I am writing this as a veteran, a true survivor and as someone who has had the good fortune to attend Arni and triumphed. I attended Arni for a period of one year and to say I am much improved is an understatement. I have
blossomed under the expert tutelage of two very dedicated instructors, Apart from improving physically, (I learned to walk again without props), I also learned to laugh again, as after my stroke I didn’t think there was any benefit to life, I was very down but every Friday after my sessions which were sometimes tough and challenging, I would leave Surrey with a good feeling that I had made major accomplishments.
At the start my walking was appalling. I trudged along with a hobble that was funny in the extreme but session after session I was made to practice the art of walking. I began to think that instead of a dancing queen Dave was going to make me into a walking queen. Back me up on this one Abba. Dancing had been my passion pre stroke and it’s still something I hanker after but I know I will do it again.
Since I left the group in January 2005 I realise and appreciate how committed he had been to ensuring that I got the movements correct because now that I no longer attend and despite my best intention I have fallen into the habit of saying I will do it later, I am too tired now instead of exercising as and when I should but when I walk I am conscious of every thing that I do wrong and I remember to put it right, this is only because I can hear him in my dreams, urging me on to do it right. . This is what 12 months of intense tuition have done to me. For as long as I am challenged by my movements I will remember the principles of Arni. Its about hard work, achieving, and never giving up. These are attributes than one can easily incorporate into all aspects of life., not just stroke rehabilitation. A tribute to its instructors. I am still trying to get some movement in my arm and I continue to exercise it every day. Unfortunately I was not able to get this working before leaving Arni but I remember Dave saying to me , incorporate your arm into everything that you do , as this will make it work much faster but I found it more efficient not to use it and I now regret not trying to use it more during the last year.
It seems strange that an organisation set up to assist you physically can actually make such a difference to all aspects of your life, I am specifically referring here to one’s mental health. I personally found that any improvement in physical well being reflected itself in an equally beneficial mental improvement. At Arni I always had a laugh and this proved to be very beneficial as I was having lots of problems with depression, a trait common to a lot of stroke survivors. To meet with other stroke survivors and to be able to relate positively is a great mental boost. It also helps to have two trustworthy and understanding instructors to assist with any worries. As the saying goes a problem shared is a problem halved. This is so true and I have only admiration, respect and best wishes for the instructors and my fellow participants. They all helped me along the rocky road to recovery.
Margot has been one of the best supporters of ARNI training methods that we have had. She has tirelessly promoted us in all sorts of forums. As we don’t actively advertise apart from the website and a few flyers in order to keep training exclusive (those who find us have to have the desire to search for us!), this has been appreciated. We have received good write ups in Different Strokes forums and Margot has, as well as training hard, been able to realise how our ‘home-grown’ training is a bit of a labour of love, especially as we have expanded. So, thanks Margot, and we wish you all the best as you move on.