Three years ago, Ann Cosgrave went to work like any other day. It was June and she worked full-time as a retail shopping assistant. But on this particular day, everything changed. Ann found she couldn’t work the register. She was muddled and felt strange. She was told later by colleagues that she was rambling and not making sense, talking about someone dying in Eastenders.
Her manager brought her outside for fresh air and when Ann didn’t improve, she wasted no more time and brought her straight to hospital where she underwent tests. Doctors confirmed that Ann had suffered a bleed on the brain, also known as a stroke.
(There are two types of stroke. A stroke can be caused by a clot blocking blood flow to the brain or by a burst blood vessel which results in a brain bleed. One in five people will have a stroke in their lifetime.)
“I had a bleed on the brain while at work. There were no signs, no family history.”
A stroke is so-called because it strikes suddenly, often with little or no warning. Ann was lucky her colleagues acted fast and brought her to hospital. But afterwards, she felt different. She looked and seemed fine on the outside. But on the inside, she was not the same.
“I didn’t want to leave the house. I wouldn’t go anywhere. Looking back, I thought I was happy at home and happy in my own company. That was when Acquired Brain Injury Ireland came to see me. That was one and a half years ago and I’ve been going ever since.”
Thanks to the day services at our Wexford Clubhouse in Rosslare, Ann has built a great network of support through our women’s group where everyone knows each other’s stories. As Ann says herself, It’s not obvious she has had a brain injury. Like many people after stroke and other brain injuries, she finds her memory is affected sometimes and there can be some fatigue.
“I don’t have to explain anything, I can be fully myself.”
She said: “I feel better now that I’m seeing people and getting to know the other women. It’s really nice to come here to the clubhouse where everyone knows about each other. I don’t have to explain anything, I can be fully myself. It gives me really good support and a social network. Plus I really enjoy the activities like sewing and knitting. I’ve even tried my hand at pottery and I really enjoyed that and now I’m half able to do crochet.”
The mum-of-three has become a grandmother for the first time and has already set her sights on a new goal – to crochet a baby blanket with the help of her pals in the clubhouse.
Our Wexford Clubhouse in Drinagh is supported by funding from BNY Mellon and it runs five days a week. Ann joins our women’s group activities every Wednesday and additionally our Clubhouse offers activities to men as well. You can find out more about our day resource services here.