Former councillor’s battle to regain health after stroke

FORMER Little Thurrock councillor Stephen Andrews suffered a stroke earlier this year. His family are now in the midst of a battle to help him recover.

There appears to be a number of obstacles in the way.

Here, we hear from his sister, Marie who takes us through the number of battles they have had, including, according to the family, a battle to get a care package from the council.

In the attached film, tapping guru Ivan Clements speaks to Stephen and takes him through a number of treatments.

Tapping is a technique designed to cure physical and mental problems by tapping on the body’s invisible energy pathways.

Marie said:

“On the 31st January 2011 Stephen Andrews had a stroke whilst driving his car. He was driving through a small village called Ainsford, Kent at the time and it overcame him although he managed to pull the car to one side and parked next to a house on double yellow lines. He was not discovered for some two hours or more as it happened around 10.15 am and he did not reach Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford until 1.20pm.

He suffered a massive stroke. He could not speak or get out from the vehicle and unfortunately he had just terminated his contract phone and so had left it at home. Sods law, as they say.

We were all looking for him knowing he was due to be at home for lunch and yet not reaching. He had not showed at his friends whom he was traveling to collect and alarm bells were ringing. I searched the internet for traffic jams or accidents and found nothing for his route taken. I phoned the police and local hospital to find out if they knew of his whereabouts, but nothing evolved.

His partner was very anxious, as it was not like Steve. At 3.00pm the hospital phoned to say that he was brought in by ambulance at 1.20pm after suffering a stroke in his car and that he was stable at that time.

The family and his partner immediately went to Darent Valley where he was in the resuscitation ward where I reached first and found him to be unable to make much sense and very anxious. His left leg was constantly cramping and he was in pain. His chest was paining him and he was having hot and cold sweats, saying he was cold one minute and too hot the next.

He was being sick and his blood pressure was through the roof. The staff had said he had accepted the anti stroke treatment they offered but were concerned about his heart and wired him up for an ECG. He was being sick and they advised he was having a heart attack and that he would have to be taken immediately to St Thomas’ Hospital London for the heart problem. They took him away in an ambulance and we were all very anxious that we might lose him.

It was very upsetting to think that he had been stuck in his car for all that time without help. This obviously did not help his situation as with a stroke there is a given 1 hour window which is vital to sufferers. Stephen was given an emergency operation at St. Thomas’ to insert a stent into his heart to clear the blockage he had in his main artery. They saved his life.

He will never smoke again, that’s for sure. He was now stable. His loved ones were with him and thankful he had survived as he was in a bad way when we saw him at first. He spent 10 days in St Thomas’ before being transferred to a closer hospital at Basildon. Basildon hospital were happy to see how positive he was. He is a fighter you see.

His brain is affected. At first for some days after the incident he was unable to swallow and was fed via a tube inserted into his nasal cavity. He was very emotional for the first few weeks knowing how lucky he was to be alive we believe. He was being given speech therapy weekly and physiotherapy every day in hospital during weekdays and as he got stronger his swallowing returned. His face was slightly affected, but never drooped like some times happens, although his speech was very impaired and drinking would be by slurping rather than normal.

On the 8th April he was finally released after having spent 3 weeks in Basildon and then transferring to Brentwood Community Hospital where he was also an in patient for his rehabilitation. He had his own occupational therapist who dealt with his release.

His concentration has been affected, as well as, his ability to write. Stephen is left handed and due to the paralysis on his left side and how the stroke has affected his brain, the ability has left him now. He has to be ferried about by a wheelchair now, but he is positive and will not give up.

To me now, I feel he is so different and it is very upsetting for me to see him this way. He seems to be slightly retarded now, which is hard to accept when he was the most clever of all four children, an expert at chess and a former local councilor and business man. His speech has improved although he has a long way to go to be anywhere near how he was before this happened. It’s very sad. I am a trained Sports Therapist and love my brother, so I visit him 3 to 4 times a week and give him massage to his arm and hand. I have a body machine (faradic machine) which I place on his muscles to prevent atrophy.

The aftercare so far has been non existent and we are chasing them to give him what he needs by way of physio and speech therapy. He cannot get upstairs for safety reasons and so has only had strip washes since leaving hospital in April. Desperate for a wet room and frustrated due to his situation but dealing with it the best he can, he has gained weight through lack of exercise and also not smoking.

He is very short fused at times to those nearest and dearest which has been hard for us to accept although we understand his frustration. He was a very loving character previously and extremely likable. He does not deserve his forte. It is very sad. ”

STEPHEN – RECOVERING FROM STROKE from Ivan Clements on Vimeo.

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