Like many stroke survivors, Karen manages mental fatigue. The demands of working and parenting mean that Karen’s brain works so hard that at times that it short circuits and shuts down. Karen describes it as being like narcolepsy, where she is unable to prevent herself from falling asleep.
For Karen’s 8 year old son, this means that he sometimes needs to make her a cup of tea to wake her up and help out by occasionally cooking a family meal. Karen has taught him to put only one cup of water in the kettle so it’s not too heavy for him to pour. For cooking meals she bought him an electric frying pan, which is heavy enough to stay still while he stirs and eliminates the fire risk of cooking on a gas stove top.
The positive side of this is that Karen’s son has the freedom and independence to do things for himself, high self esteem from contributing to the household and a great capacity to show empathy and kindness to others.
Karen’s son says,
‘Since mum had her stroke I’ve learnt to look after myself more. Sometimes I make her cups of tea so she can wake up. I feel pretty happy because I can help her.
This picture is of me doing a stir fry. Once you learn to do it and get into the routine of it, it actually becomes a normal thing and it becomes really easy. When I make dinner I feel like I’m helping out. It feels great.’
His advice to other children in a similar situation is,
‘Just feel good about it. It’s not that big a deal. If it’s hard, just keep practicing and it’ll be fine.’
How do your children feel about the way your stroke has changed their life? Here’s how they can share their story and participate in kidstrokemotion.
Mental fatigue resources: