Husband of woman who suffered multiples strokes praises Hartlepool courses for transforming lives

Tracy Bushnell of the Hartlepool Stroke Association with John and Lynn Brough.
Tracy Bushnell of the Hartlepool Stroke Association with John and Lynn Brough.

THE husband of a woman who has suffered multiple strokes and brain haemorrhages has praised a course for helping to transform their lives.

John Brough cares for his wife, Lynn, who despite just being 50 has suffered three strokes and five brain bleeds over the last 28 years.

The worrying attacks are due to a weakness of the veins in Lynn’s brain that lead to bleeding.

It has left Lynn with short term memory problems and a weakness down the right hand side of her body meaning she cannot walk long distances.

Her last was in February when she spent just over a week recovering in hospital.

She was unable to walk or talk for the first couple of days afterwards.

But John, 55, who now cares for Lynn full time after stopping work, has praised a Stroke Association course on offer in Hartlepool to help carers of stroke victims.

He said the Caring With Confidence sessions, run by co-ordinator Tracy Bushnall, have helped him and Lynn no end and is urging other people to make use of them.

John, who lives in Hart village, said: “I went along to the first one without any expectations and was that impressed I decided to go to each and every one.

“Tracy turned me around from a negative way of thinking ‘why us?’ to a more positive one and saying what can we do?

“I think it is tremendous what she has given us over the last month since I started the course. I can’t praise her highly enough.”

Lynn suffered her first haemorrhage at just 22 and her second when she was five months pregnant with son Liam, now 23.

The course, run at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, features seven sessions which cover amongst other things how carers can cope better with stress, maximise their income, look after their own health, and juggle caring with other aspects of their life.

Tracy, who is based at Hartfields retirement village, has built the town’s stroke support services up over the last four years.

She said: “The Stroke Association says there is life after a stroke and there is no reason why you can’t go on to have a full life.

“Part of the course explains to carers how important it is for them to have their own hobbies and interests to be able to come back to their caring role refreshed and motivated.

“There is loads of support out there that people are not aware of and part of the course is to help carers access them.”

Tracy, who ran the course with help from fellow Stroke Association support worker Rachael Redden, hopes to run the courses again in 
the New Year if there is demand.

And John is trying to spread the word.

He said: “I have benefited so much I want to put something back.

“People think it’s game over when they have had a stroke but it’s not.”

For more information about the courses contact Ms Bushnall on 07950 538222.