Hydrotherapy after Stroke....  I can't tell you the emotions I felt as I waited for my first Hydrotherapy session. My first session was a long time in coming.  I was born on an island, as in Penang, Malaysia. Though, I didn't learn how to swim till quite late in life, i.e. very late teens.

Like jumping into the water from the deep end, took some cajoling. It was the realisation of some very young kids who were playing 'catch' in the water that gave me a boost – swimming, like a duck to water... I'll show them! From young till now, I was never very far away from the water. Holidays were spent mainly in the sun, perhaps not at the beach wholly, but in pursuits with the beach tacked on to it.

When I had the stroke; I lost the ability to walk, talk, read, write, reason, remember.

I vaguely remembered that though there was a pool in the hospital complex where I was in-patient, the caregivers and physios never offered me the opportunity to go for hydrotherapy. So, I was puzzled to say the least when I could sort of understand, but not speak.

A few years later in 1997, my husband and I were on holidays at a hotel which had an indoor heated pool. Great, as I hadn't been in the swimming pool since I had the stroke. I thought, I could try and swim with waterwings. Murray wheeled me into spa complex, a separate building at the hotel.  It was warm and comfortable as it made a difference to the winters day outside.

Changed, I walked/hobbled down the Roman steps into the pool, with Murray's help, I surprised both of us. My right leg, uncontrollably, with the buoyancy of the water, floated to the top, as I couldn't pressure it down; try as I might...

Fast forward to 2014…. a lot had changed.  At the AUT Akorangi Integrated Health facility in the north Auckland suburb of Northcote, I ventured down good, wide steps with handrails. The hydrotherapist was lovely. Doing gentle exercises to warm up, like walking up and down the pool, she went through the chart that the student-physio gave her as the initial consultation to my exercises. She would later devise her own.

It was so energising!! It was Freedom - water bouyancy, compensated and reduced gravity. I was more confident and having weights on my right foot, I could then walk to the end of the pool and back, with very little support. Can't wait for the next session.