Ian talks about his recovery after a stroke at QEF, whilst also living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
“In January (2022) we went for an afternoon walk and when I came home I felt really tired. I sat down and when I got up again I couldn’t move – my left hand side had gone. I went to bed thinking it will be OK in morning, but when I woke up it was still the same, so we called 111. They came very quickly and I went to East Surrey Hospital who were fantastic. It was really scary for my wife Linda and my daughter, especially when I couldn’t move.
I had an MRI and a CT scan, but they couldn’t be sure if it was a stroke or my MS (multiple sclerosis). A second MRI scan confirmed that I’d had stroke. I stayed there for three to four weeks at which point I heard about QEF and thought that was the place for me – there’s no time for therapy in hospital really.
I was at QEF for four weeks and it was incredible, wonderful. I couldn’t walk when I got there, I couldn’t lift my leg, my left arm had no power, and my speech was all fuzzy – I could hear myself talking but it was weird, it didn’t sound like me.
After 4 weeks I could walk in the room and around the building with a frame, my left arm got a little better and the speech and language therapist got my speech back. Because I was coughing a lot they put some thickener in my food, two scoops everyday which was then slowly reduced, which helped a lot.
QEF have been amazing. My wife, daughter and son visited regularly and they have seen a colossal improvement. When I came here, I couldn’t put one foot in front of another, now I can walk with two sticks or a frame and it felt fantastic to be ready to go home. Occupational therapists assessed what I needed and measured the place up before I returned home.
I’m not using stairs – I couldn’t use the stairs anyway because of my MS and we’ve actually reduced our home over the years and now live in a chalet bungalow. My bedroom is already downstairs and I was really looking forward to being home and back to a quiet life.
MS started to show in 1983 – I went to the National Hospital hoping it may go away, which it did, but then it came back in 1996. In 97 we downgraded and moved and when my daughter got married I walked her up the aisle which was fantastic, using two walking sticks. The MS therapy centre in Coulsdon helped me so much. Now I am walking with two sticks again, so I’m back to where I was before my stroke. My MS got worse, it’s progressive so it won’t get better, but I hadn’t thought I’d have a stroke.
I’m really looking forward to visiting my son in the Channel Islands – I love it there, it’s heaven on earth for me. We used to have a house there but it had stairs, so we had to sell it, but I’ll be travelling there and staying in a hotel.
The staff at QEF really are a breed of their own, all of them there were fantastic, they’d do any anything you wanted. My wife was tremendous, giving me care everyday, taking away my washing – even though they could do it there for me, but she wanted to take it home. She’s been so good and a fantastic help to me. If it wasn’t for this place I wouldn’t be walking, I think they’re absolutely amazing – they’ve got something ever so special there. “