‘It can happen to anybody at any age’
The family of a man who had a devastating stroke at the age of 47 is seeking support so an awareness-raising book can be published.
Trish Alcock, originally from North Shields, is writing a brutally honest memoir about how she had to cope when her husband Ken lost the whole left hand side of his brain, which left him with paralysis and speech loss.
He still has little or no speech on a daily basis, but despite the prognosis that he would never walk or talk again, Trish and Ken beat all the odds and got him on his feet.
Working with her daughter Jane, the 59-year-old is aiming to raise enough funds to be able to self-publish the first print run of Gone with the Stroke, which also includes some dark humour.
Any profits from those sales would go into producing more copies, as the family will not be making any money themselves from the book.
If sales reach a certain level, donations will be made to stroke and brain injury charities.
Ken, 68, had the stroke on Easter Saturday in 1998 and was in hospital for about three months.
As the house they were in had no adaptations, they had to move to rented accommodation.
Trish, who now lives in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, said: “His doctors at the time said he would never walk or talk again when they sent him home, but I taped his paralysed leg to one of mine and walked him round the house every night for two hours.
“Eventually, I was able to get him on his feet by himself.
“However, he still hardly has any speech or language skills and he finds it frustrating that he says a lot of obscenities when trying to say normal words.
“He puts on accents too and it’s so strange that you just have to laugh. Also when he does things like write ‘to Tripe’ instead of ‘to Trish’ on a birthday card.
“Something which has surprised me is that Ken can sing and remember the words to songs.
“But I’m also being very honest in the book about the times when I’ve been very angry with him, such as one day when he was laying on a table pretending to be dead.
“I decided to write about my experiences to help others who are having to cope with a loved one having a stroke, as I believe there isn’t the help that there should be once a stroke survivor is home for them or for the family.
“Stroke doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anybody at any age.
“Things have changed, but more needs to be done and the issues we’ve had with certain people – which are mentioned in the book, although the people concerned are not named – shows the attitudes that some people unfortunately still have towards people who are disabled.”
For more information, search for Trish Alcock Memoir on Facebook.
To make a donation online, go to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/janealcock