Miya Zhang: A stitch in time saves nine
Miya with his loving husband. Photo is from Lianhe Zaobao.
Stroke struck Miya Zhang (39 years old) suddenly in 2019. Prior to her stroke, she did not experience any symptoms, nor did she suffer from any chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure or hereditary diseases. She had a clean bill of health.
One unforgettable night, she experienced a terrible headache and took some painkillers. However, they did not lessen her pain and she informed her husband who had returned home from work. When Miya's husband was young, his mother suffered a minor stroke which led him to be alert to the symptoms of stroke. In addition to her persistent headache, Miya was enfeebled with nausea and she could not raise her right hand. Her body became numb and her speech started to slur. Miya's husband immediately called the ambulance.
Miya attributed her stroke to her busy and stressful lifestyle. Before her stroke, Miya was preparing to return to the workforce after caring for her young children for a period of time. On that fateful day of her stroke, she was in the outdoors exercising with her children. When she returned home, she was occupied with household chores. Her lack of rest made her prone to stroke. Nonetheless, she did not expect that she would be a stroke victim.
"I hope that my experience serve as a reminder to young people. Although you may be still healthy, you must still take good care of yourself. Practise good lifestyle habits like having enough sleep and do not over-exert yourself at work." Miya said.
Initially, Miya's health outcome after her stroke was not optimistic. Luckily, her husband managed to seek timely emergency medical help for her. Stroke had affected Miya's communication ability and mobility, as well as causing constant headaches. After she was discharged from the hospital, she needed much time to improve. "In the long journey of recovery, patience is important. We cannot take our daily exercises and practices lightly. We need to learn how to step out of our homes again without fear." Miya reflected.
Miya learnt about S3's programmes through a friend in the hospital. Subsequently, she became a S3 member and recieved financial assistance provided for stroke survivors and caregivers. Miya's husband highlighted that stroke survivors and caregivers can approach many support organisations in Singapore to seek assistance. When asked how stroke survivors and caregivers can receive better support, he shared that these support organisations can start neighbourhood groups so that stroke survivors living in the same vicinity can come together to encourage each other and share useful resources about stroke.
Mr Pandian: A friend in need is a friend indeed
Mr Maran coaching Mr Pandian during his exercise regime. Photo is from Tamil Murasu.
After coaching the atheletes from a local university, 55 year old Mr Pandian was having lunch with his friend Mr. S. Maran, a fellow trainer. Suddenly, Mr Pandian's right side of the body became weak and he had difficulties speaking.
Mr Maran who had attended life saving courses, realised that Mr Pandian had suffered a stroke. There wasn't any time to think and he carried Mr Pandian to his vehicle and rushed him to the Singapore General Hospital.
While driving, Mr Maran kept talking to Mr Pandian so that he would not fall unconscious. "If Mr Pandian was admitted into the hospital later, he would have been paralyzed," Mr Pandian's doctor said. "Therefore, it is so important to seek medical help immediately after identifying the symptoms of a stroke." Mr Maran highlighted.
Mr Pandian's stroke left the right side of his body paralysed. His movements from head to toe were affected.
The journey to healing was long. For the first nine days, Mr Pandian's health was closely monitored. Then, he was transferred to a community hospital and treated for six weeks. Mr Pandian became frequently confused and frustrated about what was happening to him. Fortunately, his eldest daughter Pritiswari, a psychologist, was by his side to help him overcome his emotional challenges.
Gradually, Mr Pandian's health improved as he underwent speech, occupational and physical training. His family and friends wondered how he, a sports coach, could have suffered a stroke as he spent most of his time moving about. This was because of Mr Pandian's lifestyle. He used to binge watch movies on his mobile phone and slept late at night. He also ate lots of unhealthy food for his supper.
Mr Pandian vowed to recover with zest and determination. When Mr Pandian returned home from the hospital, he walked slowly with the help of crutches. The big challenge for him was to stand up. But he did not give up. Every morning, he would walk for an hour near his neighbourhood and It took him about 20 minutes to cover a distance of about 250 meters.
Mr Pandian also signed up for physiotherapy sessions in S3. S3's use of technologies such as the Anti Gravity Treadmill enabled Mr Pandian to strengthen his leg muscles. Mr Maran also helps Mr Pandian with his psychomotor training for three times a week, 2 hours per session.
With the support from his family, friends and coaches, Mr Pandian's health improved rapidly. Mr Pandian has been walking without crutches since last July. He has advanced to the point where he can cover a distance of 250 meters in four minutes. Mr Pandian is also able to help with housework.
"You are the record holder in Singapore's 800 meter race. I hope you can get past this and start walking in a month. Your mind is the main reason for your progress, ” Mr Maran always reminded Mr Pandian.
Mr Pandian, who returned to work in the first half of this year, has also transformed his lifestyle habits. He eats healthy food and allocates four hours daily for bodybuilding exercises. Guess what is his next goal in his recovery journey? To be able to run again!
Read more Mr Pandian's story (Tamil version) here.
Stroke Support Station Ltd
SG Enable Village
20 Lengkok Bahru