A stroke is what happens after blood flow to a certain area of the brain stops, resulting into the damage of brain cells and their dysfunction. Blood transmits important nutrients and oxygen to the brain; without the supply of this critical substance to the brain, brain cells might be damaged and they die. Stroke, may occur when there is a tapering or obstruction of a vessel in the brain; additionally, it may result from blood vessel bursts and bleeding in the brain (Zhang, Lo, Mychaskiw, Colohan, 2005). Stroke, also referred as a Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA); it is the third leading cause of fatality in the U.S., after heart disease and cancer (American Heart Association, 2008).
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The impact of a stroke varies greatly from one person to another since there are differences in the severity and the brain cells that are damaged by the stroke. Notwithstanding emergency medical attention offered to victims, about one out of three stroke victims die as its outcome. Death might result from a stroke in a short time from the time the stroke happened or can come some time afterward. If a Stroke victim survives the first attack, the person might experience severe bodily and mental shortfalls. Since stroke affects the functions of the brain, swallowing, walking, breathing, sight and hearing; and mental functions like thinking and talking can be affected. A stroke can leave a victim in a coma or a continual vegetative condition, and make the making of significant and important decisions essential.
I had not thought of a stroke previously until my mother suffered one. I had from time to time thought about what it would be like to be diagnosed with cancer since I had lost relatives to it. To some extent, I knew what a stroke was but in reality considered it as an attack suffered by old persons who were nearing the end of their lives. This was until my mother, aged just fifty-four, and suffered a major stroke, totally with no caution. I was confounded. She was swiftly taken into a medical center in a coma and the Doctor only gave her very low chances of surviving the attack. He explained that she had suffered an enormous brain hemorrhage. My father, my siblings, and I sat by her hospital bed, periodically, for seven days. This was the longest week I have ever lived through in my life. As that week progressed, her condition gradually worsened, and seven days from the day, she suffered from stroke, and died.
However, not all stroke stories are grim. Some victims survive albeit with mental, physical, and psychological effects (Lee, et al., 2003). As such, these survivors require rehabilitation to help them regain their independence or at least some of it. Rehabilitation is the procedure of aiding these survivors to overcome or learn to live with the harm the stroke has caused. For the survivors, it is all about getting back to usual life and attaining the highest level of independence the can by re-learning skills and capabilities, learning fresh abilities, adjusting to some of the restrictions caused by a stroke, and establishing a social, emotional and practical hold up at home and in the society. Rehabilitation does not overturn the effects of the stroke. On the contrary, it aims at rebuilding strength, abilities, and self-belief so that a survivor can carry on their everyday activities regardless of the effects of the stroke (Adams, et al., 2007).
During rehabilitation and with the aid of healthcare professionals, a stroke survivor attempts to develop self-care skills such as feeding, taking a bath and dressing themselves. They try to learn mobility abilities like transferring, walking, or pushing their own wheelchair. They also learn communication skills in speech. Survivors learn mental capabilities such as recollection or solving problems and social skills for intermingling with other persons.