My Wife's recovery

My wife had what was described as a severe stroke affecting her left side on 30th August. After nearly 5 weeks her speech and general understanding of what is going on is very good indeed. She can now swallow soft foods and her speech is pretty clear. She is still in hospital and the physio is ongoing. Physical progress is slow as she has been so fatigued. In the early weeks the physios said that their expectations of her regaining use of her left side were 'Low'. They stopped working on her arm and leg and concentrted on getting her neck better so that she could support her head and turn it from left to right. She can now turn from left to right but I think the supporting side of that is only a little better than before. Supporting herself sat on the edge of the bed is another issue. They are working on that too. Now she is able to lift her right side off the bed a little bit. She has no control over her left arm and a small amount of control over her left leg sometimes. I can visit her in hospital twice a week for half an hour a time, that is sometimes a little longer when they are too busy to take her back to her ward. I move her left arm about whenever I can. I have been told that this might help. The physios have now started working on her arm and leg again but concentrating I think more on her leg. My question is.. has anyone else been in this position where recovery is slow but they still had improvement after a time? I am beginning to wonder if she is going to regain the use of her arm or her leg at all and I am scared to think of how we could cope and what this would mean. Am I being stupid and is this still way too early to tell? 

It is still very early in your wife's recoveery. I was in a coma for 3 weeks after my stroke. It was another 4 months and a lot of therapy before I had any movement in my leg. I left hospital needing to use a wheelchair for distance , but able to walk around the house. Unfortunately I never recovered any movement in my arm. Approximately a year post-stroke I was back living on my own; driving; working parttime; cooking and  gardening.


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Janet, thank you so much for your reply. It gives me great hope. Even a partial recovery where she could at least get around would be marvelous. You have shown me that it is possible and I am so grateful for that. I want to help her in any way I can of course but you have shown that it is possible to do so much on your own. I wish you all the very best and thank you again.

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I can empathise with your situation.My big stroke was five years ago and it affected my left side. I had to be hoisted in and out of bed.  After two weeks, I was moved to rehab and was still hoisted in and out of bed. I could not turn in bed, but I could eat and speak. After a month I moved two fingers in my left hand.

Gradually, but by bit, physio got me standing then walking on a frame. I was allowed home after six weeks, but had some alterations made to make the house easier to cope with. I had to sleep downstairs for three weeks, but the community stroke team taught me to get up and down stairs using the extra rail Age UK had fitted. Improvement was slow and fatigue awful.

Five years on, I walk with a stick outdoors but not indoors. I still have wobbles and my left hand lacks sensitivity. However, I do go to three exercise classes a week to help me maintain my progress and, hopefully, improve a bit more.

Improvement takes a long time and requires patience and hard work. I wish your wife well.

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I read that people who had showed little improvement for two years, did improve a lot when exposed to regular occupational and physical therapy.   Three years ago I was totally paralyzed on my left side and in hospital for 3 weeks because of a stroke.  I had oc. and phys. and electro-stim. therapy 3 times a day for about and hour each time.   When home I had oc. and phys. therapy 2 times   a week for about 6 months.  After that I would do my prescribed exercises, practice walking and using my left arm every day.   I gradually got better,(graduating from walker to quad cane, to regular cane, to no cane)but it took a long time and much consistent effort.  It is very hard work, especially since you feel fatigued most of the time.   But it all paid off.  I walk almost 2 miles a day now unassisted, play piano and ukulele, cook, type, etc. But I am still working on improving.  The positive encouragement and help of my husband has been hugely important- not to mention the fact that for months he did most of the cooking and housekeeping.   Everyone's outcome is different,  but I think if you keep positive and keep working at it with regular rehab and hard work, anything is possible.  Don't let anyone tell you it can't get better.   I did have a wheel chair, walker, tub transfer bench and toilet rails when I went home.   But they have long since gone to good will.  So, don't let the equipment scare you.   It's handy for that recuperative period at home if you need them.    It may be for several weeks or months,  but not necessarily forever.  Keep your spirits up.  You and your wife are not alone.   It will get better.   I'll remember you and you wife in my prayers tonight. Jeanne

Jeanne, Thank you so much for your reply. People here are so kind to take the trouble. It is so good to read your story which gives me hope that even though things aren't looking so good at the moment there is a good chance of improvement. She seems to be in good spirits despite progress being slow. It's so annoying that covid restrictions mean I can only visit twice a week. I'd be there every day helping her if I could. I wish you well in your continued recovery. smiley Chris

Thank you so much for your reply John. Interesting that you say you were able to move two fingers of your left hand as the physios told me that moving fingers involves so many small muscles that it it usually the last thing to return... if it ever does. You seem to have proved that wrong! Your story, like many others on here is inspirational and gives me hope. I realise it's going to be hard work for both of us but I am ready to help her in whatever way I can. Thank you for your good wishes and may I offer you my best wishes for your continued recovery!

Thank you. What amazed me was that the brain does things without our conscious will. The fingers moved by themselves. When my left leg came back to life, it was subject to involuntary spasms at night. I had to put my right leg over my left leg in bed in order to sleep. When life came back to my fingers, when my hand was inactive at bedtime I experienced an aching pain down my fingers. I took medication for it but one night I thought I would bear the pain till it eased. That took an hour and a half. The brain is amazing.

Sorry to read about your wife's stroke. It's very early days for you both. She will improve. The brain has amazing capacity to rewire itself. It does take a long time but with hard work improvements are possible. My stroke was almost 6 years ago. i was in hospital for four months and have been working pn my recovery since. You should get a copy of a book called Had a stroke? What now? by Tom Balchin. It'll help understand what's happened and what to expect.

Hello my name is Marie and you are not alone I had my stroke November 2020 52 Years and my left side is affected and live in Brighton East Sussex.

we are all here for you.

marie Knight 





Welcome to our group Marie.

almost one year, well done.

I am sure you can have a very good second year. So much recovery can be had. Keep moving all the paralysed limbs and you may well get proper movement. Your brain will still be rewiring, probably for one more year, so anything you do will be so helpful long term.

in the Meantime;

be positive

smile, smile then smile again.

lots of us are here for you


Thank you Colin

Thank you all for your recent posts. I have been rather busy in the past week or so and haven't had a chance to respond. Just over a week ago something miraculous happened, my wife was suddenly able to move her left arm, fingers and leg. They aren't very strong at the moment and she still cannot stand but the physios are working on that. After just over 5 weeks of no response with her left side I was starting to fear the worst until you lovely people reassured me. Now your predictions have come true. It needed time. Still a long way to go, she is likley to be in hospital for another couple of months but a better recovery looks on the cards. Thank you all so much for your positive writings and attitudes and I wish you all the best in your own recoveries and lives.

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Dear Chris. I am so pleased to hear of your wife's progress. I can still remember how I felt when I could move my index finger on my right hand. I am sure your wife must feel much the same success. It takes a while but with your love and encouragement she will make progress. For me there have been good days and bad days but it has been worthwhile. Love to you both Lilian

Glad to hear u news all the best des

5 weeks is very early stages and the brain is probably still in shock

I am coming up to 6 years post stroke, I was in hospital for 10 weeks after what was described as a “significant” stroke. Similarly left side was taken out. While I haven’t recovered any real use of my left hand or arm yet, there have been changes even there:
so, I don’t now have the same problem with spasticity as I did in the early days when I had to work to prise my hand open I can now lay it out flat on my lap and it doesn’t just curl up unto a fist. I am still hoping to get further improvements.

I suppose the most encouraging thing for your wife might be about walking and standing. Within a year I was standing ok. Slowly graduated from a quad stick to a Tripod to a single point cane, but walking has always been hard work since I first got on my feet after the stroke physiotherapy has been very helpful over the period especially early on.
I don’t have any now, so have to find my own motivation.

I’m still a long way from anything that looks like a complete recovery but I can do things. Within the first year I was able to return to wor in a limited way. It was a complete disaster though, so I wouldn’t rush it.
In the end I lost my job, but got a decent settlement. I don’t work now, and in some ways regret having had to go back, but i had to as my contractual sick pay had expired and we only had my wife’s earnings to keep us going. Long story, nightmarish, but in a better place now.

I will say though that I put a lot of my own recovery down to the love and support I have had from my wife and family. It is very hard for the spouse or partner but your support and love is essential in the healing process. Expect there to be much grief about a life or roles lost. Some things like role may not be recovered or may become changed over time.
It is a school of patience, as everything takes such an agonisingly long time to change.
Your role as spouse is crucial. It has taken me 6 years to accept certain changes, and even there I am still working on it. I have accepted for practical purposes that I need wheelchair assistance, although with only one functional upper limb, I can’t self propel.

I have learned to accept being disabled( to some extent) it has always been a fine balance between accepting being disabled and continuing to work for recovery. The two are not mutually exclusive. So I do both. I am able to get out, with help. I can get up a flight of stairs with a handrail on the right. I sleep in my own bed. I can’t yet cook for myself. That’s a family role I have lost - as I was main cook and dishwasher. But there are still things possible limited though I have become.

Remember that every stroke is different and her experience will be different from mine but having said that I hope you both can find something in my story that will encourage you to keep hopeful.
Wishing you both well.
I am still finding my way around the new forum and don’t know how to do a person to person chat. But if you want to DM me and can figure out how to do it, I will be happy to share further if that would be something you’d like
Stay well and have a good Christmas
Best wishes

Anthony, Thank you for your encouraging story. My wife is slowly recovering and has recently been standing and walking a short way. She lacks confidence and is worried about falling over. She is still in hospital after 16 weeks but there is talk of her coming home later in January. I realise it is going to be a challenging time for both of us and it will be good to have her home so that she can supervise me cooking for the two of us. The physios are trying to build up her core muscles as while she has improved greatly there is still some way to go.

I do wish you the very best in your continuing recovery and thank you for taking the time to tell your story. I hope you and your family have a good Christmas and that next year brings further recovery for you.

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Wish your wife well from me
16 weeks that’s a long stretch, 10 was enough for me
I remember the core muscle workouts. Quite hard work but essential for standing and sitting. Amazing how tiring just sitting can be when those muscles don’t respond well. I wasn’t allowed in a wheelchair until they had got me toned up a bit. But it didn’t take long. The physios are great.
If she’s up and walking now, that’s great, little by little each day and the confidence and balance will come. I hope you can be together at home in January. Sounds like the hospital rehab team are on the ball. I was referred to the community rehab team on discharge who were great. I hope you get the right level of follow up. Things will improve when she’s back home

I hope Christmas is ok for both of you.
Keep hopeful!
Wishing you both well

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Ctop1, many thanks for your original post. You have descibed very well the position that my wife is in (except it is her right side that she has lost). Her stroke was eight weeks ago. She is doing really well in recovering her speech, but it is very early days and as yet she has no movement in her arm or leg. Maybe a little feeling returning in her shoulder. I do not have anything useful I can add yet, but I do find reading these messages is most helpful and encouraging.

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Hi Chris, @Chris_Baker, Sorry to hear about your wife’s stroke. As Mahoney says there is still lots of time for improvements to be made. I was told by the physios that they had low expectations of my wife ever being able to move her left side in the first two weeks following her stroke. At week 5 she was suddenly able to move both her arm and her leg. Her recovery has been slow and she spent 19 weeks in hospital. Her speech and swallowing recovered pretty quickly during her stay and she is now back to normal with that. She came home in January and is now able to move around our flat with a walking frame and is gaining strength and confidence with help from visiting physios. We hope that she might be able to move onto a quad stick soon. In the early days I took great comfort from the messages and stories that people posted here. I am glad to hear that you find the messages helpful and encouraging too. It is always being said that every stroke is different and that is certainly true and worth remembering if there are occasions when you feel that your wife isn’t making progress as quickly as others might be. She is probably going to improve at her own pace just as my wife did.

Very best wishes to you both, do keep us informed of her progress please.

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