The secrets of successful stroke recovery, and other stories
Monday 9 March 2020, London
📌 After what seems like a million years, but is probably only four, I got to team up with neuro-physio Katie Campion again. I arrived early and sat waiting for her in a café, reading the local paper.
Katie and I became a professional double act around four years ago – physiotherapist interviews stroke survivor to an audience of neuro specialists.
It worked. It was fun, so when recently she asked me to do it again for a podcast, saying yes was easy.
The subject of our chat was the same as it was the last time we met, and the time before that: goal setting after stroke.
In the meantime, Katie had lived in Madrid for two tears. While there she had a baby, Wilbur, now 2. And on her return she came to work at Bridges Self Management full-time on co-production and delivery.
Bridges teaches a ‘small steps to big goals’ philosophy in stroke rehabilitation.
It is the pioneering work of Professor Fiona Jones at Kingston/St George’s university hospital in Tooting.
I hooked up with Bridges around five years ago during my own stroke rehabilitation, and have kept in touch since.
And so to the podcast… Katie and I sat in a small room at Bridges HQ in St George’s with producer Kelly, a round table and two microphones. GSOH essential.
It didn’t take Katie and I long to drop back into our trademark banter-style workout of what goals in stroke recovery are, how to set them and how to craft a personalised ‘journey’ to your chosen destination.
It’s the Bridges mantra, small steps to big goals, and one we’d jointly presented to a Bridges Symposium back in 2016.
Today we updated our talk to include some more football references (given Liverpool’s incredible success this season) and the ever-growing importance to the game of the “goal assist”.
I draw a parallel between the goal-assist and how it translates into the support essentials for post-stroke recovery.
The upshot is that winning goals are not created by a ‘stroke of magic’ from an individual, they are built piecemeal by a team.
No stroke survivor can successfully restart their lives alone.
The ‘team’ for a stroke survivor includes not only therapists and doctors but friends, family and neighbours. Plus any organisations that can offer support in rebuilding a quality of life for the individual.
Katie and I also talked about the work I did back in 2016 on a research trial to test the feasibility of doing Bridges in a Group, about my early positive experience of the nhs multidisciplinary team in stroke rehabilitation, and about co-production.
I pimped this blog, my stroke blog, which includes a very long stroke archive of collected writings from my earliest steps in rehab.
The funniest moment during the podcast session came when the microphones were off and producer Kelly and I (in jest) ganged up on Katie who, Kelly said, has been known to use sharp words to ‘motivate’ patients (Kelly’s currently broken ankle being a case in point).
With a serious face but laughing inside, I asked Katie: “What is it about Confrontation Therapy that appeals to you?”
That was fun, as was the apt revelation, as I headed for Tooting Broadway tube station, that the road leading to St George’s hospital is called Effort Street.
📌 Toilet rolls are still the nation’s most wanted supermarket item, though Katie told me earlier that nappies are more of a priority for her.
📌 Not to miss out on the public mania for stockpiling, I emptied our ’emergency’ store cupboard this morning to see if we had any stockpiles of food that have somehow gone unnoticed.
I opened the cupboard door and straight away three packets of instant noodles fell out.
More discoveries followed. Lots of lentils, plenty of rice and couscous, and even more noodles, noodled away at the back.
If forced to self-isolate as predicted, I think we might just survive a day or two.
Tomorrow’s job is to do likewise with the top shelf of the freezer. I think we have an abundance of old parmesan rinds (good for thickening stews, I’m told).
📌 Mark Steel’s heavyweight sarcasm can sometimes weigh heavily on my patience, but today in The Mirror he gets the measure of PM Boris Johnson.
Pop Quiz… Name That Tune
“She’s got eyes of the bluest skies
As if they thought of rain
I hate to look into those eyes
And see an ounce of pain”