Sandra’s story “It’s like having a wee guardian angel there whenever I need her” When Sandra, 75 from Dunfermline, had a stroke just before the start of lockdown, she felt confused and scared. But that all changed when she met our amazing stroke nurse Rhona, who made sure Sandra got the support she needed even though the usual face-to-face services weren’t running because of the pandemic. Confused and disorientated I had a stroke just before lockdown started in early March 2020. I got up and went to login to my PC but I couldn’t remember my password, which was really unusual as I’ve always had an excellent memory. I wasn’t feeling well all day and then suddenly, as I walked into my kitchen, there was an enormous bang and flash of orange and red lights and my sight disappeared instantly. I was totally confused and disorientated. I literally had to crawl on my hands and knees upstairs to get an aspirin because I thought I might’ve been having an extreme migraine. By the next day, I still felt really unwell and I realised it was serious. My daughter took me to hospital and I was told I had suffered a stroke. It was a horrendous experience. I was scared, confused and just felt very down. I kept seeing flashing lights and it was a scary experience. Everything thrown up in the air I was supposed to have support when I left hospital and have a monitor fitted to my heart but because of the virus, all that was put aside. Everything was thrown up in the air and I sort of felt neglected and a bit forgotten. But luckily that’s when I met Rhona from Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland – when I was really feeling at my lowest. In all my life, I have never come across a more compassionate and caring person and I really mean that sincerely. It’s strange how whenever I was feeling a bit low, the phone would ring and it would be Rhona on the other end. Always on the other end of the phone I’ve never met Rhona but I love her to bits – it’s like having a wee guardian angel there whenever I need her and she has helped me immensely. For example, a few weeks ago I had to visit my GP because my blood pressure was sky high and that was one of the reasons I had a stroke in the first place. I was told to wait a week to see if my blood pressure changed and I felt that my situation wasn’t taken very seriously, given I had very recently had a stroke. I left the surgery feeling rather worried and stressed but when I got home from the doctors, Rhona phoned and I explained the situation to her. Rhona instantly sprang into action and called the doctor for me and suggested they rethink my blood pressure medication. I’ve now been put on new medication and my blood pressure readings have gone down. Without Rhona, my stress levels would’ve been shocking. I would’ve been feeling depressed and I wouldn’t be able to cope. But thankfully Rhona was there for me when I really needed help. Even though I can’t see her just now, I know she is always there for me over the phone. She is so knowledgeable and just knowing I can go to her for information and advice really puts my mind at ease. I can’t praise Rhona enough and I hope one day I can meet her face to face to thank her for all she’s done for me.