I am Avashna Moodley and I am a stroke veteran. Why veteran … I’ve got the scars. My stroke happened more than 11 years ago. My life pre stroke was like any other, we were a family of four, me, my husband and two kids who were in primary school. My husband ran his family business. My business was at its peak. I was young, ambitious and courageous so I decided to franchise my business. Together with my precious family this was my empire, big or small, it was my success. I planned out my whole life to never be where I am right now.
I awoke on the morning of Christmas Eve (2011) then quickly realized that I could not move. I tried to get off the bed to walk to the bathroom, to tell my husband that something was wrong – my body was frozen in time. I was so confused. After almost 11 years, I still can’t believe this day ever happened. At 41 years old I had a stroke. My empire was turned upside down. There was no warning signs, no time to get my affairs in order, to prepare my kids for their mother who could no longer walk, talk, read, write or recall her life.
The doctors discharged me very reluctantly so that I could see my eldest child off to his first day of high school. Reality hit me, the first night at home, I wanted to go to my new safe place …. the hospital. I felt alone, like I didn’t belong. My family could only visit me in ICU during set periods of time. They were totally unprepared and unable to read my desperate attempts at communicating through body language and other non-verbal cues. The frustration went both ways and we all soon realized how unprepared we were to tackle the after effects of a stroke.
I look at my stroke as I was stripped of my stuff, I had to rebuild, layer by layer. It was almost an initiation of sorts. Through my experience I’ve realized that recovery from any life threatening condition is something you cannot do on your own, because when you are ill you become mentally, physically and emotionally deprived of the fuel you need to recover fully. This was the catalyst in setting up a non profit organization called Coming Home. Once you stop using your pain to navigate your world, you set your recovery in motion. Meaning your recovery takes place in your mind and then your body will follow.
This is the first step that me and my fellow stroke veterans show stroke survivors. We talk to your team and help map out your recovery road, we understand how stroke survivors feel. Once stroke survivors join our Coming Home family, they and their family are never alone
We are dedicated to providing a customized home based care service to patients affected by chronic illnesses. Our vision is empowered chronic disease survivors and their families with access to the best long term, good quality care and rehabilitation. The mission of Coming Home Organisation is to provide a customized medical support program to ensure recovery in the comfort of the patient’s own home; decreasing the chances of re-admission to hospital whilst increasing the patient’s reintegration back into their family and society.
Our approach is holistic. We attend to physical needs of survivors by sending out nurses, caregivers and rehabilitation specialists. We attend to overall wellbeing by giving out food parcels and toiletries where this is needed. We also attend to mental health needs by offering face2face support groups and online support groups.
We have a step by step approach to engaging with survivors in the community:
- Contact Initiated - by Coming Home to hospital and patient
- Needs Assessment - conducted by doctor on discharge of patient
- Family home - is assessed for customisation
- Family assessment - conducted in home
- Coming Home carer - allocated to manage the transition from hospital to home
- Wheel and Spoke - recovery plan implemented
- Carer and patient - review by family, carer, patient and Coming Home manager
- Coming Home Organisation exits - once patient is functionality independent
- Coming Home Organisation conducts biannual home visits - to family and survivor
For more information visit: www.cominghome.org.za