Recovering from Stroke with Positivity and Perseverance
A father-of-three with a love for making and fixing things, 53-year old Carmine Noto’s life dramatically changed after experiencing a stroke on the left side of his brain in May 2014.
While his doctors have been amazed at his progress after such a severe stroke and his wife Grace is grateful to have him home, Carmine, known by his loved ones as Charlie, lives with little movement on the right side of his body and has limited speech but is constantly improving with the help of speech therapy, neurophysiotherapy, acupuncture and pilates.
Grace and Carmine are strong believers in the need for further medical research in the area of stroke, which Grace has learned can happen to anyone at any time.
“Charlie’s stroke happened on a Friday. He was feeling completely fine and got back to his parent’s house nearby after picking up bread from our local bakery for them,” Grace explained.
“It happened as he was getting out of his Ute. My Mother-in-law called me and I ran over there – I knew straight away he’d had a stroke as he was mumbling and his whole right side was paralysed.”
“We called the ambulance and they were there in less than 15 minutes, taking us straight to the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH).”
Upon arrival at the RAH, Associate Professor Tim Kleinig, Head of the Stroke Unit, signed Charlie up for a clinical trial and thrombolysis was administered, a treatment to dissolve the blood clot.
“Charlie doesn’t have any memory of this but I felt very numb and in shock,” Grace said.
“He ended up being in the RAH for a month and was then transferred to St Margaret’s Hospital for a month of rehab and then Hampstead Rehabilitation as an outpatient.
“This was really hard as he just wanted to come home and be with his family.”
The stroke has resulted in Charlie having limited movement on the right side of his body and his speech has been affected. While he is now living at home, he still has a number of rehab appointments including physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy.
“They expect him to continue to improve but we don’t know how long it will take. It does get hard and it is frustrating, but we’re just doing all we can,” Grace said.
“The support from our family has been incredible and I think when he gets more speech back, it will get easier. It’s about perseverance and positivity.”
Taking Charlie for his regular therapy appointments, Grace has been amazed at how many people are affected by stroke.
“There does not really seem to be a certain age range anymore. It can happen at any time and this just means it’s all the more important for the research to be done,” she said.
“For Charlie it happened in a split second – there were no warning signs and this can happen to anyone.
“I feel for the people who don’t have the support or the finances to receive the type of rehab that Charlie can.
“With medical research that translates into something that people can benefit from – the future of stroke could really be changed for the better.
“We have been blessed that Charlie still continues to improve but I can’t stress how important stroke research is. I have learned that stroke doesn’t discriminate, it can happen to anyone. If these wonderful, gifted researchers can find a cure for stroke it would make an amazing difference. We need a cure for stroke.”
“We really extend our thanks to all the wonderful doctors, nurses, staff and therapists at the RAH, St Margret’s, Hampstead, BIRCH, ASSIST and the GP Plus at Elizabeth that we now go to. Without their support and guidance, not just for Charlie but for me and our family, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” said Grace.