I had my stroke at home in bed in April 2008. I was in hospital for thirteen weeks. My walking was hampered by my foot. I could not lift my foot at the ankle and the muscle tone in my calf forced my foot down so that it was difficult to place it flat on the ground. My Physiotherapist organised for me to go to Sheffield to have an Odstock Drop Foot Stimulator fitted. It was a miracle. I could walk safely on my own with a stick.
I returned to work a Health and Safety Consultant in December 2008. My employer initially understood and helped me with a phased back to work programme. In February 2009. I then took the bold step of starting my own health and safety consultancy – Essential Safety Solutions. The time felt right and I could manage my own caseload in line with my ability. Although based in Oakham, I now confidently covering the Midlands A task made no easier by the fact that I also had dysarthria and sometimes struggled to make myself understood. Some of my old clients were very understanding and I have been amazed how receptive new clients have been. Fortunately with the aid of speech therapy, I have come on leaps and bounds.
Although the Odstock enabled me to walk, I became increasingly frustrated by the positioning of the electrodes and the wires dangling down my trouser leg. I looked on the Internet and found an alternative FES system. This promised to do away with wires and the problem of positioning the electrodes as they sit in special holders on the inside of the cuff that is placed around my leg just below my knee.
I had an assessment and a brief trial through PhysioFunction Ltd. I was so pleased . It did what it said on the tin - No wires and no hassle. I looked into whether I could get funding through Access to Work. They were so helpful with my application and I was delighted when they told me they would fund 5/7s of the cost – I have to pay for my weekend use which is fair.
Since my stroke, inspecting building sites has been a particular struggle. I am hoping that as I make further improvements, this will become easier.
Thank you FES!