ARNI training – September 2009.
My husband, John Marks, had a stroke in August 2008, which affected the left side of his body and he was unable to walk or use his left hand. He gradually regained some mobility and after six months in hospital we were very pleased that he could go up and downstairs. He had regular physiotherapy for two months after leaving hospital and continued to improve, but then reached a plateau: he could walk short distances using a stick, but lacked confidence without it and was fearful of falling.
Dr. Tom Balchin, the founder of ARNI, invited us for an intensive training session. I think this came at a good time for us, as we were both feeling despondent about the lack of further progress and we had given up trying. Tom is not only an expert in the field of stroke rehabilitatio, but he is also extremely sensitive, tactful and firm. He got John to walk without a stick or any support – something I couldl never get him to do. To my amazement, John walked much faster and more upright. Although John is now 75, Tom was adamant that he ‘should not walk like elderly man’. For the first time since John’s stroke I could see a resemblance to the man he was before the stroke.
Since then, using Tom’s authority, I have been able to persuade John to walk short distances without a stick, while I hold his hand and he continues to walk a little faster and more upright.
Tom also succeeded in getting John onto the floor on his hands and knees to demonstrate how to get up again from this position. Although this was less successful (John was very reluctant and anxious about this exercise), this was very helpful for me to observe and try to put into practice. I haven’t managed to get John to try it again, but this morning when he slipped from the bed onto the floor and called out for me to pull him up, I was able to get John to move onto his hands and knees and then pull himself up onto the bed. This, for me, is good progress and I think also gave John more confidence.
John is continuing to use the ARNI grip strengthener and so we hope he will be able to use his left hand more.
Tom’s help has been a great boost for both John and myself. Although John can be negative when I try to encourage him to do more things for himself, invoking Tom’s authority usually does the trick!
We are both so grateful for all the assistance and encouragement as well as the practical exercises.