Kate Weaver was 29 years old and 39 weeks pregnant when she realised she was having a stroke.
Kate Weaver was 29 years old and 39 weeks pregnant when she realised she was having a stroke. Kate who is a nurse, managed to warn her husband about her sudden condition, before she lost her speech and ability to move when she felt a weakness through the left side of her body. Doctors saved her life using a procedure that had never been tried on a pregnant woman at their hospital before, and days later delivered her baby son, Toby.
Although Kate’s speech returned within four hours of her stroke, she remained partially paralysed and had almost no movement in her left side when she left the hospital. This was the beginning of her long road to recovery, including learning to walk again and regain use of her left arm whilst looking after her young baby.
After her stroke, Kate had two personal goals: to wear high heels again and to start running again. Like so many of our patients Kate had to undertake her own research to find technology would help her.
When Kate initially told me her difficulties over the phone I was confident FES would help. She described a very familiar picture of tripping and poor confidence. She was unable to clear the ground with her left foot and often caught her toes. This meant that she did not feel safe carrying Toby around her home or out to the car. It was a huge leap of faith for Kate to come all the way from Shropshire to visit our specialist clinic in Northampton for an FES Assessment.
This was the beginning of her long road to recovery, including learning to walk again and regain use of her left arm whilst looking after her young baby.
When she arrived at my clinic, I could immediately see that she would benefit from the rehabilitation triad – hands-on therapy, exercise and technology. Her left hip was weak and she struggled to transfer her weight onto her left leg and her left foot was catching the ground with every step. I assessed her with the Walkaide FES system that uses houses the stimulator in a cuff that is worne just below the knee. She had an immediate response and was able to clear the ground and walk confidently around the clinic and outside over uneven ground. She was delighted. As a nurse, the charity supported her and purchased a Walkaide for her. She then embarked on daily use of the Walalkide and a course of hands-on therapy with plenty of exercise as home work.
The result, Kate has recovered enough she now no longer uses the Walkaide and returned to work. Kate recently ran a 5km park run in under 40 minutes only 18 months after being told she might never walk again.