
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