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Tom, hope it’s not too long winded-if so tell me & I’ll edit! It’s from the heart…

It all began on the 15th of September 2015. My beloved Sally got up from the sofa at 6.40 pm on that Tuesday evening to feed Crumble the cat. I heard a crashing noise in the kitchen & ran to investigate to find her on the floor unconscious.

She was only 48 years of age. When the ambulance arrived & eventually delivered her to Gloucester A & E I honestly believed that she’d be back with me again the next day. Little did I know what was before us!

So, the diagnosis was a large left hemisphere stroke. Ten weeks of care & rehabilitation in the stroke ward followed under the supervision of a wonderful consultant. Her right side movement was severely restricted & along with her speech & language. They managed to get her to stand, partially dress herself & say a few words. Why had this happened to someone who was very fit & healthy with low blood pressure & low cholesterol?

Then came discharge & we are home again but in a totally different world. I’m now a full time carer & trying to keep myself together with a full time demanding job. Wonderful care from the NHS via “early supportive discharge team”. Occupational therapy, physiotherapy & speech. At the end of twelve weeks she was walking upstairs with help, walking around the house & saying a few more words.

The next phase in January 2016 saw us having out patient care at North Cotswold Hospital. As great as it was it just dwindled over the coming months & we are on our own.So now I’m investigating additional help & of course I turned to the internet. I read so many heart breaking stories & realised that we were amongst so many. I read about Andrew Marr, the journalist & how he had made a good recovery from a similar stroke. He spoke of the need for constant early repetitive tasks & physiotherapy to promote the journey to recovery. He had been in contact with the ARNI institute & had positive results under the guidance & supervision of Dr Tom Balchin. So, that was where I headed. I also discovered his publication “The successful stroke survivor” which we read from cover to cover. He also sent us straight away free copies of his new video publications as a special preview copy which is brilliant in no non nonsense terms & explains & demonstrates how to achieve daily tasks which Sally has been unable to do hitherto.

I e mailed Dr Tom & he responded with a call to home. How nice is that? We had a long conversation on that Sunday evening about Sally’s situation & progress. I came off the phone & felt motivated & excited. Here is someone who understands what we have been going through & genuinely wants to help. The ARNI Institute is exactly what we need. A date for Sally, 25th of October 2016, to see Dr Tom was arranged with a one to one session, so now we wait with anticipation.

The day came & in the first few moments he challenged Sally’s need for her tripod stick & right arm sling after thirteen months. (She hasn’t worn the sling since & uses the stick much less).

Straight away we were aware of his empathy with Sally’s situation because we discovered that he had suffered a stroke too some years ago.Later that morning after a diagnosis with two of Dr Tom’s colleagues Laura & Liz, we were walking unaided around the gym area. Constant guidance & coaching on how Sally should position herself, where to propel the energy for most effective results, sitting to standing & sitting to floor. It was a joy to watch.

The most dramatic moment came in the afternoon when he worked on upper body areas. Sally hasn’t moved her right arm for thirteen months & was previously told that it probably will never work again. Quite frankly we had given up on her arm & resigned ourselves to managing with one arm for the rest of her life. Within a few minutes Dr Tom had her lifting her arm & gripping small objects, lifting them in the air, down & back to the table. It was a most emotional moment & several tears were shed! She then got better and better at this over 2 hours!

How did he do that I asked? The potential was of course always there but it needed the right specialist coaching. He used different strategies than we have previously been used to. His methods are up to date, researched & inspiring. So, now Sally is a different person – she has an arm that moves albeit in tiny increments but thirteen months of inactivity have taken their toll. She has her zest for life again & sees recovery, in what ever form it takes, on the horizon.

We’re back to see Dr Tom for our second session later this month & Sally can’t wait. For the first time we have real hope of a recovery. He is a very gifted man but in his kind approach he is very firm when he needs to be to get the results he knows are possible. I would urge others who are stroke survivors to approach the ARNI institute.

Well done Dr Tom we are indebted to you.

Simon & Sally Jackson

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