Phillip Barr in his wheelchair at home with his wife by his side.

On the 15th of March, AHS visited and interviewed Philip Barr, a stroke survivor. We share this story with IDEAS.

Make Life the Way you want it to be!
By Alleviate Health Supports as told to ideas.

Philip Barr is a determined individual to make sure that nothing major in his life would have to change. His recovery, claimed as a 'miracle' by doctors, having some "luck… and [you had] some help. We could only put you down to a miracle."  He was fortunate for his wife to be present at the time of his accident. Philip is grateful for her quick actions in calling the ambulance. It arrived in a matter of seconds. Philip tells his experience as a stroke survivor. About his recovery and present life, as well as his back story.

Recovery

In the first 6 months following his accident, Philip was in and out of hospital and rehabilitation. This was to ensure that his progress was steady and increasing. He reflected upon also receiving "extra care shower- double hot water, double everything. It was great." He had physiotherapy for the next 6 months twice a week, getting "the best of possible care in there." Philip had absolute praise and commendation of the healthcare service he received." [I] can't say that I have any complaints, except the weather! " Evidently, he did not lose his sense of humour or wit to his stroke. He was telling jokes and entertaining us throughout the interview.

The room where Philip spent his recovery with hospital bed, bright curtains.

Present Life

We dug deeper, trying to learn more about his personality and who he was before his accident. The one thing he misses the most is driving, as he "Had a nice Honda SUV which I loved. The seat was just nice for me, and everything fell into place. I managed to hang onto that for about six years." He hasn't been able to try the new metros or trams, but Philip is well aware that that's life. Instead, he adapts to this by immersing himself in the YouTube videos to get a taste of what it could be like.

Philip displays determination and strong-minded capabilities. He perseveres in trying everything, even if it is not how he initially planned to live.

This portion of the interview led us to reflect upon our own lives and appreciate our experiences. - Even the simple ones, every day. Philip misses nothing too much, still being able to do simple, fun activities with friends and family. He claimed that [they] "hadn't changed their lifestyle very much [as they were] homebodies anyway".

Philips white Honda SUV

Daily Life

Philip then proceeded to tell us about how he had gone up to the Ranch to celebrate his wife's birthday. And how easily he was able to make his own way there. This was through the assistance of specially designed tools and extra disability parking spots. This was to ensure that everything he wanted to do, he could. Philip also had great praise for his neighbours, saying that they were fantastic. This demonstrated great community spirit and support within local areas. This highlighted the importance of forming relations and connections with those around you. A stable community helps ensure stable and positive mental health and wellbeing.

Philip received a yellow motorised scooter (pictured below), telling us how he maintained independence. This sense of independence and capability is important to keep sense of self.

Yellow mobility Scooter

Before the Accident

Philip told us about what he would do before the accident, talking about how they used to take road trips across Australia. He shared about his touring experiences and how he visited the Great Australian Byte. His  "big thing before this happened was day trips, coffee shops, coffee shops and oh! coffee shops."

 This allowed us to get a greater understanding of Philip's life before. He shared aspects of life that motivated him to get out of bed, and things that added meaning to his life.

 

In Closing

Philip stayed conversational for the entire one-and-a-half-hour conversation. He provided valuable knowledge and insight into the life of a stroke survivor. We saw the modified living conditions and technological adaptations that best suit Philip. It was a very valuable interview about the positive interactions Philip had with the health services.

Philip shared the vital importance of resilience and to not give up in times of difficulty. Although it often is easier said than done, Philip is living proof that there is life past your accident. As long as you keep a persevering mindset, you can still make life the way you want it to! It reminds us to cherish our days and to appreciate every small thing that we come across.

 

As told to IDEAS by Alleviate Health Supports.


Disclaimer

IDEAS  is not affiliated with any of the third-party organisations or companies featured. IDEAS does not in any way endorse, guarantee or represent the products or services advertised and or offered by them. Furthermore, IDEAS - Information on Disability Education and Awareness Services assumes no responsibility or legal liability in connection with these providers or for the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information.