One of the useful things that having Facebook provides for group is the ability to do polls. Whilst these can only be fairly simple in nature they are a good way of gaining an understanding the needs and wants of a group of people who have been through a similar experience. Doing these polls has a number of benefits in that they stimulate conversation, gives a overview of members, lets members see how they are faring compared to others and allows everyone to contribute in an easy way.
Over the 16 months that the group has been running I have done a number of polls and they have always given interesting results and plenty of food for thought.
Last week I did a poll for those members who had survived their SCA in the past year with the intention of finding out how they were coping. I know the first year after my SCA was quite tough and I wanted to see how they compared.
The 30 valid responses were as follows:
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The results can be roughly split into 3:
42% are doing well – which is very encouraging and one person even went on to comment how they felt better than before…
“I think that even in one year you move through the scale you’ve described Paul I know that in the first 2 weeks I was really not in a very happy place, and even 6 months ago I would not have put down much above “Pretty good considering”. 1 year on (almost to the day) I’m getting on with it, and I’m probably better now than I was before my SCA!”
35% have ups and downs – it’s quite understandable to have widely mixed emotions and feelings after an event like an SCA. One minute you can be amazed and grateful that you are still alive, the world can seem a wonderful place and the smallest of things can bring great pleasure. Then on the other hand you have days when everything is not firing right and you feel drained and the legacy of the event hits home. Time is a great healer they say and I feel this is definitely true with regards to recovery in this respect. If I polled the same people in 3 months time I would hope the number of down days would become less frequent for these.
23% struggling – it’s unfortunate that nearly a quarter are still struggling. I suspect that these are both from mental and physical aspects. It’s a sad fact that there does not seem to be a clear care pathway in place for many SCA survivors and that common issues such as anxiety, PTSD are just not addressed adequately or at all. Having a close support network around you is a massive help, but unfortunately some people do not have this and it is a real shame that they lack the support they need.
After our first meet-up in February 2015, I realised I was not alone. It was the first time since my cardiac arrest the previous year that I had spoken face-to-face with someone who had experienced what I had. This was also true for my wife, who also happened to be my lifesaver. From that meet-up, the idea of SCA UK was born. Since then, we have achieved a considerable amount, primarily providing information, resources and support to others in a similar situation but also raising the profile of survivorship and the need for better post-discharge care. We are starting to get traction in this, and with the formation of the charity, I genuinely believe we have a bright future ahead and will make a significant difference in the lives of many who join our ranks.