It was past midnight at 1:00am in 2016 that changed Rosli Hadi’s entire life.
At home, in his bed sleeping soundly, he woke up in the middle of the night, feeling a little off and experiencing numbness in his limbs and body. Brushing it off as a day of tiredness, Rosli went back to bed. The next thing he knew, he was waking up in an ambulance on his way to Khoo Teck Phuat Hospital (KTPH).
Diagnosed with hemorrhagic (bleeding in the brain) stroke, Rosli was drifting in and out of sleep in the stroke ward. Fortunately, he made a good recovery, and was discharged after 51 days. Before his stroke, Rosli was a dispatch motorbike rider. However, he would never have thought that night in 2016 was the last he would ever ride a motorbike.
After stroke, Rosli found his new calling as a befriender to new stroke patients. At the recommendation of his doctor, Rosli became a befriender at the stroke ward. During his volunteering, he was introduced to Singapore National Stroke Association (SNSA) through the befriending team. Despite his initial scepticism, he was surprised when he realised how much more stroke survivors are open to listening and taking advice from fellow survivors and caregivers.
Rosli joined the SNSA team in Yishun Community Hospital (YCH) and till today has continue to be a befriender. He drops by anytime he could – in the gym to motivate and support fellow survivors, in the stroke ward to speak and listen with them. He became an inspiration when they saw him walking and talking. They feel more motivated, less depressed and are encouraged that they too will recover.
Rosli Hadi (Centre)
In 2018, his efforts were recognised when Rosli Hadi was awarded the Healthcare Humanity Awards (HHA) in the volunteer category in YCH.
Faced with sudden disability, many will feel discouraged but Rosli stayed positive. Apart from physical impairment, Rosli was also affected by anxiety and other emotional problems. His physical disability was obvious, but his emotional disability remained unseen. His close shave with death resulted in claustrophobia and a fear of going out of the house.
With time, Rosli learnt to step out of his stroke and fear. Very aptly in 2017, he joined his first Stepping Out For Stroke (SOFS) and the Purple Parade with another fellow stroke survivor in Ang Mo Kio Park. To get to the venue, they needed to climb an overhead bridge. It was the first time he had climbed stairs outside of the physiotherapy sessions in the hospital. The task proved to be daunting for the newly discharged stroke survivor but he did it.
“If he can climb, I can climb,” Rosli recounts the experience.
Through this encounter, Rosli came to better terms with his new situation. Undoubtedly, there are certain tasks which stroke survivors will have challenges performing after their stroke. Yet for Rosli, he treats it as an opportunity to discover what he is now capable of. He continually explores and discovers new things he can and wants to do, and in his journey, he picked up new knowledge including IT and computer literacy skills.
What could be the secret for his quick recovery? Rosli’s advice for stroke survivors is to stay positive, take all prescribed medications timely, to take care of their health and follow all doctors’ and therapists’ instructions. For caregivers, continue to remain patient, encouraging, and supportive.
Rosli Hadi (Left)
Most importantly? As he has always believed,
“Jangan putus asa – don’t give up.”
Stepping Out For Stroke (SOFS) is an annual stroke awareness event by SNSA for the stroke community in Singapore. In line with SNSA’s Support, Awareness & Advocacy mission, SOFS strives to raise awareness and funds for stroke survivors and educate the public on stroke. This year in 2020, SOFS is online and you can register via: www.snsa.org.sg/virtual-walk
Stroke Survivor: Rosli Hadi
Interviewed & written by: Gladys Ang
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