Background:  Stroke Summary

A brain AVM (Arterio-venous Malformation) haemorrhaged in 1995 resulting in the stroke.  I've had this rare brain condition [only 1 percent of the general population have it] since birth, but I didn't know I had it until it exploded in my brain when at work, surrounded by colleagues.  The ambulance came almost immediately, but it took two hospitals and at least seven hours before neurosurgeons operated.  The pooled blood increased pressure on nearby brain tissue, that reduced vital blood flow and thereby... killed a lot of brain cells.  Which left me with the challenges I have now.

The recent New Zealand FAST campaign to learn the key signs of stroke and to act fast by calling 111 if they suspect a stroke... is crucial.  In 1995 whilst on the OE in the UK, an initiative like this didn't exist.  Recovery and rehabilitation depends on the severity of the stroke and the amount of tissue damage that occurred.

Result: had to relearn to talk, relearn to read, relearn to write; deal with short-term memory loss, severe aphasia. Trapped in a wheelchair, and still have a paralysed arm and hand; relearn to stand, relearn to walk.  When I started to shuffle-walk after the stroke, I had footdrop and clonus - unconscious and involuntary, rhythmic, repeated muscular spasms, on my right foot.   I had very impaired sensation, having to look down at my feet, besides a mountain of other considerations, not least a sub-luxed shoulder.  A huge challenge awaited...

I'm travelling again, taking one-handed photos, and have written cookbooks and travelogues.   I was right-handed; now I'm left-handed for everything.  21 years since my stroke in 1995; I was a fit 34 years of age. How far have I come?  Celebrate, inspire.  Progress is still very possible 21 years and more after a stroke; never give up.  To read more click here.

The Videos

The following videos have been created organically, and are basically classified by:

  • Observational;  where I am now for my particular condition
  • Functional; How-to One-handedly, my alternative methods to do the activities, dressing or around the home, that could be useful for others

The first is for clinical observers regarding long-term stroke survivor imperative to improve their condition regardless of the clinical lack of support.  The second is how to do things when you can only use one hand, as in hints and tips for long-term stroke survivors to improve their lives.  To show rather than tell, not only for those stroke-afflicted but also health teaching and learning organisations and staff, medical researchers, medical practitioners and professionals.  Also a tilt towards policy-makers regarding targeted post-stroke support from Government medical services: other than the AFO I've had zero support from any organisation since 1997.


Click on the <bold> text to get access to the video associated with the text.  All are in the same web page so you can scroll up/down to get to neighbouring videos


Stroke Rehab 001 Walk Slippery Surface



This clip outlines the challenges with polished surfaces.  Unimpaired individuals have automatic acute sensation and highly reflexive motor control so can readjust accordingly if either foot begins to lose traction on a smooth / low friction surface. 

Reduced sensation and limited motor control makes corrections very difficult to identify let alone control therefore its necessary to keep an eye on the ground at all times whilst walking.

I have fallen before on a highly polished marble floor and it wasn't much fun(!).



Stroke Rehab 002 Walk Paved Path



This clip outlines the challenges with paved surfaces: since I have less balance than the average person, and my speed of correction is impaired, so proud loose or uneven tiles and pavers could upset my balance, hence the need to constantly survey the path ahead.





Walking on cobblestones or gravel pathways; especially cobblestones when wet, is slippery.

Gravel is shifting beneath the surface so balance is very important.

Stroke Rehab 003 Walk Gravel Path



This clip outlines the challenges with walking in-between flowering lavender avoiding stalks, leaves, small branches. 

My right leg has impaired sensation, I have to look down as even the slightest obstacles could have a major impact.

Stroke Rehab 004 Walk Unseen Debris



Needed to build muscle mass, after being confined to a wheelchair I had muscle atrophy.

Weights, leg exercises, and hydrotherapy all helps; walking on sand means finding traction.

Lack of sensation, to look down constantly and balance...

Stroke Rehab 005 Walk Beach Area


Video Select


An exercise assessment, Physio department tutorial. 

For years, I had to concentrate on one activity at a time, with balance & coordination. 

Now there are many activities at the same time. 

Also, dress shoes are a challenge...

Stroke Rehab 006 Walk Assess and Shoes


Tie laced-up boots, or shoes one-handedly?

Think outside the box, and start again from scratch, lacing up shoes with one hand...

How to tie shoe laces with one hand | Stroke 007


As I'm one-handed, Dycem pads (from the hospital in the UK) or any other non-slip, grippy pads are useful for the kitchen and home...

I've also found it useful for rolling out clay for pottery.

How to use non-slip pads for cooking or pottery | Stroke 008


A ONE-handed Cook that's lost her short-term Memory? How to peel a kiwifruit? 

Over the years, some faculties have returned; one-handed cutting board from the hospital in the UK is very useful in a myriad of ways...

How to use cutting board with one hand | Stroke009


Being one-handed and interested in baking? 

Zesting lemons and limes is relatively straightforward, one-handedly, using a Dycem pad. 

Baking delicious cookies is the motivation...

How to zest and bake with one hand | Stroke 010

How to put in contact lens with one hand | Stroke 011

Contact Lenses...  to safely and comfortably insert them and take them out again... what if you only had one hand?

Asking someone else to do it doesn't always work: it's an automatic threat response - your eyelid shuts before the lens gets anywhere near the eyeball. 

If you can only use one hand, this is how you do it.

How to put on zip jackets with one hand | Stroke 012


Hold one jacket side and manipulate the zip of the opposite side into place: ... how do you do it when you only have the use of one hand?

Like this.

How to put on wrap-around skirts with one hand | Stroke 013


Another quandary of clothing where two hands are assumed to be available.

A good technique for those who can only use one hand.

How to put on zip skirts with one hand | Stroke 014


Pulling the top of a zip skirt together in order to get the zip up to the top needs dexterity with both hands.

Or does it?

How to put on zip shorts with one hand | Stroke 015


Plain, normal shorts, culottes or trousers that have zips; flowing garments need extra control in order to put them on and secure the fittings......

Control *and* connecting the fittings is possible with one hand.

How to put on bra with one hand | Stroke 016


With two working hands: looking forward, both arms are doubled behind the back and the bra hooks are managed into the eyes, by touch alone.

But with one working hand?  Here's a different approach.

How to tie string bikini top with one hand | Stroke 017


Bikini top: let's tie two bows/knots behind us, sight unseen. 

Sometime a challenge with two hands. 

Not impossible with one hand.


How to wrap gift with one hand| Stroke 018


Sometimes the easiest gift wrapping can be a complicated affair, and the result is not always what you expect.

Like, more sticky tape on your fingers than the wrapping paper, or the ribbon is completely out of sync with the shape of the box.  Thank goodness you have two hands to try and correct it.

What if you one have one hand?

Yes, its do-able...