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My life changed beyond recognition on 7 May 2007, when a major stroke left me with left-sided hemiplegia and severe cognitive impairment.
I was42 and had been an ultra-fit mountaineer, caver and long-distance runner who worked as a university academic researching and taking students to mountain glaciers to understand climate change.
Over the course of some excellent rehabilitation, my mind gradually adapted to the idea that the old, outgoing ‘me’ was dead.
I was now crippled and dependent on all around me for even the most basic and personal needs. Despite this massive loss of dignity and autonomy, a core of inner drive still existed.
Things looked up two years later when my partner, a nurse, and I discovered my old Nordic walking pole and ski pole.
We blunt-capped the sharp tungsten-tip with a rubberised dogs’ play ball (2cm diameter) so that wooden floors and carpet would not be damaged and slipperiness was reduced.
This upright pole increased my walking-range and, unlike the walking stick I had been using, was an artefact of my prior active outdoor life. It felt as if I were regaining part of the ‘old me’.
The changes to my self-image were dramatic. We live in France and I had become used to being noticed as the ‘handicapped young man’. The first time I used the pole in public was in a cafe. When I stood to leave a very elderly lady gazed at me and beamed a smile, saying ‘bonne route!’.
In a flash, I was no longer a figure of pity but was seen as a long-distance walker. I felt like a different person knowing that the world around me no longer looked upon me with pity.
Discarding my walking stick in favour of a walking pole had a considerable psychological benefit. Perhaps your readers could use this information to help other hemiplegic patients.Professor John B Hunt, University of Gloucestershire
No need to wait
I am a musculoskeletal (MSK) team lead for outpatients physiotherapy. At the end of last July, our trust, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, took over the care of the consultant-referred patients in Trafford General Hospital.
Patients had been waiting at least 18 weeks for an appointment. By the end of September the waiting list was eradicated and no patient had to wait for an appointment.
Instead, they were asked to call to book an appointment at the next available suitable time.
We achieved, and have maintained, this record, through the combined hard work and dedication of the both the MSK admin team and the physiotherapists.
Our manager nominated us for the trust’s team of the Year in 2013 and we were highly commended in this category – a fantastic achievement for a brand new team working in an organisation with more than 10,000 employees.
I am immensely proud of the team and the dedication shown to our patients. Abigail Browne
I saw the latest edition of Frontline (21 May) and was amazed to see my face on the front cover.
I just wanted to thank you for arranging for Janet Wright and the photographer to visit Addenbrooke’s ... and for the Brainbow service to receive such good exposure. David Young, Cambridge
Corrections and clarifications
We provided an incorrect answer in the article titled ‘Know your rights’ in the last issue of Frontline (21 May).
One question asked: Does my employer have to consult with me and/or the CSP when proposing a jobs change and downbandings?
The answer said there a statutory consultation period of 90 days where 20 or more employees are made redundant.
The correct figures are 30 days when there are from 20 to 99 employees and 45 days for 100 and more. This information was displayed correctly in the box next to the question.
- A news item on the parkrun phenomenon prompted two members to comment: parkrun is fab. So inclusive, so simple and so community minded. I am one of the run directors at my local parkrun and I feel it is part of my role as a physiotherapist as well as a local resident to do what I can to support the event. vanuem
- I’ve only started running this year and am so impressed with parkrun. In Northern Ireland, many of the local running clubs take it back a step further and run couch to 5k ‘Jog Belfast’ and ‘Active NI’ sessions around the parkrun venues. These culminate in a Graduation first parkrun. Can’t recommend them highly enough on a professional and personal level. shonapryde
- In repose to a letter headed ‘We are not a luxury’, Angela Brett said:I totally agree with Hilary Toyn. I see a lot of elderly people who often say that they wished they had a little gym or parallel bars to use where they live. They believe it would make a huge difference to their mobility.
AuthorVarious and Frontline Staff
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