I'd been referred to a Stroke Physio at AUT's AIH, Northcote. Hazy memories stirred. Had I been to the Stroke Physio Clinic before?  The grounds and building felt strangely familiar, it was a light touch of memory, but it seemed to come from a long, long way; a distant jolt.

Maybe I was imagining things. We'd been away from NZ for a very long time. Surely I would have remembered? Was it to do with exercise after Stroke?  It feels kinda familiar, as Murray told me I had had a private session some 15 years ago, when he and I came back home for a visit to NZ from Europe in the early 2000's. 

Murray recalled that the treatment was a day before we were to fly back to Europe, and the physio session was quite vigorous... afterwards all the worked-on limbs had a fluidity that I hadn't had for a long time, but I was very tired.  And I didn't feel too well for some reason as the afternoon wore on.  That evening we went out with friends and family for a wonderful buffet dinner, but the manipulation had a slight drawback - it put my lymph system into overdrive.  The best food that Sky City Auckland chefs had prepared I enjoyed with relish, but it didn't stay down for very long(!). Oh dear.

This time around, lets see what happens.  After all, rehab is supposed to stretch your capabilities towards where they were before the stroke - no pain, no gain , but preferably with as little real discomfort as possible.  Greeted by the student Physio, I was led into the gym to begin treatment, after a short talk about my health and challenges:

  • I was not walking properly, even though I had discarded the use of my wheelchair quite some time previously, and had a pronounced gait. I wore an AFO on (Ankle Foot Orthosis), or leg-brace, to help with my Foot Drop. When I started to shuffle/walk again after many years, I constantly looked at my feet. Why? I had very little feeling/sensation in my right (affected by stroke) foot. My right-foot was ''spatially'' unaware, (spatial awareness = understanding of where things are in relation to my foot). I had to look down to clear and avoid obstacles, as I couldn't rely on my sensation to guide me.

  • Had a paralysed hand and arm - I could only move my right arm (clenched fingers most of the time) a couple of inches from the side of my body, everything else had to be helped with my good arm on the left.

  • Sub-luxation of my shoulder – due to muscle weakness and spasticity, my shoulder gets locked, misaligned or in an abnormal position; ie. dropping out of the shoulder socket.

  • After the brain haemorragic stroke  where I couldn't walk, talk, read, write, or remember; I still have many challenges as I go through each day, though it gets better year by year.

It was many years since I've taken off my shoes for someone to examine my gait. There were other patients in the gym, doing various exercises, some were less able than I was, and some were more proficient, some others were in wheelchairs. As it was, I walked across the roomy gym, with my shoes on, and later barefoot. Though my right foot clenched the floor quite a lot without my AFO; otherwise there was very little difference was one comment.

The student physio took me through my paces, marked out the plan of which she was aiming for, and gave me leg exercises to do before the next session. All met with approval of her mentor, the clinical educator for physiotherapy.