Return to work

I called into my employer today to give them the heads up on my desire to return to work in Jan. However I dont think they have a clue about the needs of a stroke patient. I have no visible signs of being ill and explained i wanted a phased return with sensible hours,but their answer was the only short shifts in my current role are unsociable hours and any other roles are more strenuous. They dont consider 8 weeks as long term sick leave either so hinted I cant have access to OH.Im hoping together some support from my GP next week.

I wouldn't mind but prior to the stroke I had stepped up to help with the covid workload and sick leave, just to end up with this poor attitude.I came home feeling pretty sick about it.

Employers need to use a stroke expert in their HR department. Otherwise they wont have a clue. Not a clue.

you know the stroke survivors by look so well.

Hi Tulip

Most people, including employers unfortunately, haven't got a clue about strokes let alone how to help people returning to the workplace. Do they have a Human Resources Dept you could ask for help?  It's a shame that after your efforts to help them in their need, their response is lacking in effort for you.  Good luck with your GP next week though.

I would ask your union for support. They will have someone who will accompany you to any meetings.

It's one of the big 4 supermarkets so would have expected better treatment. Unfortunately the last person to go over the dept managers head had he life made miserable. As a driver they need me as much as I need them so may just go for broke and tell them how I feel about my treatment.

Oh I know what you mean. I worked for 'M's' years ago when my daughter was little.  Staff were just a number on a clock card and nothing more. Hated every minute of it and you are right that management can make your life very miserable at work.  Hope you get it sorted and get some help from your GP too.

If it's any consolation, I've been employed by a health insurance company. On my return they happily accommodated flexible working for a while.  I did have an Occ health assessment- which in my view fitted with the company's plans for me.   Like you I had no physical issues but fatigue, noise, (sales office) and struggled with multi tasking- previously no problems.  I didn't fit the boxes of Normal sick.  2 years on, I'm being paid a percentage and want to work. But they won't budge. 

Had to leave in the end. Now have an office job but two weeks in I've got a sudden onset of fatigue

Sounds very similar to me, you never know when it's going to happen or what will cause it. I find multi tasking or stressful situations can aggravate it though 

Hi, just after a bit of advice. I had what the doctors termed a mile stroke in january this year. Physically I'm not too bad, I have left side weakness in my leg mostly. I walked about 3 miles with the dog yesterday, that's morning and evening. Bit tired today so did less. Get the dreaded tiredness at various times over the week, but all in all I think I'm doing ok. I'm looking at going back to work in May on a sort of part time basis for now. My work is mainly desk based and not at all stressful. Had anyone got any experience of advice about doing this. My employer has been fantastic and aren't putting pressure on me to return, the only pressure is from myself. I should add I'm waiting to have a seven day heart monitor fitted as a final closure as the stroke specialist put it.

Thanks Rich.

Dear Rich

thats too soon for most stroke survivors. I have noted that 9 months is more typical. But you are not "most stroke survivors".

you are well organized and sensible, which doesnt come easily to many of us.

a big issue is memory. If your memory remains as it was pre stroke, then thats a massive plus point.

we are all different. No two strokes are the same.

perhaps returning on a gradual basis, ,to a job that isnt stressful, would help you get your life back.

i couldnt work. My memory and short term recall is hopeless, even though the recall is coming back slowly. My speech was cranky. And emotionally i was wrecked.

after a couple of years i went back to my voluntary admin job, about five hours per month at times of my choosing. 

Your employer is fab. 
good luck



Hello Rich,


Welcome to the forum - you sound to be doing pretty well overall but the tiredness/fatigue is a common theme for all Stroke Survivors, caused by two things:

1. You may not be controlling your body as efficiently after your stroke, so tasks require more effort;

2.  When you do things, other parts of your brain have to work at over 100% to perform the tasks previously done by parts of the brain damaged by the stroke.

Regular exercise and time diminishes the fatigue. Some survivors can give in to it but this can lead to a downward spiral, as greater inactivity makes you more susceptible to further health issues.

Many of us just strike a balance - grabbing a brief nap when possible. Many swear by drinking lots of fluids and staying hydrated too.

Work-wise, it is possible to rush into things and to find out that working a full day, plus any commuting (post-covid), several days a week is too demanding. The old you may not have thought your job was too stressful but with your brain injury, it's a different you doing the job now. You may want to 'suck it and see' but it makes complete sense that with the pandemic you want to hold onto your job as long as you can. I have worked for over seven years after my stroke and have thankfully not needed to work as hard or under as much stress as I did prior to my massive stroke.

Keep up the walking, stay positive and keep us posted on how things go :-)


Thanks Damian, that's great advice. I'm in a lucky position as regards work as I'm 60 very soon and could get my work pension. I would like to try to go back and see how I get on. I would also see that as another positive step in my recoverey. My employer has been superb I have to say. I'm also lucky that we have our own gym in work so that would help. My main worry is fatigue, I get mentally tired at times and just have to chill out. I really find exercise fantastic for curing mental fatigue but it does still come and go. I think I will try part time hours to start with first.

Thanks Colin, I'm very lucky in regards to my employer that's for sure. My memory doesn't appear to bad at the moment. My biggest problem is the fatigue, although I think it is slowly improving. Still get some bad day's especially if we have met friends outside and talked a lot. At this time it would only be part time to see how I get on.


Hi Rich, just to add that when we are out walking, we almost dread meeting people we know, because just standing and chatting is a real challenge for my husband!  He can manage to walk about 3 -4 miles, but standing is just so difficult for him ?, I can watch the colour and energy drain out of him if we're standing even for 5 minutes!!  You're not alone, but looks like you're managing really well in other ways ? stay strong ?

Hi Rich - you've been given some good advice from others. All I would add is that it's important not to overdo it, especially going back to work so soon after your stroke. 
My former employer, in common with others, had a scheme they called part-time recuperative working. This was available to people who had been off work for a little while and were now ready to return. It involved working a set number of hours each week, starting with just a few and gradually increasing over several weeks until full-time was reached. The working pattern was individual according to people's needs; I've known people work a couple of hours each day, whilst others needed to work alternate days. 
In terms of instigating this, I recall that a GP's input was necessary as it was part working and part sickness. My memory may not be (is not!) infallible and it's over two years since I left, but I'm sure your HR person/department will be able to advise. I echo Colin's comment, you've obviously got a great employer.

Good luck! 

Thanks Janet, great information. I really am lucky with my employer they have been very helpful. I was talking  with immediate boss just this afternoon we keep in touch with weakly calls. I was telling him of my p!an if all goes well and was very much on board. I'm sort of looking at mid May as a return date on a very limited time. He suggested I come in for a couple of hours one or two days to start with and to see where we go from there. I'm in a fortunate position where I will get full pay till end of June but I feel I would like to use my return to work as part of my recovery. Ideally I would like to go back and not find I've bitten off more than I can handle.


Nice picture! I also have a German Shepherd! Who actually saved my life.

I also had a stroke in January. I went back to work after a month off with a phased return from both my GP and Occupational Health. I worked 3 alternate mornings. The first week was great, but by the second week I was struggling with explosive headaches and exhaustion. My job is both physical and mental at the same time. My manager sent me home and long story short an Occ Health review  have asked me to take a further month and review again. I urge you not to underestimate the very real stress and strain of returning to work. What may previously have seemed not very stressful may actually be  so when you return. Your brain is is still recovering and it will need to process information that has been on hold for a while. This has been my experience. I hope it helps you. I am in regular contact with GP and Occ Health . Yours should help you too.


Thanks Claire, we had our dog in September last year so he's just 8 months and really think I would be in bed all day if not for him. Although he is a pain at times I love him to bits. When I was in hospital they ask about my goals to aid recovery and I said just to walked the dog on the beach again with company first then on my own. Well I have achieved both aims. On the work front it would be for a few hours once or twice a week to start with but I get what you mean I really do. Sometimes the simplest task looks so big at times, I'm learning not to stress the small stuff. My work colleague are absolutely fantastic. I am worried about going back to soon and I am under no pressure to do so, which will help I think. I hope it will be part of the recovery process all be it very slowly. 

Good luck on your recovery


That sounds ideal Rich. I went back to work after three months but by then I'd already decided to retire and due to a lot of accrued leave I only worked for a week, all of which was taken up by sorting things out and saying goodbye. 

I made the decision to retire because although I loved my job I felt I couldn't do the travelling involved and didn't want to take a desk-based role. I was fortunate that I was 60 and in a position to retire as I had my work pension available to me. 
I read Claire's reply to you and agree with what she said about not underestimating how challenging your return to work might be. However, you sound like you and your boss have worked out a plan and I'm a firm believer that work is good for you for lots of reasons besides earning money. 
Best wishes