Family Caregiver Category
Stroke from the eyes of a family caregiver is a different story all together. When asked of the best word to describe their situation after the stroke, one common word surfaces: devastating.
This is how Dymphna Sena recalls the time her father suffered his second stroke, which really made her family feel the grave toll of stroke in their lives. Her father was lucky the first time but, a year after, he had another stroke that paralyzed half of his body was and had to undergo physical therapy almost daily.
Dymphna, 26 years old at that time, was forced to become the bread winner for her family as her mother was already old. The costs of medicines for maintenance, the hospital bills, and the physical therapy fees on top of providing for her family’s needs was more than she could really bear that she secretly skipped food at work to keep her personal expenses down.
As if the financial concerns were not enough, they had to make many adjustments like adapting their home to her dad’s special needs to make it safe, accessible, and comfortable. They also had to make sure the house was slip-free among other things like her dad having a firm bed.
Then there were even times Dymphna had to personally care for her dad as her mom would tire often that she had to skip work some times. Caregiving was something she had no knowledge about nor any training to, especially since she was a Hotel and Restaurant Management graduate from the Lyceum of the Philippines.
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Everything was just suddenly thrust at her feet and yet there was no room to learn everything despite the urgent need to address the various concerns involved in caregiving for a stroke patient, who happens to be her dad. She had to juggle between caregiver, daughter, companion, and provider for her family on top of being an employee at work and her own personal problems. Truly, it was one nightmare that took a lot of time to get over with.
In fact, even up to this day, Dymphna has difficulty going over the events without wincing even though her dad has already recovered and can already walk. (Her dad’s arms are still partially paralyzed.) Dymphna is one among the many Filipinos whose lives dramatically changed after a stroke in the family.
Stroke patients in the Philippines are limited to the care of family members as most of whom can’t afford a professional caregiver or the services of a physical therapist due to poverty. There are no caregiver support networks locally to hellp people like Dymphna overcome their trauma. Plus, information on medications that will help expedite the recovery of stroke patients, like NeuroAid, are not accessible.
Truly, stroke from the eyes of a family caregiver is a story worth hearing.
It will give you a real insight into the devastating effects of stroke on the life of not just one person but his/her entire family as well.