Couple urge others affected by strokes “not to give up”

A woman who suffered a devastating bleed  on the brain while enjoying a dream holiday in the United States has backed a campaign to raise awareness of the difficulties that survivors can have in communicating.

Maxine Barnes, from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, was holidaying with her husband Mark in Orlando, Florida, when she suddenly collapsed.

The 53-year-old was admitted to hospital where medics confirmed that she had suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage, which had triggered two strokes.

She spent many weeks on the ward and required major surgery to relieve the swelling on her brain before she was able to fly home.

Even after arriving back in the UK her recovery was arduous and following her strokes in 2016, she was unable to communicate with loved ones for more than a year.

Mark, who has been with Maxine for the past 40 years, described his wife as “remarkable.”

“Maxine is now recovering beyond our wildest dreams,” he told the Shropshire Star.

“Initially it was a very dark time, and I was spending 12 to 14-hour days by her bedside, not knowing if the next day would come. Although Maxine didn’t speak for 15 months, I never stopped speaking to her like I always have done. One morning I asked how she was, as I do every morning, and she replied with: ‘I’m OK’. Her speech progressed from there.

“Minute to minute Maxine is good with conversation, but she still gets very confused and her memory has been affected…. We’ve shed a lot of tears, but we’ve come so far and I would advise anyone going through a similar situation to never give up. We’re hoping 2018 will be a better year.”

The Stroke Association, a leading UK charity, officially launched its Lost for Words campaign last year.

Sarah Evans, a support co-ordinator with the organisation, said: “After a stroke, around one in three people like Maxine have difficulty communicating, which can be both terrifying and isolating. But with the right help and support, many stroke survivors are able to find new ways to communicate, and can rebuild their lives.”

  • At Almond Care our staff have the specialist training required to support those who have suffered a brain injury as a result of a stroke. For further information about our services, please contact us today.