Dawa Tshering heard of stroke for the first time in June 2019 when his 32 year old wife, Rinchen Pelmo collapsed and was rushed to hospital. The outlook did not look positive, Rinchen Pelmo was in a coma and Dawa was advised that she was unlikely to recover. Dawa found out as much information about stroke as he could, and sought the help of Dr Tashi Tenzin, who was able to give him guidance and support.
Dawa remained at his wife’s bedside and after she came out of her coma, he managed to get her to blink her eyes in response to his questions. After three weeks Dawa took his wife home. He gave up his job and began to care for her.
Rinchen Pelmo was able to access physiotherapy at no cost; healthcare is free in Bhutan. Dawa took his wife out to visit places as much as he could, which helped them both keep busy and engaged.
In less than a year, Rinchen Pelmo was able to walk independently. She is still struggling to relearn everything, including speaking and eating independently. However, her love of farming is really helping in her recovery. She has a mushroom farm and vegetable garden, which is helping her get up every day with a purpose and she looks forward to the day ahead.
Dawa reflected that if he and Rinchen Pelmo had known more about stroke, they could have taken steps to manage her risk, as she has high blood pressure. His wife’s recovery journey, dealing with her disability and keeping meaningfully occupied are things that Dawa felt he could share with others and create much-needed awareness among the population and support for stroke patients and their families
With the encouragement of Dr Tashi Tenzin who saw the need to reach out beyond the hospital setting to the community, Dawa has established the Bhutan Stroke Foundation.
The Foundation is now a registered civil society organization with the mission to create awareness of stroke prevention, to support stroke patients, and to educate and assist families and caregivers in stroke care.
WSO is pleased to welcome the Bhutan Stroke Foundation as a new stroke support organization member and we look forward to supporting you in your mission.
This blog includes extracts from the Passu Diary article
Achieving our vision of a life free from stroke is a task that WSO cannot achieve alone. We are committed to building our partnerships at the global, regional and national level to scale up and deliver improvements in prevention, treatment and support to reduce the burden of stroke.