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Stroke survivors: An extraordinary pair

The F8 stroke unit at Southampton General Hospital recently welcomed back two previous patients to celebrate their amazing fundraising efforts.

Professor Douglas Ross was admitted to the stroke unit in September 2016.  Mr Brian Johnson became his bedside neighbour in the October. Doug and Brian began their long rehabilitation journey, both setting themselves the challenge to get home for Christmas.

Having a stroke is a life changing event both physically, cognitively and psychologically. Patients often find themselves facing their worst fears with the Stroke Team often being unable to give any promise of returning to their previous level of function. It is quite understandable for such a traumatic event to take over the rest of their lives. However, these two gentlemen were quite the pair and weren’t going to let their strokes beat them. 

Stroke unit rehabilitation chair

Having a stroke is a real leveller and bonds people together.

Despite their very different backgrounds, Doug and Brian developed a close relationship during their admission, supporting each other and their families during their three months of rehabilitation. They both worked incredibly hard and the therapy team were lucky enough to find friendships with them both.

Their positive attitudes and good humour were contagious, also complimented by the support and care from the wonderful nursing staff, which turned their hospital bay into a room of fun and laughter. Other patients and families also benefited from the light hearted and positive environment that Doug, Brian and the nursing staff created.

The medical team gave them continuous support in stroke education and managing their future expectations. This was vital for both men to understand the reasons for their strokes and continued medical management.

Doug and Brian’s stroke journey wasn’t always plain sailing; both battling frustrations, anxieties and the fear of letting themselves and others down. However, determination and sheer stubbornness pushed both on to work hard with the therapy team to achieve their goals. With both gentleman regaining function and independence, they returned home for Christmas. 

You could easily forgive them for wanting to move on and put their experience well into the past, however for Doug and Brian, forgetting the stroke unit and their experience was never an option. 

Throughout all of the laughter and positivity that surrounded their admission, both patients often felt frustrated with the level of dependence they had on ward equipment, in particular transfer equipment to help them get out of bed and use the bathroom.  They identified a real need for an additional hoist at a cost of around £5,000. 

...So Doug and Brian decided to fundraise, and what a fantastic job they did!

Joining forces, they hosted not one but three events; a gala evening, a fundraising family day and a sponsored walk across the common. Together they raised a total of £6,000 to use for equipment on the stroke unit. This has allowed the purchase of the well-needed standing hoist which has benefited numerous patients admitted long after the discharge of both men. 

The stroke unit would like to take this opportunity to say a huge and well deserved thank you to both Doug and Brian for their ongoing support of patient’s needs. They are two truly inspiring individuals and a demonstration of how a life-changing event can show that while yes, life changes, it doesn’t in fact end. 

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