“Jackie has been an absolute star.
She’s explained neurology to me.”

55-year-old Victoria Vine lives in High Wycombe and had a successful career as a legal accountant, before she had a stroke in November 2019.

For nearly four years, Victoria has been supported by the Horizon Rehabilitation team as she learns to cope with physical disabilities brought on by the damage to her brain.

She’s been having weekly physiotherapy sessions with Horizon’s Clinical Director, Karen, and fortnightly sessions with our Neurological Occupational Therapist Jackie, who has worked with her on the cognitive issues that impact every aspect of her life.

Here, Victoria explains in her own words how the Horizon team have helped her to adapt to life after her stroke.

Victoria at home with Jackie

How has your mobility improved since you came home after the stroke?

“When I came out of hospital I couldn’t walk independently at all. I had a rotor stand, and two wheelchairs (a manual one and an electric one), but I stopped using the rotary stand very quickly, which I was pleased with. 

I’m not permanently wheelchair-bound. I do use the electric one when I go to the park, but I do more and more walking with my stick now and the Horizon therapists have helped give me the courage to do that.”

Do you look forward to your rehabilitation sessions?

Yes! I had a brilliant session with Jackie, the OT, this morning, talking about my goals and achievements. I’m going to use a flowchart to measure progress going forwards. I see her every other Tuesday.

I see Karen every Thursday and she gives me exercises to strengthen my muscles. I have been using an exercise bike and gradually increasing the resistance. She has given so much encouragement, it makes all the difference.

Are you able to get out and about?

Yes, I’m able to go out with my carer, my husband or with one of the Horizon therapists. Jackie and I have gone out for coffee together. We’ve gone to B&Q. I’ve walked with my carer to Sainsbury’s. These things make a really big difference and help me to feel more normal.

Because of my physical disabilities, the DVLA revoked my driver’s license, but Becca (my carer) and Ollie (my husband) are very patient and take me wherever I need to go.

What progress do you feel proud of?

I haven’t used Microsoft Excel for goodness knows how long, but with Jackie’s help I managed to get onto the computer and use it, which is great.

Physically, my left arm, shoulder and hand are still not completely healed – I still can’t lift my left hand. But, with my carer, I’m able to do more in the kitchen now, like helping with cooking and making teas and coffees.

Are you still able to work?

Before my stroke, I worked in London, in the legal sector. I was often in court and counsel chambers. Fortunately, my employer had insurance cover for critical illness cover, so I’m still receiving a percentage of my wages, but sadly I will have to retire early.

On the plus side, I am able to work as a reading helper at a local primary school and I love it. The school was closed for two years because of COVID, so the little ones are really behind and I go in and help them learn to read on a one-to-one basis. 

Jackie has helped Victoria to rediscover some computer skills
Jackie helps Victoria carry out tasks safely at home

How have the Horizon team supported your mental wellbeing?

One of the key things is Jackie has been explaining a lot of the stuff to me about the neurological damage that has happened and why I have been suffering from a lot of fatigue. 

My neuroplasticity is different now  She has been teaching me about my own neurology, and this has helped me to understand and come to terms with what has happened.

Victoria is not just benefiting from rehabilitation therapy in a physical or practical sense: thanks to Horizon’s transparent and patient-centric approach, she now has a richer understanding of her own brain and nervous system as it continues to heal, which helps with psychological adjustment.

To find out how the team at Horizon can help you or a loved one in the aftermath of a stroke, please contact the clinic.