I recently went to see the hospital; it was three months since the stroke and the doctor wanted to give the test results.
Basically there was no underlying medical reason as to how I had suffered the stroke. That said, I am going to be on medication for the rest of my life.
During the appointment, there was a lady working with the doctor about stroke patients. She came and spoke to myself and TBH to ask if I would be willing to be a volunteer in a medical study. I don’t remember the actual title but she was studying about how the brain recovers when someone suffers right-side paralysis in a stroke. There is so much that doctors and scientists don’t understand about the brain that this study will allow them to create better therapy programs. After a quick conversation with the TBH, I agreed to be a guinea pig. She arranged to visit me for an interview, and then to visit the laboratory at the university.
The first visit, she went through a battery of exams that tested my abilities of cognition and memory. These tests are known as the Oxford Cognitive Screens, and are used to identify specific impairments in Attention, Language, Praxis, Number and Memory. I was taking these screens through my diagnosis and therapy, and it’s a very quick test to see how I have improved during my therapy.
The second visit found me at the university in Stratford. After an hour’s taxi drive, I was introduced to the PhD team who were studying brain injuries and therapies. The rest of the day disappeared in a blur. I was fitted with an EEG electrode cap and conductive gel, adjusting until the connection was perfect (which took nearly three hours).
The rest of the day was spent either sitting quietly to record the EEG as a control, or moving my right arm around a robot arm to record the EEG and muscle sensors. All in all, a interesting but draining day in the lab.
In reflecting on the day as I was in the taxi back home, I realised that there was not going to be a quick answer; there is such diversity in the human brain that I have been extremely lucky with my recovery.