Select Page

Roman Shwed from Ukraine is a stroke survivor and a first-time attendee at SAFE Working Conference in Berlin. He shared with us his unique view of this event, kindly agreeing that we share it further with the world. We at SAFE believe you will enjoy it… (In the photo above, Roman Shwed is the first person on the left).

A “TOUNGUE IN CHEEK”, SHORT REPORT ‘SO TO SPEAK’, OF MY WONDERFUL EXPERIENCES IN THE CITY OF BERLIN, GERMANY, NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH BERLIN, NEW JERSEY, OR ANY OTHER BERLIN ON THE PLANET…

…anyway,

I’m talking about our “SAFE 2018 WORKING CONFERENCE”, which was masterfully dreamed up, programmed, and prepared, by Jon Barrick, the Prez., his VP Markus Wagner, plus Secretary Monique Lindhout, Treasurer Grethe Lunde, Board Members Ivan Milojevic’, Anita Arsovska, Pnina Rosensweig, Kolbrun Stefansdottir, and on the 27th through 30th November, professionally executed by the staff which included Sandra Jackson, Lucinda Shaw, Gary Randall, Jelena Misita, and Victoria Brewer. If I missed anyone, or misspelled a name, kindly forgive my mistakes…this was the very first, never ever before attended, SAFE Working Conference in my whole life, and I meticulously copied all that info from the SAFE Annual Report…so there !

 

…but I digress,

 

If anyone has any doubts about my feelings about this conference, let me tell you, I was duly impressed, wow-ed, amazed, and, …in a word, the conference “knocked my socks off” ! I learned a bunch of new stuff about “Life after Stroke”, and reflected on my own situation. What kind of Stroke did I experience ? After seeing all the Delegates, especially other Stroke survivors, and remembering what the 3 types of Stroke are, namely:  Ischemic, Hemorrhagic,  and TIA, my opinion about my Stroke changed dramatically.

 

Now when friends on the street will ask me, “Roman, why do you walk so funny ?”, I’d explain that “Moi had a Stroke”…then they usually asked me, politely, “oh?… what kind of Stroke was it ?”, showing off their assumed Stroke knowledge. I used to be very exact in my replies, telling them that it was an Ischemic Stroke, and then, the questioner would, invariably, nod his or her head, sympathetically. Well, this routine is changing, and from now, when asked, I will tell them, “I had STROKE LIGHT ”, for which they’ll have no smarty pants reply, and also this will, hopefully, generate no additional questions. I did, for a while, consider calling mine the Diet Coke way, like “DIET STROKE”, but it just wasn’t sexy enough.

 

…but, again, I digress,

 

My friend Dr.Dmytro Gulyayev, (my Ukrainian co-conspirator), who took care of my Stroke recovering body, introduced me to Sandra, and we immediately became friends, but then small wonder, everyone else who was there accepted me and my ‘Drunken Sailor’ walk without question. It’s really comforting to be among people that understand what you went through, and are still, like you, overcoming this health burp in their life. The Conference was peopled by Delegates from “almost” all European Countries, but everyone spoke English…well, let me clarify. There is the Queen’s English, as spoken by Jon, Sandra, and a few others, then there was some Brogue English, as spoken by my Irish & Northern Irish friends, a little North American English, like mine, and the rest spoke European, or as I fondly refer to, YODA English. Yoda would be very proud of us all, because every single  Delegate is battling the DARK STROKE Force like a true Jedi Knight !

 

…but I can’t help myself…I still digress,

 

As the second day came into play, Integrated Care in Germany was presented by Markus Wagner, our V.P., and then Michael Brinkmieir, the Chairman of the German Stroke Foundation, had a very good presentation of Case & Care Management in East Westphalia. Our table started to speculate…”if there is a Westphalia, there must be an Eastphalia, and therefore – a West Eastphalia”…but we never reached a final agreement, so if you have any doubts, just GOOGLE it. Anyway, the Workshops were great, and very useful, especially to a “nebish” like me. Dmytro and I were there to Listen & Learn, and our East Cluster Workshop,  which was in Hamburg…the Room, not the Burg, explained our moderator, and allayed our fears of having to travel to another City.

 

If I have any complaints, it’s about the food. The meals were great, tasty, and I think that I must have gained a kilo or two. It just isn’t fair to guy’s like me, when you place such tasty temptations before us. The Wednesday Night Feast at Maximillian’s was superb, and I’m sure that our ladies enjoyed the waiters in “Lederhosen”. I believe that everyone, Staff and Jedi Knight, had 2 pretzels each, but who cares as long as no one broke into song or yodelling.

 

ALL THAT’S LEFT TO SAY IS A GREAT BIG THANK YOU TO THE LEADERSHIP & STAFF OF SAFE, AND OUR WONDERFUL SPONSORS … “THANK YOU” IS CERTAINLY AN UNDERSTATEMENT…BECAUSE MY VOCABULARY IS TOO LIMITED TO DO JUSTICE TO THE BERLIN CONFERENCE,

 

AND I MUST ADD A HEARTFELT – “YO, AND A FIST BUMP”, THANK YOU DELEGATES – JEDI KNIGHTS ALL … MAY THE SAFE FORCE BE WITH YOU !

I DID MEET SOME OF YOU PERSONALLY, AND LOOK FORWARD TO MEETING THE REST OF YOU REAL SOON !

 

SMILINGLY YOURS,

 

Roman “Toungue in Cheek” Shwed,

UKRAINE