Steve's story

STEVEHOGG edited-2 My name is Steven Hogg. I had a stroke in April 2005 aged 47 years. Prior to having the Stroke I worked as a Manager for a Software Company. I worked very long hours and travelled the length of the country solving problems for clients using our software. I had been to London on the Friday and obviously went to watch Sunderland play at home on the Saturday (this had nothing to do with it). On the Saturday night I felt that my arm was numb and thought it was due to me being tired from travelling. I went to bed and my son and wife came up at intervals to check on me till about 12 o clock. My wife slept on the sofa and about 5 o clock heard noises and thinking it was my daughter getting up for her job she came up stairs to find me crumpled up in bed and I couldn't move but at that time I could talk. My wife called an ambulance thinking that I had had a stroke. The paramedics came and confirmed that. By the time I was taken into the ambulance my voice was affected and I couldn't speak. I was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital where the doctors confirmed that I had had a Stroke. There was a clot on my brain which made me paralysed down my right side and my speech was affected.

Ju's week of horror! My consultant, with whom I have become very good friends, spoke to Judith, my wife, on her own and painted a very black picture saying that the stroke was very severe and it was possible that I wouldn't walk or speak. She says that she shook for a week but as you can see I proved them all wrong. However the movement didn't come back into my arm and still hasn't. I've had to learn to do things with my left arm instead. Luckily my gag reflex was not affected and I could manage to eat and drink. Although I couldn't speak I could understand everything that was going on and when I tried to speak my daughter seemed to understand what I was trying to say. When I began to speak all I could say was why, why, why but eventually words came back to me. I was kept there for 3 weeks at which point I was moved to Monkwearmouth Hospital which was to be my physio home. This was great, a good laugh with plenty of food. The other side wasn’t as good, the physio was hard and learning to talk again was a challenge. I wanted my arm to be ok rather that my leg but I was wrong, I can do everything with my left hand that I could do with my right hand eg, writing, dressing, washing myself etc everything but washing up, dusting and hoovering. As time went on I was allowed to go out in a wheelchair for walks with my family and friends. The staff were fabulous and became like friends.

I stayed at Monkwearmouth for about 3 months by which time I had learned to walk again but not very far. I was assessed by the occupational therapists to make sure I could manage to go home. I had to have the house adapted to my needs and was allowed to go home. I had to have a bed downstairs and once I'd had more physio was able to go out for walks. I walked a little bit further each day to build up the strength in my legs. It was tiring and still is, but I just have to stop now and again. Its not so good in the wind and the snow. I had been told that I had Aphasia, a communication problem, and started a 12 week Speech and Language Therapy course at Newcastle University at The Aphasia Centre. This helped me tremendously and consequently I now volunteer to help there at The North East Trust for Aphasia to try to give something back for the help they gave me.

I learned to drive again in an adapted car and passed my test again. I was given the chance to attend Rehab UK to try to get me back to work. I did eventually go back to work and managed to get back to full time. However I was told that clients had begun to complain about the emails being sent to them, saying that they were curt. I was checked again by the SALT at Sunderland Royal Hospital where they found I had a problem with verbs and couldn't form sentences correctly. I had another mini stroke which left me very fatigued and because of this had to give up working.

At the beginning of the year I had another setback, I had to have a lumber puncture to find out if I had another stroke, it was found that I hadn't but it wasn't a very nice procedure and I was laid up for three weeks. I have volunteered for the last few years at NETA, where I run a music group and debate group, it gives me such a buzz when someone actually learns to say something they couldn't before. I also volunteer for the Stroke Association where I am currently helping several Stroke Survivors to either talk, walk, with the computer or just take out for a coffee. I love it.

I was lucky enough to be nominated for volunteer of the year in 2011 for the Stroke Association and I was actually given the award. I received it in London at Claridges and was presented by George Burley who was an old Sunderland Player. Since then I have also entered two events to raise money for my charities. I have abseiled down Souter Lighthouse in Sunderland and also done the Zip wire over the River Tyne in Newcastle. Maybe it should be something in Middlesbrough next!!