I had a right MCA Stroke with decompressive craniotomy in August 2018. On the 27th February 2919 I had the opportunity to travel to Surrey and have a one to one rehabilitation session with the inspirational Tom Balchin at the ARNI Charity.
Prior to our visit Tom and his team contacted us in detail of the itinerary of the day and places to stay, which was very helpful beings we didn’t know the area, we stayed in the Lingfield Marriott hotel where rehabilitation took place. We took the opportunity to stay the night before so i was relaxed and could just stroll over to the sports bar in the morning.
We arrived a little bit early and Tom and his wife were still setting up the equipment, straight away they made me and my wife feel welcome and at ease, we knew from the of that it was going to be a good day.
The first thing Tom and his team did was sit down and find out my stroke story in depth, generally getting to know how I feel and what I can or couldn’t do.
I told them what I wanted to achieve and things I wanted to work on to make my stroke recovery progress further. After an in depth conversation and some assessments which included doing a stroke impact scale and upper limb measure called CAHAI 9, we began the rehabilitation.
We went over to the mat and worked on techniques on how to get down on the floor and up again completely unaided!! This was the first time I’ve achieved this since my stroke in August 2018 my wife found it emotional to see me achieve things I’ve not been able to do.
After lunch which was all kindly provided for we got to work on my upper limb, I’ve only recently got a little movement back in my arm but I’ve not been able to extend my fingers out! But with assistance with supporting my arm I was able to grasp and release objects!! Another first for me!!
I’ve learnt that repetition is the key, as well as lots of other principles such as bilateral and unilateral work, cross-body training and the role mirror neurons can play.
We worked quite a lot with my upper arm and hand with other equipment, I also learnt lots of new stretches to release the tension in my hand which helped with the grasp and release action.
After that we went back to the mat to work on refined walking techniques, balance recovery, including how to change direction quickly, for example, if one was trying to manoeuvre in a busy crowd.
I did lots more exercises including squats, jumping! And rolling!
Everything that I did in that day was a first!! And I never for one minute thought I would be able to come away from there saying I’ve squatted, rolled, jumped, got on the floor and up again unaided!! Grasped and released objects!! All of that I achieved in one day!!
I think Tom is extremely knowledgeable and has spent many years researching and refining process and techniques which are able to help such a wide variety of stroke neuro related ailments, enabling his UK team to help a wide number of patients.
I would like to thank Tom and his team for there time and dedication in helping me on my recovery and I will look forward to putting everything I’ve learnt in to practice.