Mary shares her story of neuro rehabilitation at QEF after a stroke stopped her from working.

"I worked as a midday supervisor at a junior school in Fetcham.  That finished the day I went to hospital. On 9th March 2020 I couldn’t put my coat on properly. My husband got me an appointment at the doctors and she sent me straight to accident and emergency with a letter from her. They did a scan which showed that I’d had a stroke.

I’d had a stroke before in 2018 on bonfire night, but this one was worse than that. The impact of stroke meant I didn’t go back to work.  My right hand and leg are fine, but my left side has been affected and I still can’t use my left arm now really, although it’s a bit better to what it was last year.

I’m not sure how long I was in hospital for and then I went on to a nursing home. There wasn’t a lot of rehabilitation there though and the physio realised I needed more.  My husband looked up QEF and realised it would be perfect for me.  He fought hard to get me here and luckily he managed.

I came to QEF on 23rd November 2020. I’m working with the physios here mainly to try to get me to walk. I haven’t been able to do that yet - I can do a bit of walking with a hoist, but not on a tripod yet, that’s my goal really.

It’s been very good having my husband visit regularly - even during isolation we had window visits as my room is on the ground floor and looks out to a garden, and we’ve been able to use the visitor dome as well.  My room is nice and the ensuite is nice as well. I’ve put little flowers outside my window and there is a gardening club which I have been doing with the OTs. We’ve mainly been planting inside but we made a few feeders for the birds as well.

I need help to get out of bed, but I have a shower each morning which I can do myself using a shower chair and I can wash my hair myself using my right hand. It would be good to have something like that when I go home. The only thing I can’t do is dressing really – anything that involves my feet, socks and laces. They have shown me a way of doing it, and I could do it if I get this contraption, but I don’t fancy that really. I’m hoping when I get home my husband will be kind and do it for me – I’m sure he will!

QEF is excellent – the staff are so friendly.  The physios here are very good – they’ve got loads and loads of patience. Holly’s also been very, very good to me. I suffered with mental health challenges when I was younger and Holly has managed to get in touch with my psychiatrist and I’m on different drugs now and I’ve been fine from then on. Everyone on the mental health team is very good here - if you have any problems that way you don’t have to worry as they are very on the ball.

I’m not sure what the future looks like yet. We are moving into a maisonette from a bungalow. It will all be on one level and we’ll have a patio, as we didn’t want a garden anymore, it’s too much for my husband. He’ll have enough with me really – not that I’m going to be like that, I want to be as independent as I can.  They do teach you to be as independent as you can be here.