Andjelka had a stroke in her sleep – her #BrainLifeGoal is conquering the Gardos Tower

Gardos Tower

Andjelka Gvozdenovic is a 53-year-old mother of two. The Stroke Association of Serbia have shared her story:

Andjelka was lying in her bed and watching TV when she fell asleep. Her daughter tried to wake her up because she had overslept for work. Since she was unable to wake her mother, her daughter called Andjelka’s husband for  help. They called an ambulance and Andjelka was taken to the Clinical Hospital Centre in Zemun (KBC Zemun). She stayed there until 30th October when she was taken to Dr Borivoje Gnjatovic Hospital in Stari Slankamen. The only thing she could remember was watching TV… The next thing she remembers is waking up at hospital.

The only risk factors she had were stress and the lack of sleep. She was never a smoker and she only had ‘not too serious’ problems with hypertension.

“Her primary goals were to be able to walk on her own and to do everyday activities without anyone’s help”

Andjelka Gvozdenovic

Andjelka was in rehabilitation for a month and a half until. During the rehabilitation in Slankamen her physical condition improved a lot. She moved around with the help of a walker and later, when she felt a bit more confident, she started walking on her own with a supervisor. Her primary goals were to be able to walk on her own and to do everyday activities without anyone’s help. The recovery started well. Unfortunately, the recovery process was interrupted by lungs problems. She was taken to Pulmonary Department in Clinical Hospital Centre Serbia. She was diagnosed with an abscess and pneumonia. After the third puncture, she was sent home, on 12th January 2018. During this period Andjelka had to lie in bed, which slowed her recovery. However, as soon as she was allowed to stand up, her determination to walk again on her own became even stronger. This “delay” of the recovery motivated her even more to fight for her goals. After she had left the hospital, she walked without the help of a walker, but close to the walls or any other support. She would go out with the help from her family in the beginning and after a month she started going out on her own. After this, she set herself another goal- to go up to the Gardos Tower.

As a consequence of the stroke she feels a bit dizzy and unsteady at times, and when she moves around she always walks close to walls, fence or handrails. She became a bit more forgetful but she has developed her own “system”- making notes on her mobile, on the calendar, in her notebook, etc. She has adjusted to all changes stroke has brought into her life and that is important for recovery.

Andjelka receives a disability pension and says that she has changed a lot since the stroke. She takes her medication regularly and she does not get upset about things she cannot prevent or change. Apart from doing chores, she has more time to go to the cinema, theatre, sports events, etc. She has even been to the Beer Fest. Since she has reached her first goal, to walk again on her own and to be able to look after her self, the appetite has grown. She claims that she does everything she didn’t used to have time for due to her duties and responsibilities.

A true revelation was recreation at the ‘Pinki’ sports centre – exercises adjusted for people older than 50. Becoming a member of pensioners’ club “Penzionerski servis” was a great thing. Andjelka has made a lot of friends at the club. They go on trips together, visit museums, monasteries. She strongly recommends  becoming a member of such a club, suggesting that there are simple ways of having a quality time, meeting new people and discovering new places.

“We have to find joy in every new day.”

Andjelka wants to send us a strong message that we are all given a chance to live our lives (in her case a second life) and it’s up to us to live our lives to the fullest. We have to realise what mistakes we have made in our lives, to learn from them and never to repeat them again. We should respect our bodies. We need to put ourselves in first place! Only this way will we be able to help our loved ones. We have to find joy in every new day.

We are thankful to Andjelka for this wonderful and motivating story!

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