Raising awareness of stroke in young adults
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Surgery. Nathan has undergone five surgeries following his work accident. Each one has been a life saving operation and we can't thank the doctors and nurses enough for helping us through such a difficult period. Nathan's brain injury was detected only after he suffered complete hemiplegia of his left side. With his brain swelling and his condition worsening, he had to undergo a craniectomy which removed a portion of his skull to help reduce swelling. Following this, his condition became critical and he required emergency surgery to clear a hemorrhage. This saved his life and he later spent time in the stroke and rehab wards. A few months later he was given the go ahead for a cranioplasty, where his own bone was inserted back in. However an infection complicated his recovery and he had to undergo a second craniectomy to remove the bone flap again. After a long course of antibiotics, Nathan was finally approved for his second cranioplasty, this time with a custom acrylic plate. We are happy to report that this has been his last surgery to date and although there are imperfections in his face (his right temporal muscle has dropped as a result of the surgeries) we are thankful that he is alive. Most of our married life has been in and out of hospitals so we appreciate any time we have together.
Therapy. Nathan's rehab involves daily electrical stimulation to help recover finger and wrist extension. Progress is painstakingly slow but the electromyography (EMG) is showing some signs of electrical activity. After being told that he wouldn't regain movement back in his upper limb, we both strive for what doctors have told us is the impossible. Nathan hopes to once again cut up a steak, drink a beer and drive a car. We push forward with rehab but we remain positive in the present: Nathan has been medically stable for over 18 months, he is returning to work, we have ongoing support, and most importantly we have each other.
Game boy. Stroke, you can take the arm out of a gamer, but you can't take a gamer out of a boy. We spent a couple hours reminiscing with old school games at the National Film and Sound Archive. Nathan did surprisingly well playing a few controller games one handed. If there's a will, there's a way.
Struggle and strength.
Pin cushion. Life is filled with pain, sorrow and challenges. I watch Nathan tolerate the physical and emotional pain of today in the hope for a better tomorrow. I stand beside him as he pushes through each obstacle. I see him strive for every goal, even if there is no end in sight. This is the man I married, brain injury and all.
Hydrotherapy. Warmer weather means hopping into the pool for Nathan's first session in Canberra. His schedule is filling up, along with a return to work program he attends three different types of rehab to help him recover. Nathan has always given maximum effort throughout his recovery journey, and will continue striving for full recovery.
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