My recovery one year on from a serious relapse in my health.   It’s not really something that I would normally write about but I thought I could share the following story with you.  It is amazing the improvements I have made in 12 months. Mandy kept a video diary of my recovery and at the time I really didn’t like being filmed, but actually it has been great to look back and just remind myself how all the hard work at physiotherapist has paid off with my recovery.

Rapid deterioration.

It was this time last year I knew my health was starting to deteriorate. I had taken to bed with a virus that completely floored me, I had a raging temperature and my body was just full of so much pain.  I knew it wasn’t good as I had started to lose the power in my right leg and my hands were very weak. I managed to shake the virus off after a week but from there it all went downhill. I went to see June Lumsden from Edinburgh Sports Injury Clinic, she is great. She took one look at me and said we would need to act fast as it could be 1 of 2 serious things.

Urgent MRI scan

I was rushed to hospital as I started tripping over my right foot when I couldn’t really move my right leg and whilst in hospital I lost the power in my right hand and arm. Later my sight deteriorated in my right eye. Things weren’t looking good and the doctors could see my condition getting worse before their eyes. I was given an urgent scan to rule out various conditions. The scan took over an hour and when I was lying there your mind goes through so much. I never got a chance to tell my family that I loved them and not to worry about me. The scan fortunately came back clear for the things they were worried about.  The next day I was given a lumbar puncture, not a very nice procedure but I knew what was coming as I have had one before.

Discharge photo

Desperate to get my hand to move

The whole time I was lying in bed in hospital I wasn’t worried if I would never walk again as I knew I could possibly deal with that. I was more concerned about getting my right hand to work again. I know that this may sound strange but I knew that I could still do wood turning if I was left in a wheelchair but I definitely needed my right hand to work again so that I could carve and use the turning tools. I constantly worked my fingers and hand using my left hand. I was determined to get the power back to this hand.


I was discharged from hospital after a 5 day stay, they couldn’t really work out what was wrong with me but they had ruled out lots of potential nasties.  I hoped with physio and a period of time I would hope get back to normal.  I was just so pleased to get home and determined to get better. Mandy was great in helping me eat and get dressed, she is my rock, my soulmate! My son and daughter were a great help too. They would cut up my food and help me get about the house. I was really worried about not being able to work as this was our only source of income and the order book was full, but I knew that I had to get better first!

Physio was my next port of call

After being home for one day I went to see June from ESIC and she told me that I would have to ‘live to exercise’ for the foreseeable future if I wanted to get the power back into the right hand side of my body. She told me that we would need to act fast to regain the neurological link between the nerves and muscles. June put together an exercise program that I would have to do every waking hour of everyday. Carys and Sam helped me loads and Mandy was making sure I was doing the exercises right.  I was retraining my brain to move the muscles so it was so important to do everything correctly. It was so hard to get my right hand side of my body to move again.

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Weekly improvements

I was working hard at my recovery and every week we could all see an improvement which was great. June would increase my program weekly and add new exercises to do. It was hard work but I was determined get better. I keep on saying to myself “no pain no gain”

The gym

Now to be perfectly honest, the last time I was in a gym was when I was at high school, so being in the gym was really new to me. The first day, June and Mandy helped to lift me onto the spin bike to get my legs moving. It was hard work and I had to keep pushing myself through the burn on my muscles. I would attend the gym 2/3 times a day and still carried on with my exercises at home every hour. I was given a mixed program of exercises using weights, bands, rowing machine, ladder work, treadmill and Swiss ball.

Big milestone

With all my hard work and help from the family I soon had enough strength in my right arm to lift a cup and drink from it. It was a great achievement, I was soon able to eat using both hands even though I had to put foam padding around the handle of my cutlery to allow me to grip it. It was all small steps but at least it was in the right direction.

7 weeks on

Never ever give up!

I have always been determined to do my best in whatever I do but I think the fact that I was self employed I was even more determined to get back into the workshop so that I could start to earn a living again for my family. That’s one drawback of been self employed; no sick pay! I was getting stronger each day and I was soon strong enough to sit at my workbench and practice my carving technique. It took a wee while but I soon found my carving flow again. Next I had to master the technique of wood turning again. I was very frustrated that I wasn’t strong enough to work.

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The lathe

As I was getting stronger and had now got most of the power back into my right arm and hand, I wanted to try a little woodturning to see how I would get on. I tried standing at first but I couldn’t stand for too long so I resorted to siting on a adjustable bar stool. Using the stool I was able to raise or lower the seat to the best working height. I had to be really careful as I knew my reaction time wasn’t as good as it used to be. I just started by making some small orb sculptures which took me about 3 times as long as it used to, but at least I was back woodturning.

Trying to cut glass again

Now this was going to be a big challenge as I knew I needed a steady hand and constant pressure for cutting glass, I had neither but wanted to give it a go.  I had to be really careful as I didn’t want to cut myself if the glass broke the wrong way. It took a bit of practice but I soon got my cutting action back.

The gym is now part of my daily life!

12 months on and I am doing so much better. I still suffer from a lot of pain, but that is a small price to pay as I can walk and work again. I still attend the gym every day for a 1 hour workout to keep my muscles strong and the neurological link strong too. I can’t thank June and her team from ESIC enough for what they have done to help me get to where I am today. The last 12 months have been so hard but I am so lucky to have my family helping me and encouraging me to get stronger each day. I am so lucky to have what health I have. I would also like to thank all my customers who have been so patient and understanding during the last 12 months.