A STROKE survivor who has regained the ability to speak now believes his life is firmly back on track.
Ebenezer Sam, 73, of Smithy Lane, Little Acton, Wrexham, had his life ‘put on hold’ on November 8, 2010, when he suffered a stroke which paralysed his right hand side and led to a loss of speech.
Mr Sam, who had to give up work for an accountancy firm as a result, has fought back to make a full recovery supported by his wife, Henrietta, and the regional Stroke Association group, based in Wrexham, where stroke survivors can meet and help each other.
Mr Sam was at home with his wife on the night of his stroke when she noticed his speech was slurred and quickly called 999.
An ambulance arrived in five minutes and paramedics recognised the symptoms immediately and got him to Wrexham Maelor Hospital to run tests.
Mr Sam said the group had restored his ‘integrity and enjoyment’ in life.
“It was a very difficult thing to get over and it put my life on hold,” he said.
“I had to give up work and the things I enjoy. But then I was approached by the Stroke Association and the meetings really do help restore your integrity and it is nice to be back as part of a community.
“I really enjoy going to the meetings otherwise you can be left feeling isolated.”
Mr Sam was a keen singer before his stroke and he has been able to join the Glyndwr University Community Choir, which he attends every Tuesday, and has recently started driving again.
“It was tough not being able to get out and do things but I was determined not to let it stop me”, he said.
“Before I had my stroke I used to enjoy singing and I really like going down there now, I look forward to it.
“I am very grateful to my family for their support and the Stroke Association, who have given me a lot of support.”
The Stroke Association is warning people that thousands of sufferers are putting themselves at risk of a stroke by dismissing their passing symptoms as ‘just a funny turn’, and are unaware that they are having a mini-stroke (also known as a TIA or transient ischaemic attack).
If mini-strokes are treated in time, about 10,000 strokes could be prevented every year, saving thousands of people from the devastating effects.
Ana Palazon, director in Wales for the Stroke Association, said: “The greatest risk of having a stroke is within the first few days after a mini-stroke.
“But because the symptoms are brief or mild, for many people it doesn’t feel like an emergency.
“Too many mini-stroke patients delay calling 999 when their symptoms start, often waiting instead for a GP appointment, or if they have visual problems, visiting their optician for advice.”