The doctors told my family I had a slim to none chance of full recovery after my stroke. They also said they had absolutely no idea as to why I had suffered from one at such a young age – I was only 28. It was unexpected, and although I had the mental capacity, I was paralysed down my entire right side, which affected everything from feeding myself to walking and from speaking clearly and coherently to even being able to go to the bathroom and do my business alone.
My ears heard everything and my eyes saw everything. I understood what was happening, yet I couldn’t tell anyone how I felt. Sitting on a chair in hospital surrounded by elderly stroke sufferers, I thought my world had come to an end. I certainly didn’t belong in a mothball smelling nursing home with people older than my grandparents.
I was devastated. I’d always been so active. I’d played netball and tennis and worked out at the gym on a daily basis. And then, it was all taken away from me, and even though I hate the term, I had turned into a vegetable.
Luckily for me my family is supportive, and they knew how important it was for me to function normally again. After doing weeks and weeks of research, my dad finally had a ‘eureka’ moment! He told my mum about the Apollo Rehab Programme in India and all its success stories. He’d turned into a geek for a few weeks researching. It didn’t take her long to come around, and before you knew it all sorts of arrangements were being made for my flight to the land of curry and the Bollywood.
It’s no ordinary facility; it’s more like home, but that’s not the best bit, the friendly medical team always puts you first, which of course is what should be all about, but you rarely see it in practice.
Robotic Neurorehabilitation – that’s what they decided for me. The idea of TV-like sci-fi robots took over everyone’s minds, including my own; and we became obsessed with the gadgetry and technology. Was I about to become a ‘Bionic’ woman? I must admit I was sceptical, but I was also willing to give anything a shot.
The Gait-training device was something else. It was something out of the future and out of this world. They strapped me in, and with the help some computer game-like programmes, I was I able to train my body. Think of it like a cross-trainer at the gym, but with superpowers.
If you’d asked any of my doctors back home, they’d quickly tell you they would’ve never expected me to walk or use my right-hand side limbs ever again. How wrong they were!
It took two months for me to walk, which is something of an amazing feat considering they flatly told my parents not to hold their breaths and it could take years. I do walk with a bit of a limp still, but that’s nothing compared to the progress I’ve made. It was encouraging to hear the Apollo Rehab staff confidently telling me that the limp would soon disappear.
Walking without falling over is now the norm and my arms move in time with my stride. But that’s not all, all of this has kick started my brain again, and whatever was going on in there a few months ago is now the complete opposite, and I can talk, which is unfortunate for my two younger brothers.
Would I have put my trust into robots before? No way! Now, of course! I hope to go back to India for another stint soon. I want the opportunity to explore India further, fully functional!
I’m living proof that miracles do happen!