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Dear Editor: Are we disenabling the able? What RSS can do for stroke victims

“[…] My brain injury did alter how the world looked at me, how the world saw me but it did not change me on the inside… Given today’s deterioration in families, it is essential that we as a society utilise any and all of our resources, physical and mental. 

“[…] After all, one able person is never enough; one able person is too much to ignore…”

The following Letter to the Editor on the formation and value of the Resilient Survivors of Stroke (RSS) group was submitted to Wired868 by Marilyn Alexis of Freeport:

Image: Recovering from a stroke.
(via RSS)

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. So I want to thank you, Mr Editor, for giving me the opportunity to use your medium to raise awareness of the way in which we can help prevent what I deem to be if not wanton, certainly unnecessary human wastage.

Some five years ago, I ‘suffered’ a stroke. According to the doctors at the San Fernando General Hospital, I would not be able to walk again, and would be confined to a wheelchair. But this news was not communicated directly to me; it was communicated to my granddaughter who was charged with the responsibility of relaying it to me.

That is the first misconception: a stroke survivor is unable to understand enough about what is happening around her to make decisions for herself.

My brain injury did alter how the world looked at me, how the world saw me but it did not change me on the inside. It is true that I went from a vibrant, self-determined individual to a person who needed help just to toilet. That took its toll on both me and my caregivers.

Yes, I became slow. But I did not stop. Yes, my goals changed. But they did not die.

Photo: A stroke survivor.
(Copyright Getty Images)

Then one day I realised that there are others out there who are just like me. There are others out there who are misunderstood and in need of support. There are others out there I can reach out to.

So I did.

There are many, I knew, who can still contribute to their families and to society. Given today’s deterioration in families, it is essential that we as a society utilise any and all of our resources, physical and mental. But some of us are shunned because those who make the relevant decisions are in possession of all their attributes and have little respect or regard for those of us who do not.

But, I reckoned, by addressing psycho-social, bio-spiritual domains, these survivors/thrivers can be encouraged to contribute as much as possible and, brought back into society, to continue leading productive lives.

We are an often forgotten group but there are ways in which we can give back. After all, one able person is never enough; one able person is too much to ignore.

Image: Cheer up…
(via RSS)

Therefore, using my Social Work background and my personal post-trauma insights, I decided to use social media to reach out to that sub-group of individuals who may be feeling helpless as well as the caregivers who might be feeling frustrated and misunderstood. I strove manfully to, to quote the theorists, ‘return to former levels of functioning’ and to encourage them to do likewise.

And so, the idea of RSS was born.

Using social media and a FB group page and with the expertise of a few resource persons, Resilient Survivors of Stroke proposes to offer, in the first instance, free counselling. That will allow us to offer further related services as needed. The whole operation will be overseen by a board comprising at least one educator and one social worker.

Anyone wishing to share an idea with RSS or to offer assistance of any sort can reach us via phone at 341-2730 and, via email, at resilientsurvivors001@gmail.com

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Letters to the Editor
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