Rocky Road Recovery for Ryan

Sounds like my old Shents room-mate Ryan Marron has got his voice back!
I popped in to see the star yesterday. Toni and Ryan had recently come back from the States, so they were in good spirits. I brought a slab of Rocky Road round which went down well, I think. Don’t know what Cookies and More put in it but 10 mins after Ryan ate some of it he did a transfer almost on his own to the sofa!! Once settled in comfort, he was keen to sing out a favourite song of his – “All For You” by Are Lady Peace.
There was just no stopping him, he was off, trilling through the scales!
Not quite Michael Jackson but he amazed me; from never really saying a thing to full on vocals!!! Like a wolf to the moonlight – but better than that,  Ryan, ey mate?!!!”
I had to smile, it was a wonderful moment and he was just loving it. The brain’s incredible, Ryan still knows the lyrics word for word. I know that because I could hear the tune and even though it might not appear Ryan knows them to anyone else,  he sure does! This time next year, it’ll be obvious to everyone. It’s true what they say about singing; it’s easier to get words out from the musical part of the brain than by merely talking. How weird is that, ey? There’s no doubt in my mind, singing is gonna bring back the speech for sure. Ryan’s got some lungs on him as well!
For those who haven’t been following my blogs, Ryan was bitten by a mozzy up north and it let him paralysed, stripped of everything… to see the cheeky bugger scoffing Rocky Road with head phones on, looking like Stevie Wonder was bloody awesome!!!!
Going great guns, Ryan….
And Toni…thanks for the fits of laughter. My God it was a scream!
Love you guys! x
Not sure if this will work – but here’s a file link of Ryan’s singing! Hurry, though, it’s  only downloadable for another 4 days!

Putting my foot down on the fast track to recovery

What an amazing morning!! I’m so emotional right now, if I could skip and dance I would!!!!
I’ve been doing foot raises off the edge of the bed for as long as I can remember, an exercise that has slowly built up to my being able to get my foot 4 inches off the ground. That’s taken at least a year or so, practicing for half an hour here and there almost every day and this morning I was rewarded. Let me tell you!!
Jade was in bed and I was up at 3am this morning dropping friends at the airport. As I got home at 4am-ish I thought I may as
well go to my cleaning job, as working out of hours at any time is cool.

It was still dark when I finished
I Finished it was still dark , not – nothing but me and Perth’s noisy crows (not sure whether crows are the country’s national bird but if not they should be!) ‘Aarrrrh arrrh arrrrrrrrrrr!’
Well if you live here you’ll get the sound I’m trying to describe – These birds always sound depressed! Ohhh another day!!”, they seem to be crying, “Do we have to!!!”
Anyway as it’s dead that time of the morning I thought, “You know what? I’m gonna try driving with my right foot.” My heart was beating, and I prayed to God to watch over me before proceeding to change my pedal over from the left to the right side. I knew my foot was lifting now so I merely wanted to see if I could use my right foot again…..and I was doing it!!
I had to pull over and slumped over the steering wheel, sobbing my heart out.
For me this is a major win – driving an auto normally !!
Whoohooooo!!!!!!!!! I couldn’t wait to tell Jade!
Going to see my ex-physio, Alisha, next week too – talk about timing! Just before Shenton Rehab shuts down. “What a Result!!!” Now my foot is gonna be lifting a lot more and I wonder if this will help me run again one day??
I felt like yelling one of Rocky’s famous sayings:

Reunited with my wonderful nurse Colleen!

Meeting this lovely lady was a momentous occasion for me.

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You may remember the nurse I wanted to track down called Colleen? If you read my blogs you’ll know how badly I wanted to see her again. Actually,  it proves someone is reading em because only a few days later Colleen emailed me! Someone contacted her on Facebook only two days after the ‘Wanted’ poster went out!!! That was awesome … impressed! Talk about the power of social media! (And ‘Thank you’ Tammy the physio – nice one Tammy x)

Colleen and I used to talk in the hospital cafe, laughing at how crap she used to feel using the wordboard, but I explained, “It’s not if you’re crap or not, its all about having a go!” Just having a willing person to connect with felt wonderful to me.
Colleen said she was 10 weeks on the ward before she transferred upstairs and was one of the first nurses to bond with me in my sorry state. Yet, ironically,  she was the one nurse I never got to thank and it was great to finally show my gratitude.
I was very proud of myself indeed, as, apart from my slight limp I was in good form and Colleen was pretty amazed, I think. She said I wasn’t even blinking then either, just eyes going up and down. Now here I was giving her hugs, drinking coffee and having a good old chin wag. We were talking a bit about how stroke and locked-in syndrome changes people, but then so do any major illnesses or injuries!
Colleen had lost her husband to cancer many years ago, and she said it altered her whole  outlook on life
I was totally agreeing on that- my life will never be the same either, not that I’m sorry about that. Now I see if I hadn’t had this life-changing event I wouldn’t ever have met the most amazing people of my life; you know, nurses, therapists, and other stroke patients.
If someone had the power to rewind time and prevent my stroke from ever happening, or I could choose to stay where I am today, I’d probably say I’m better person now and am so grateful to know the people I know as a result. I truly feel the luckiest person in the world to have met them!
Not everyone feels the same way, of course, and I understand that, but if you’re struggling with a serious condition, one day you may  see it; just keep going and remember – some of your greatest pain can become your greatest strength,
Nice to finally meet ya Colleen xxx

Interview: My journey from being locked-in to freedom

Now I’ve got my voice back, this interview for the Consumer Health Council will, I hope, encourage all my fellow sufferers of locked-in syndrome and help others recognise the symptoms of impending stoke.

A ‘Sinister’ Plot? Everything’s left-handed!

I’m desperately trying to help my right arm catch up with my left arm, but everything seems to be on the left – at least to me! Like driving. The gear shift (left); handbrake (left); electric windows (left); the left hand grabs the seat belt and plugs it in (ON THE LEFT!!!)

These ‘sinister’ manoeuvres take place several times a day, every day, when I need to be doing them with my right!!! No wonder everything’s faster on one side. So annoying!!

Anyway, the upshot is I’ve gotta try and think of things I can do with my right arm, such as emptying shopping bags and stirring the pan. I hoover right-handedly and try to use a cloth with my right hand when cleaning, but my fingers give me the shits!!! For now all I can do is take my frustrations out on my punch bag or my stretchy band!!!

On the plus side I can open a tin of beans now with my finger on the right (it’s always been a bit tricky). As for the car, I feel the only solution is to move to America for a year where I can use my right hand to drive!

Yeah……I could just picture me in a trans am…..oh yeah……open highway!! Bloody right!

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Farewell Shenton Park!

Shenton Park

I popped in to my life-saving rehab centre today, Shenton Park (or ‘Chateau Shents’, as they called it). Even though it was hell on earth being there, I feel drawn to it somehow. Weird, ey?? It’s like seeing your old pack again – animal like; faces you have known, cried with, tucked you in at night….Don’t need to go on….Everything!!! ”

So rewarding talking to patients; think I’d have made a good nurse, though whether patients would agree…!! Took a few photos of the old place in case I don’t manage to get back there before they close it down in October. I really feel for some of the staff there. One lady was telling me her concerns: “I’m 60! What am I going to do now? Who wants to take on a 60-year old woman?”
Hopefully theyll all find jobs. It’s bloody sad, but I understand now. Dietician, ‘Wayne’ told me Fiona Stanley is gonna be smarter, more efficient and everything digital for food orders etc., and it’ll be easier for nurses to handle patients with more room for hoists (or ‘cranes’ is the word I’d use).
I just worry that patients won’t get regular visits, as it’s a real trek for us north of the river (‘Northern monkeys’ Londoners use to call us back in the Green Land!)
I took a strawberry cheesecake log from my works for everyone on the ward which seemed to go down well. Not surprising – Cookies & More do bloody good cheesecakes! Gets hard to work there on my diet, really hard! Hahaha
Of course, I HAD to drop in on my lovely secret weapon physio Alisha who always has time for me; but I suspect some of the nurses and therapists run and hide when they see me coming! “Quick, it’s Pete! Get away! Run for it!! We haven’t got a spare hour or three!!!”
I can’t help it! Nurses and therapists are so nice; they’re trained to be!! Hahaha, bet they can have an argument smiling:
“Yes, yes, how are you? (He’s here again for God’s sake!) You’re doing so well, Peter – and how’s the Mrs? (Hope he goes soon!) Great to see you, thanks for coming by to say ‘Hello’ (Now piss off please!)”
Sad to think there are a lot of people there I’ll never see again!!
They, on the other hand, might be relieved at the prospect!!
Supposed to keep these blogs short – ‘short ‘n’ sweet’, Jacy Brean said. In other words, I gotta learn to shut up!!

SHENTON PARK YOU SERVED US WELL!!!! God bless you and  all that served in you!!!

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