Mohamed Mohamud, a 41-year-old refugee from Somalia, has been through his fair share of hardship following a stroke in September 2015 which left him with reduced speech and cognitive functionality and was unable to walk.
As a result of the stroke, Mohamed experienced difficulties with problem-solving and organisational skills that affected his ability to function independently. His attention span was also affected, making it difficult for him to manage day-to-day activities including attending scheduled appointments on the correct day and time.
A taxi driver by trade, Mohamed, the sole provider for his wife and three sons, not only lost his independence following the stroke, he also lost his family and home.
“When I came out of hospital, I had lost my marriage and kids and I was homeless. I was sleeping in my car next to Fiona Stanley Hospital,” Mohamed recalled.
Mohamed came to Rocky Bay in late 2015, through a referral from his occupational therapist at Fiona Stanley Hospital following completion of hospital-based rehabilitation.
Upon discharge, Mohamed was able to walk short distances indoors with a walking stick and relied on a wheelchair for community access.
Following months of cognitive and physical rehabilitation at Rocky Bay, Mohamed began to improve significantly – no longer requiring his wheelchair and able to walk safely unaided in the community over flat surfaces. His high-level cognitive function also started to improve.
Mohamed said when he first met Rocky Bay’s Senior Physiotherapist Zhao Teoh he was using a wheelchair and walked a little bit sideways with a walking stick.
“The first thing he told me was that I had to put the stick away. In four weeks, I was walking without the stick,” Mohamed said.
Down on his luck and needing a helping hand, Rocky Bay’s therapy team linked Mohamed with a local coordinator to start the process of getting alternative accommodation. One of the team’s social workers later helped Mohamed apply for longer-term temporary housing.
Through all the trials and tribulations, Mohamed remained determined to get back on his feet and regain his independence so he could once again support his children, putting his all into rehabilitation and focussing on his end goal – being there for his children. Once Mohamed moved into longer-term accommodation, Rocky Bay supported his life skill development in his new living arrangement including day-to-day planning and activities. Motivated and driven to improve despite his circumstances, Mohamed also continued his physical therapy at the gym attached to his temporary accommodation under the guidance of Rocky Bay’s physiotherapist and fitness officer.
“A year ago I got my own home, my kids are happy and I can play soccer with them now.
“When my kids come visit me on the weekends and I spend time with them, it makes me someone. I know where I’ve come from and what I’ve been through.”
Rocky Bay has since assisted Mohamed to acquire a grant to access his local community gym, which he attends three times a week to maintain his physical function independently. He is currently working towards becoming fitter and stronger so he can return to commercial driving.
“I can walk now and drive again. I’ve got my driver’s licence and I will try to get my commercial licence back soon,” he added.
“The job I used to do was physical, so I’m going to the gym now to get a bit stronger so I can lift the bags and make customers happy. My dream is to get my commercial licence back so I can work again.
“I have had very good people who have helped me out a lot. I went through a lot of therapy, which was hard emotionally.
“I couldn’t have got through without the support of my physiotherapist Zhao and fitness officer Kris, who gave me a lot of courage and told me to keep going.
“Rocky Bay are wonderful and down to earth. They helped someone stand who couldn’t and didn’t think they would. They made my dreams come true.”
Zhao said one of the most encouraging things he saw in Mohamed was a father’s love.
“I think that was the intrinsic motivation for him to overcome challenges – he was fighting an uphill battle,” Zhao said.
“His love for his children – they were the driving force that got him through a lot of the challenges.
“His goal on day one was to play soccer with his children. It was a dream.
“It’s touching to see a father’s love in action.”