What? Why? How? When someone close to you suffers a stroke, you suffer too … groping for answers to questions you never expected to ask. Some questions go without answers, but many of the answers are out there just waiting to be found.
When my dearest friend and partner suffered a stroke eight years ago his friends and mine rallied round with sympathy, support and suggestions that might help both of us. Some offered suggestions for a book or an article that could help shed some light on a phenomenon that we knew little about and never expected to deal with.
And so I bought or borrowed books, read them by my friend’s bedside, read them in the cafeteria when I went for lunch, took them to bed for fall-asleep-reading. One book or suggestion led to another and my pile of books and their underlinings and marginal notations grew. Some gave glimmers of hope, some advised caution in our expectations, but all led to more understanding and acceptance of an event which became a fact of life and coping.
And then came an invitation to join the local ‘stroke club’ now officially known as OCEANSIDE STROKE RECOVERY SOCIETY (OSRS). Here is a group of devoted people: Stroke survivors learning to care for their stricken brains and bodies with physical exercises led by registered therapists, practising with speech therapists, enjoying music and art therapy, or listening to relevant speakers who may be themselves recovered stroke survivors. Helping to make this all happen is a lively executive, and caring group of volunteers. There’s a brown bag lunch to promote carefree socializing, and once a month a lunch-out dining experience at a number of local restaurants. Also once a month, caregivers/spouses can attend a care-giving session with a local counselllor-therapist. The OSRS meetings are held each Friday at St. Columba Hall in French Creek.
But back to the books … last fall OSRS started their own little library of ‘stroke books’ donated by members or supporters. The book pile grew; at each meeting it had to be hauled from the storage room to the table in the library corner, the books being stored in a couple of old, wheeled pieces of luggage. We yearned for a movable bookcase.
Members and volunteers put their heads together and a solution materialized. The RDN has a twice-yearly window when they consider ‘Grants in Aid’ to non-profit, financially independent, registered groups providing service to the community. A grant application for a wheeled bookcase was submitted and approved.
A small group of OSRS executive members and supporters then began the hunt for a bookcase. It so happened that the husband of the group’s treasurer, Alf Randall, had a boat; that boat sometimes required some specially formed bits and pieces; Alf’s research led him to ‘EXPRESS CUSTOM’ ‘ …steel and aluminum fabrications sine 1992’ – a company on the Alberni Highway. The stroke club’s requirements were presented to them and a fine, sturdy metal bookcase with double-sided storage … and wheels … took shape.
At a meeting last winter, a few club members took delivery of the bookcase at EXPRESS CUSTOM; (delivered on St. Patrick’s Day it was fittingly painted a shiny green!) and the club librarians wasted no time in transferring the club’s books to its roomy shelves.
Here was a product conceived by a local group, financed by a regional level of government, manufactured by a local business, and helping local people make the best of their lives.
*For Information on Oceanside Stroke Recovery Society contact: –
Email Nancy Whelan