Thank you to the people who saved my life

July 27, 2021

By Mike Whittle

Several years ago, I had a stroke and a heart attack and was admitted to hospital where I was fitted with a pacemaker.

Two days later, I had a second stroke and commenced a long journey of recovery.

I lost the ability to read and write and my short-term memory was severely impaired. I also experienced a range of cognitive problems.

I was advised that there was little prospect of a return to work.

I completed my rehabilitation at the Community Rehabilitation Unit (CRU) in Hobart.

I continue to be indebted to the therapists and other staff who played an integral role in my recovery – both mentally and emotionally.

Everyone was professional, encouraging and supportive and, most importantly, they helped me to rescue my brain.

I am particularly indebted to one outstanding CRU therapist.  Her name is Ros. Ros helped me to learn to read and write again and to regain my memory and she encouraged me on my journey to recovery.

She helped me to retrain my brain and win back my life.

After about 6 months I regained the ability to read. My short-term memory improved significantly, and the other cognitive problems eventually disappeared.  

Less than a year after my stroke, I returned to work.

Another essential part of my recovery was, and still is, my interaction with fellow stroke survivors.

When you’re struggling to read again and your short-term memory is not so good and your emotions are all over the place, making sense of your condition is extremely difficult and you can feel isolated.

I find that sharing my stroke journey with others who are facing the same challenges is very therapeutic.

Learning how others are coping with their own stroke and what’s working for them is invaluable.

The Hobart Stroke Support Group is made up of stroke survivors and their family and friends who meet on a regular basis.

We share our stories of recovery. We share ideas and we support each other.

Learning how others are coping makes us feel less isolated and more confident about life after stroke.

The third and most important source of support is my wife. Sharon continues to be my companion on a recovery journey that has been an emotional roller coaster ride for both of us. She is my navigator and my rock.

Mike and Shannon Whittle smiling