Clive Poster, a stroke survivor

Clive Poster: A Lifetime of Memories

Adventure has always been at the heart of Clive’s life. In his younger days he performed acrobatics and gymnastics to a high level and placed 5th in the Mr Universe bodybuilding competition in 1952. At the age of 18 he won Britain’s Perfect Man, has 23 body building titles, and has been on the cover of over 123 magazines worldwide. Clive has a passion for safari and wildlife photography that has taken him all around the world; just two years ago he was continuing this life-long obsession with a trip to Kenya.

Now aged 82 and full of a lifetime of stories, Clive’s home is packed with the memories of his adventures and love of the natural world. Everywhere you look there are figurines of the animals he captured on film. Only one stands alone, the elusive komodo dragon, one of the few animals to escape the lens of his camera.

Things have not always been easy for Clive; in 1986 he had a heart attack brought on by the stress of running his own business and while he made a full recovery, he was left feeling very tired for a long time. In 2005, he underwent a triple heart bypass operation, which improved his health but led to him developing atrial fibrillation (AF). In 2006 Clive then experienced a stroke brought on by his AF.

Clive, by his own admission, was never a model patient. He was very anti-pill and for a long time failed to take his medication properly, preferring to use natural remedies instead. Unfortunately, in 2013 Clive had a cardiac arrest and was in intensive care for 10 days. His family feared that they would lose him.

Clive Poster, mr Universe

"Clive’s home is packed with the memories of his adventures"

Managing His Life

Despite his health challenges, Clive’s attitude to life could not be more positive. He has a natural, contagious zest for life and his sense of humour and spirit rub off on everyone he meets.

Clive values his independence and does nearly everything himself, including driving. However, he knows that he needs help with some things and is lucky to have a very close family, especially his daughter Dawn, to help him out. Dawn keeps track of Clive’s appointments and attends his specialist meetings as his stroke has left him a little forgetful and her presence helps him to remember and understand the advice he is given. It was Dawn who made Clive realise the importance of taking his medication and now he diligently organises his pillbox and takes every tablet. He wants to be around for his daughter and knows that taking his medication properly is the best way to do that.

"Clive knows he needs help and is lucky to have a close family"

Moving on

Clive has had to accept that he may not get back to full fitness and his mental fortitude was tested when he collapsed in 2013. He had hoped he would regain full movement but he accepts this may never happen.

He experiences extreme pins and needles and finds himself needing to stamp his feet to get rid of the uncomfortable feeling. He also often puts his hand in the icebox to ease the pain. He has a wet room, which has been a great addition to his life. After his collapse in 2013, he had a carer come to visit him, but he limited the visits to one time a day, as opposed to three, so he can maintain as independent a lifestyle as possible.

He can now wash and care for himself and that means a great deal to him. He also now has an implanted cardioverter defibrillator and a monitor in his home that is linked to the hospital. The monitor is linked up to the hospital. The monitor detects when there is a problem before Clive does and sends the information to his healthcare team. It is very reassuring for him and his family to know that it is there.

"Caring for himself means a great deal"

Clive the carer

During his full life, Clive worked as a sports injury specialist. One day a lady came to his practice because she had heard about the great work he had done with people with serious injuries. Naturally Clive, a modest caring man, played down the accolades but was more than happy to help where he could. The lady took him to her car to meet her husband who struggled with his movement because a recent stroke had left him paralysed down one side of his body.

Drawing on his sports injury experience, Clive instinctively knew he had to start small. He gave the man a small piece of sponge to hold in his hand, and asked him to try and squeeze it between his fingers with the aid of his good hand. Gradually, he moved the man onto a squash ball, then a tennis ball. He also encouraged him to go to the park and start trying to walk. The park, he suggested, would be the perfect place to gain confidence as he could walk on the grass and any fall wouldn’t hurt or cause damage. He wanted the man to try just a few steps at first, but as his confidence grew, to try more and build up, so that eventually he’d be able to walk again.

Suddenly the man stopped coming to his practice, leaving Clive to fear the worst. Then, out of the blue, the lady showed up at his practice. He mustered the courage to ask about her husband. In reply, she asked him to fellow her down to her car. As they arrived, the door swung open and out stepped her husband who began to confidently walk towards them – he was there to say thank you for all the help Clive had given him.

"Clive instinctively knew to start small"

A positive perspective

Clive sympathises with the feelings that every stroke survivor goes through and telling the story of the lady and her husband brings a tear to his eye. But, through his own experience, he knows how easy it can be to get depressed and become isolated.

However, from his time as a sportsman and sports injury specialist, Clive also knows how resilient the body can be and that in many cases, it can get better. But in order for this to happen, you have to stay positive, be a fighter and survive.

Clive is also a big believer in positive distraction as a way of dealing with pain and injury. He plays poker three times a week along with Dawn’s partner, who has commented that he is never happier and more carefree than when he is playing and surrounding himself with his friends. Clive actually attributes his youthful energy to spending time with likeminded people and is often astonished by how old some of the people he used to know now seem to be.

"A fighter and survivor"