On August 30th, 2013 around 1:00 pm after finishing his heavy lunch, Mr. Ali Somilie lay down on his bed for a nap. All of sudden, he felt sudden headaches and heaviness on the left side of his body and face. Immediately, he rushed to the nearby hospital and out of his surprised he was diagnosed with middle cerebral artery ischemic stroke (one of the blood supply in the brain) due to high cholesterol level.
Mr. Ali who is 58 years old and a father of 7 children, retired from his job as a principle for an elementary school after 37 years of service. After his retirement, he started his journey of rehabilitation when he moved from his village in the South of Saudi Arabia to the capital, Riyadh. He joined the Specialized Stroke Specialty Program to achieve his goals, being independent in his activity of daily living (ADL).
After participating in an intensive rehabilitation program, including, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychotherapy, and recreational therapy, Mr. Ali continues his program at home until he was admitted to the same program again to be a peer support group member supporting those recent stroke survivors. Even though his left arm still remain weak, Mr. Ali is independent in his ADLs and walks without an assistive device.
Back home, he overcome the barriers and challenges by his strong will power to get better. In his farm, he trained himself independently on driving. He started moving his car forward and backward few meters every day until he became confident to move more and more distance to reach perfection. Today, he is driving his 2001 Toyota, Land Cruiser with a manual transmission. In the beginning, it was difficult for him to press the clutch due to his left leg weakness, so he used his cane for stronger pressing until his leg got stronger.
One day, around 4:00 pm he was alone at home. He tried to do something new, climbing a high-level surface. Unfortunately, his adventure did not go well. He fell down, it was the only fall since he had a stroke, and fracture his left arm. Bravely, he grasped the fracture arm using the right hand, and pulled the fracture bones to place them in correct site. It was painful, but he bare the pain in order to rescue himself. Immediately, he switch on his car driving to the nearest hospital in his neighbourhood. His fracture arm which is his stroke side was immobilised in cast. Luckily, after few weeks the fracture got healed.
Today, Mr. Ali Somilie is spending his time happily with family support in his farm planting and taking care of mango trees, at the same time some of his children still continuing their postgraduate degrees abroad, and the others are professors in the university. Mr. Ali share his story in the hope to inspire other stroke survivors to be patience and never give hope to get better day by day.