Vanderhoof – It’s natural for a mother to care for her daughter. But when Mary Greene 35, of Vanderhoof had a stroke last year, the roles unexpectedly reversed.
“I try to make her laugh so she has a good time,” said Jerica Young-Greene 12, Mary’s daughter. “She has trouble remembering and finishing sentences sometimes but I like to cook and besides, if this didn’t happen we wouldn’t have met everyone in stroke group.”
Recognized for her phenomenal undertaking of providing care to her mother, Jerica has been recognized as the 2014 Caregiver of The Year through the Phyllis Delaney Life After Stroke Awards. She was nominated by the Vanderhoof Stroke Recovery Group after putting her fears aside and helping her mom in any way she could, said Penny Swales, co-ordinator for the Vanderhoof Stroke Recovery Branch.
“From just a youngster she was able to get over the terrible shock in knowing her mother may be replaced by somebody else. She has helped her mom regain all kinds of ability’s and Mary has now come leaps and bounds,” said Ms. Swales. “She is a bright and quite humorous young lady and we were delighted to hear she was chosen for this year’s award.”
In April 2013, Jerica found her mom collapsed on the floor not knowing what had happened. To this day, doctors don’t either. All that’s certain is it was Jerica’s 11 birthday and a day she will never forget.
“Mom said she was gonna sit down because she was feeling dizzy. She sat in the chair and since it was my birthday I went to check if guests were arriving. When I came back she was lying on the ground. I asked if she was ok and she looked at me so I went to check on guests again. I didn’t think anything of it, I was just excited. The next thing I knew everyones around her and I’m not abel to see her,” said Jerica.
At first Mary could not walk or talk. The months following were spent in the hospital relearning basic motor sensory skills. She had even forgotten she smoked cigarettes.
Although Jerica was in school at the time, she visited her mother every chance she got to help her with mobility and memory. She now continues to help her mom remember things, prepare meals and just help around the house said Ms. Swales.
“When someone has a stroke their reelection changes along with the way they see things. It takes time but they do relearn. We don’t normally have to think about doing things but Mary may have to think about it every step of the way,” said Ms. Swales.
In the last four months Mary has managed to get her drivers license back showing improvement in all aspects of life. She attends Stroke Group once a week and is thankful she is not in a wheelchair like some others. Life is still a daily struggle but some days are better then others, said Mary.
“Things that people do every day and take for granted I’m constantly remembering, like when to swallow,” said Mary. “Thinking is normal but when it goes to come out it’s different on the outside, it’s frustrating. I used to love to cook but now remembering is difficult. When I came back from the hospital Jerica and I would go for walks and she still cooks and helps me when she can. I have a hard time articulating this but I am extremely proud of my daughter. It’s amazing what she has done for me.”