Ex Pat Stroke Survivors

Hello All,
I was wondering if there are any other English/UK ex pats out there?

I am cool with my own company but since my stroke sometimes I can become lonely. All stroke specific support groups are, obviously, in the native language to the country I now live in. I have found the second language uses up so much limited brain power. I can understand most of what is being said but my brain just cannot not cope with switching to talking it. My neurologist and doctors speak English and they get why I need it. However, some care givers don’t and it becomes a problem.

The stroke community groups, as I said will be in a foreign language and living in a rural small town there are no options. Support material is all in non English, so I find it all overwhelming to wade through.

It is me and my really supportive husband that have navigated a course for ourselves in it all. Generally, we are doing well. However, I have lost my independence - I’m no longer able to drive (which I loved to go and explore places) due to how quickly and unpredictable my brain reacts to processing movement.

Both the stroke and status migrainosus leaves me really sensitive to sounds, motions and light. I have special glasses and noise protectors but this really cancels out most social activity places. This isn’t a pity party, honestly, it is the way it is and I have accepted it.

It has all had a real knock to my confidence as everything has to be considered in every instance. As my husband knows my symptoms so well, he is really the only one I feel really safe to go anywhere with - even the supermarket is an onslaught to my over sensitive senses!

I am grateful that to look at me you would never know anything has happened or that there is deficits, but that in itself is a double edged sword! Add in a language barrier in a country where personal space is not a thing and people are always in a rush, I feel very vulnerable as I need time and when people get too close and move to fast, my brain reacts!

This has turned into a bit of a word vomit, hasn’t it?! I guess, what I would like to know is if there is anyone else who has a language and cultural difference to navigate on top of learning to live with the challenges a stroke presents?

I miss having the opportunity to just speak my language, freely, without considering if the recipient understands me and having company that understands what it is like to have a stroke.

Thanks for getting this far :slightly_smiling_face:


@WonkyBrain welcome to this lovely forum. Im not an expat but can imagine some of the difficulties you are experiencing. My cognitive issues make it difficult in English never mind a different language. I joined a dial in the other day & the host spoke too fast for me & i had no clue what had been said :woozy_face: it does get better though.
I hope that there’s an expat on here that can offer some helpful suggestions for you.
Best wishes x

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Thank you so much for your support :heartbeat:

Hi Wonky Brain, I wonder if you thought about talking to the Stroke Association. They organise quite a range of activities and help sessions.
If you outline your situation to them they might have something to offer.

Amongst other things there are occasional Zoom calls which give you an opportunity to speak and interact with others. That isn’t the same as actual local activities, I know, but at least it is some contact.

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Hello Bobbi,

Thank you for your reply and suggestion

I did reach out to the Stroke Foundation some time ago. I received no reply or interaction

Zoom works well for me. I am fortunate enough to only recently be working online again, so that’s company. But it is a work capacity, therefore totally different and no place for open stroke discussions

I will try the Stroke Foundation again


@WonkyBrain good luck with that. I know its not like a live conversation but you are very welcome to join in the conversations on this forum. Feel free to start threads on whatever interests you or contribute to threads already started. There is room for everyone here.

Perhaps do a nostalgia thing about your memories, there’s quite a few of us here like to write about our ‘good old days’. Others write about their aches and pains. Some share info about their achievements. All of this can be useful as a reference to compare one’s own experience and progress with that of others. There are also some simple online games that receive regular support, there’s room for new suggestions too, a little entertainment never goes amiss.

The contributors here are friendly, knowledgeable, supportive and welcoming. A stroke, or contact with it, makes us part of this group. It isn’t a club we sought to join but we make it, as best we can, something at least useful and even fun on occasions. We all have something to offer and this is a safe welcoming place to join in.

I don’t know if it is possible for stroke survivors to organise a Zoom call with the support of the Stroke Association, but it does sound like something that could gain a following.

There does appear to be an ‘Online Stroke Activities Hub’ but I’m not sure if it is open or available. I think it is possibly for Members who already take part in activities but maybe non-functioning at this time.

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Hi WonkyBrain,
My brother is a Stroke survivor, and went to Thailand for Rehab. So he is effectively ex-pat now!
His communication is good, but he clearly doesn’t speak Thai and its true that communicating in English is his biggest gripe. All the medical profession there speak good english but general carers and staff not so much, and you have to tune into the accent and the culture and shared experiences are just so different. So he is currently working up to engaging more with the other residents in the centre he is at - quite a few US expats for example.
So, totally get that having a good conversation in your native English is a must.
Typing away on this forum should also help, because as you noted, we share an British perspective on things, and have a certain way of expressing that.
Good luck with your recovery.

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Dear Ex pat
I am an ex pat too living in Spain . My husband is has had a glioblastoma removed in May and had a subsequent stroke mostly affecting his cognitive and memory .
I understand you 100% there is so little help here in Spain for stroke patients when I see what the UK citizen have access to it makes me so envious. Even with a good standard of the language it’s not the same as being a native speaker so much gets lost :disappointed:

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@Canaries2022 Welcome to the forum. Sorry to hear of your husbands stroke. It seems thete os a gap in the market for the expat community. I wonder if theres something the Stroke Association can do to help?

Update. He’s back!
After a year in paradise(?).

Missing home, understandably, but mainly because all the rehab attempted there has resulted in minimal recovery, physically. Mentally, is hard to know yet - it’s been hard. Still feelings of sorrow and dispair mostly, and missing plain English conversation.

I’d recommend it, but it has to be right for you

Hoping my brother will not miss the dedicated helper care he has had for the past year and that UK care is better resourced.


@dingalingalong shame your brother didn’t make the progress hoped for but i’m sure he’ll be happy to be back home.

I can’t believe he’s been gone a year!

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Hi there ex Pat, Wonky Brain-you don’t say where you live but I,sympathise with your predicaament as I live in Portugal. Despite being a permanent resident having lived here for thirty years, I am far from fluent and my 3 month hospital stay after my stroke a year ago, was frustrating even though everyone was nice and helpful and most of the docs spoke quite acceptable English. I was treated in the public hospital system as I had my stroke after a lunch party far from home. An ambulance was called and the rest was out of my hands.
Now I am trying to find your post to which I am replying and I can’t. Got it! I was looking for ex pat and needed Wonky Brain…mine too!
I just wanted you to know that I know exactly how you feel as not only can I not unscramble what is said to me too fast, but I am also deaf and have to lip read. You will find an m.o. which allows you to participate more, just keep at it. This stroke road has no flat smooth bits, it’s all rockystuff which is why we need so much sleep. I send you courage and fortitude and look forward to hearing how you are doing. Ana