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Pushing the Boundaries: A Personal Account of Recovery from Stroke

By David Guthrie

In the UK 100,000 strokes occur each year. Many survivors are left severely disabled. But why is this – when it is well known that some can and do make excellent recoveries?

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Thanks to the expertise of a team of neuro-surgeons, Rita survived a life-threatening stroke, but was left with physical and cognitive disabilities needing full-time care. With no training and knowing nothing about stroke, Rita’s husband David took on the job of main carer. He had no idea what he was letting himself in for, made many mistakes and got into several disagreements with medical and care authorities.


This reluctant carer had the determination to make sure his wife would overcome her disabilities and lead a normal life again - if that were ever possible. A change of environment was needed. Why not South Africa during the English winter? When they arrived in Fish Hoek, near Cape Town, Rita was wheelchair bound, incontinent and could not make a cup of tea without help. It looked like a long, hard struggle for them both.


• Yet Rita did climb her mountain to recovery. How was this possible?


• And how did a small team of therapists and carers succeed where UK health authorities had failed?


• What reasons did David identify to explain Rita’s unexpected recovery?


• Is it really necessary to travel all the way to South Africa to find a rehabilitation therapy that works?


Further information: author website

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