A Scottish father suffered a severe stroke when he started his car and was unable to speak for three years.
James Rosie, of West Calder, was in stores the day before a family trip to Spain in March 2019.
The 51-year-old got back in his car and started the engine when he suddenly realized he couldn’t move.
Hours later, his wife, Joan, was shocked to find two police officers on her doorstep carrying her husband’s car keys, wallet and phone.
James was taken to the intensive care unit at St John’s Hospital in West Lothian after doctors found swelling in his brain.
Paramedics realized he had developed aphasia, a condition caused by a stroke that can affect the ability to speak, understand, read and write.
Wife Joanne said: “James had no warning of what was going to happen.
“He only has a vague memory about turning on the car’s engine and then not being able to move.
“The police told me he had an accident, and they thought he had had a stroke.
“He ended up in the intensive care unit for 24 hours due to swelling in his brain.
James’ aphasia made verbal communication nearly impossible for him.
He and Joanne had never heard of this case and the couple were told that James was unlikely to speak again.
Three months later, James went out to his home that is now specially adapted for him.
Joanne, who works full time at the Royal Bank of Scotland, and her son Matthew, 16, are now helping James adjust to the new reality.
The couple struggled to adjust to their new life, and it often became a frustrating and lonely experience for both of them.
James, continuing to live with the after-effects of a stroke, had to give up his job as a trainee coaching officer, which he started after a long career in the NHS.
The family found a lifeline in a weekly online aphasia support group, organized by Chest and Heart and Stroke Scotland (CHSS).
James was able to meet other stroke survivors with the condition, while Joanne was able to join partners and caregivers who gave her the support and trust she had previously lost.
Joanne said: “James gains confidence from being part of his peer group.
“He sees others all in the same situation as he is but on different levels and stages.
“It was a positive experience for both of us. Life has changed a lot, and it’s challenging.”
The CHSS estimates that around 2,400 stroke survivors are diagnosed with aphasia each year in Scotland but many are unaware.
James chose to share his story as part of Lockdown Awareness Month in hopes of helping others with the condition so they don’t have to deal with it on their own.
Jackie Slater, director of aphasia development at CHSS, said: “Aphasia can be very frightening and isolating. In an instant, people’s lives are turned upside down by the condition, but many people have never heard of aphasia until it affects them or a loved one. They are forced. On becoming an expert overnight.
“With the help of people like James, who are bravely sharing their stories, we want to make sure that more people in Scotland are aware of aphasia.”
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