Tag Archive for afterstrokeparty

Victims, Tattoos and Survivors

One of our number has had a one-word tattoo done on her wrist.  It says “survivor”.

Others among us have asked if she’d mind if they copied her, such is the strength of feeling about it.


I don’t want a tattoo.  I don’t consider myself a survivor in a strong sense of the word at all.  But I do understand those rallying – on other message boards – to remove the word “victim” that people often put after “stroke”.

Do I sound like a victim to you?  Of anything?

I’ve blogged about the power of labels before.  But other than the girls and their tattoos, and someone else pointing out very loudly that he “wasn’t a bl**dy victim, thank you very much”, I had cause to think about it all again the other day.

I was getting bloods done at the nurses surgery attached to my doctor’s surgery.  They were doling out flu jabs and, having had a stroke I’m supposed to have one.  When that flashed up on the screen the nurse looked at me kinda funny:

Weird,” she said, “This thing thinks you had a stroke.

“I did.” I said.

No, it thinks you had an actual stroke.

“Yeah, I did.”

You’re too young for a stroke.

“Yep.  Happened anyway. VAD.”

God, when?

“Two years and three weeks ago.”

Blimey.  Wait here a sec.

And off she went to the nurse in charge to find out what to do next.

We’ve a young girl here [she said this, I promise!] who’s a stroke victim.  She’s really young and she looks great.  Do you think she needs the flu jab or not?

“Well.  Stroke victims get it.  But let me check.”

Right… Besides the overuse of the word ‘victim’, check what?  And why do I get prickly every time someone uses that word in relation to me?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a ‘victim’ as:

  • a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action:victims of domestic violenceearthquake victims
  • a person who is tricked or duped:the victim of a hoax
  • a person who has come to feel helpless and passive in the face of misfortune or ill-treatment:I saw myself as a victim[as modifier]:a victim mentality

I suppose that whilst the first bullet point is technically factual, I tend to associate the word with the second or third bullet points.  As do, it seems, a lot of my new stroke-made friends.  And I suppose that’s one of the reasons we hate it.  

When it all first happens you are in other people’s hands.  Then you’re either helpless or having to make a conscious choice to hand over responsibility to someone else.  I was  definitely the latter; I fought to stay in charge even though it was flipping hard work until I finally had a neuro who told me exactly what was going on and that he was “taking me back to his hospital”. That was 19 hours after I got to the ED so it had taken some time for everyone, including me, to realise that it wasn’t nothing that was going on.  But after he said that I pretty much blanked out for 24 hours, probably because I knew I didn’t have to be in charge any more.  But as soon as you can – and in my case within a day or so, all heparined up, you take it back because – lovely as everyone might be – you’re in charge of you.  You might not be able to walk or even sit up, but as soon as you can talk – and luckily I could, if a little slowly for a while – you can be in charge of you.  

Does that sound like a victim to you?  No, me neither.  And it’s been 2 years people.  How long do you want to apply the label?!

Anyway, I got the jab.  We also worked out I was a little older than they thought I was, but anyone else who wants to think I’m still in my 20s may go ahead with my blessing! And I wondered if I should ask them to drop the word ‘victim’ from their stroke vocabulary.

I didn’t of course.  They were lovely and I didn’t really think it through very hard while I was there.  But there is something utterly disempowering about attaching that label.  In the same way, it feels somewhat overegging the situation to attach the word survivor in my case.

So victim is kind of insulting, if I’m honest.

Survivor definitely applies to some, but not to me.  

Most of us just get on with it.  Simple as.  No labels required.

Thanks though.



ANNOUNCEMENT: AfterStrokeParty has moved!

Hi there,  this is a quick announcement.

I love WordPress, and I’m very grateful to them for hosting AfterStrokeParty for free at it’s previous home.  They’ve been generally fantastic.  In fact, I’m going to keep using their brilliant, free software. But…

Read more


The AfterStrokeParty

We had the AfterStrokeParty. It was great.  And as a picture paints 1000 words, here’s 2300 for you:

Which only leaves me to say thank you, and au revoir.

Until Wednesday, when I see the consultant, anyway.


The Actual AfterStrokeParty

There is a reason this blog is called the afterstrokeparty.

On the 2nd or 3rd day – I was certainly still in the Hyper Acute Unit at Hospital Number 2 – my cousin Rich and I decided we would need an after stroke party in the new year.  I mentioned it to Kate .  When I started the blog a few days later, it seemed like the obvious choice for the URL.  In Kate’s words, “Who knew that would catch on?!”  However, going back to the original plan, the date of the party is now booked.  I’m billing it as a get-together for three birthdays (including mine) that fall in the same fortnight in January, as well as the afterstrokeparty.  One of the birthdays belongs to Mark.  You remember him, right?  If not, you can be reminded here, here, and here: he’s going to have a birthday with a zero on the end. (Sorry Mark!!!)

So… on Friday 21 January we are having a little get together involving a few drinks and friends.  Tomorrow Emma (the other birthday) and I will pop to the pub-around-the-corner to see if we can reserve a little space; otherwise it’ll be at our place.

So, if you are reading this and you know my email address, you are invited to join us for drinks to celebrate a whole new year.  Do let me know if you think you can make it and (assuming you really are my real-life friend) I shall send you details.  Save the date.

I’ve decided that the drinks will mark the end of the blog as I know it.  After it’s been written up, with possibly a few photos, I’ll close the frequent updates.  I might still post very occasionally, if and when there is something to say, but it won’t be a day-to-day thing any more.  Unless anything changes.

However, for those who may need another blog to read on the loo, I’ve started a new one recently, to go alongside my MSc dissertation, and it will gear up when I really get started on it, in March/April/May time.  And I’ll tell you all about it nearer the time.

Thanks for all the support and Christmas wishes.

Happy Boxing Day.  I hope you are having a fantastic time.

To keep in touch with new journal entries:
I don't share email addresses - spam is evil!