Six months ago my amazing mum Maria Venuti had a major hemorrhagic stroke which resulted in significant bleeding in her brain.
Even though mum had experienced brief periods of high blood pressure in the past, it was very unexpected and such a huge shock.
It was one of those mornings where I just thought I would pop in and see Mum and she rang me in a panic. Talking with her on the phone, I could hear in her voice how stressed she was and within five minutes she was unconscious. The ambulance was called and I think in the back of my mind I was hoping it wasn’t a stroke, but realistically I knew it could be. And then all of a sudden I was thinking- well I hope it isn’t a bad stroke- and of course it was one of the worst kinds. It quickly became all about survival.
We were definitely not prepared for the way it has turned our lives upside down. It’s now been six months, and her recovery and rehab has been a slow process. She is making great progress though and I’m so proud of how far she has come. Luckily, she still is that beautiful vibrant soul Australia knows so well- I think if she had lost that spark in her personality, it would have been even more challenging.
Blood pressure is not something you might normally focus on actively managing, but when you’re in ICU with someone you love, you realise just how important it is that those blood pressure numbers are stable and in the right range.
It’s also about perspective. You can be too busy until you have a situation which completely flips all those things you thought were important around, and you instantly realise how much more important your health is. We are all so busy, but often it’s this busy, stressful lifestyle that can make high blood pressure worse. We need to turn managing our health into regular habits that we don’t even think about, like brushing our teeth or even checking social media – we’re increasingly not too busy to do that!
The ironic thing for both mum and I is that our time is now completely dedicated to recovering from the stroke, with all of those things that we were busy focussing on, no longer being possible.
I’ve teamed up with Priceline Pharmacy because I want to help highlight the need for regular blood pressure checks to fight against stroke. The more education there is around stroke, the more people can understand and be proactive about their health, and focus on preventative strategies. I hope we can help people understand how important it is to manage the risks associated with high blood pressure, which can be identified through these checks.
Until the 14th of June, 2917, you can head into any Priceline Pharmacy for a free blood pressure check. It only takes about ten minutes and could potentially be life-saving! Head over to Mission Health for more details.
The Carousel would like to thank Bianca Venuti for sharing her compelling story.
Also, for more stories about stroke, read TV presenter Chris Bath’s story: