The road to recovery: Paul Edge’s story

Circle Rehabilitation

When Paul Edge arrived at Circle Rehabilitation following a stroke, his mobility was extremely limited. Paul could no longer cook and clean for himself, use the toilet without assistance or walk properly. After two weeks of Consultant-led rehabilitation with our multidisciplinary team at Circle Rehab, Paul walked proudly through our centre doors and into an ambulance to be taken home. He is thrilled to be back doing what he loves, which includes plenty of gardening and cooking.

Paul Edge is an infectious, free-spirited 64-year-old man from Walsall in the West Midlands.

Paul’s world was turned upside down in November 2019, when he was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the blood vessels that carry blood to your lungs). Paul underwent complex surgery as a result, followed by five trying weeks in intensive care. During this time, he was placed in an induced coma. When he awoke, Paul was alarmed to discover that he had lost mobility in his left arm and leg. He was told by doctors that he had suffered a stroke.

Paul's Life Dramatically Changed

After arriving home from intensive care with crutches, Paul experienced a serious fall due to his poor balance and mobility. He was helped into a chair by his friend Jan. Paul sat in this chair for four days and four nights, unable to stand up and walk, let alone use the kitchen or toilet without Jan’s assistance.

Paul's life had changed dramatically: “My left leg didn’t feel like it belonged to me. It was like dragging a piece of wood. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t walk or stay balanced. I couldn’t go to the toilet without Jan’s help. I sat in that chair and slept in that chair for four days and four nights”

Paul felt frustrated and daunted by his situation. Recognising this and feeling equally concerned, Jan contacted our team to ask for help.

Arriving at Circle Rehabilitation

Arriving by ambulance at the centre, Paul was unable to walk or stand without support. Understanding the severity of his condition, our Consultant-led team (which comprises doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, a dietitian and occupational health) worked together toward a dedicated, holistic approach to Paul’s recovery. This meant support tailored for Paul’s needs and goals. These included his mobility and muscle strength.

Bespoke Rehabilitation Treatment

Trey Vergara, Paul’s senior rehabilitation nurse says: “Paul's person-centered care involved respect, emotional support, physical comfort, communication, continuity, medical care and transition. We made sure that we always considered Paul’s comfort and safety. We also provided continuous emotional support to Paul, his family and friends.”

Paul immediately began intensive physiotherapy (two sessions per day) with Senior muscular skeletal (MSK) physiotherapist, Kieran McMahon. This physiotherapy was a hybrid of neurological and MSK (musculoskeletal) physiotherapy, meaning that sessions were directed by both our physiotherapy and neurological specialists. This ensured that no stone was left unturned in Paul’s treatment plan. Through a series of specialist exercises, deep massage and the use of therapeutic machines and equipment to maintain equipment to maintain function in Paul’s body — his mobility improved substantially.

Kieran (Paul’s physiotherapist), was delighted to witness Paul’s confidence develop over just two weeks, as he began to recognise his potential to heal in physiotherapy and beyond. He observes: “It was palpable that Paul severely lacked confidence in his own abilities, particularly during walking, transferring or navigating stairs. Once we were able to create a safe and secure environment suitable to challenge Paul’s self-doubt and prove that he could regain substantial independence, his confidence shone through.”

Throughout his time with us, Paul was visited regularly by doctors and Consultants for checkups to monitor his improvement. He was also supported by specialist nurses and a rehabilitation assistant, who helped him complete day-to-day activities, such as using the toilet, washing, eating and going for a walk. Paul’s dietitian was also onsite to provide him with a healthy and balanced meal plan.

While Paul was offered support for his mental health, he declined this. Although he had suffered a traumatic ordeal, Paul felt mentally stable enough to complete our program without this form of therapy.

When asked about Paul’s resilient attitude, his rehabilitation assistant Harriet Gosztonyi recalls: “He was highly motivated and determined to participate in his recovery throughout the entire patient journey. He committed to all physio sessions and pushed himself hard to achieve his goals. He had intensive physio treatment, ate well and enjoyed the food. He was almost always in good spirits.”

It was agreed among Paul’s support team that he was unwaveringly determined during treatment to walk and move freely again — and he did.

Being Discharged from Circle Rehabilitation

On October 29, 2020, Paul walked on his own through the center doors toward the ambulance and homeward, as his team cheered him on with delight. As Kieran observes: “Paul arrived as a patient and left as a celebrity! He was one of our first inpatients admitted to the hospital, so it was extra special to see him excel in the rehabilitation environment we provide. The whole hospital took a vested interest in his progress too. I'm very clear that this level of support and belief really encouraged Paul to explore and push the boundaries of his functional ability.”

Working Towards a Full Recovery

At home, Paul continues to work toward a full recovery. He still attends regular outpatient physiotherapy appointments with Kieran and other specialists, and completes a series of specialist, muscle-strengthening exercises daily. We are thrilled to continue to monitor and assist his journey to health.

For the most part, Paul is happy to be back in the kitchen and cooking hearty meals, as well as gardening in his allotment (which he has big plans for in 2021). His mobility and muscle strength gets better every day, boosting his self-esteem massively.

Jan is delighted to see such a dramatic change in Paul’s physical and emotional health. After all — it was her courageous decision to contact our team for help. She says: “I've noticed a huge change in Paul. Now he gets around the house by himself and cooks his own food. He doesn’t rely on other people, which I know frustrated him a lot. When I researched Circle Rehab, I was extremely worried about Paul, but it seemed like the perfect place for him — and it was.”

We have no doubt that Paul will continue to work hard at his recovery in the coming months. His dedication with us was commendable, and he continues to stay committed to healing at home.

As long as, Paul sticks to his outpatient treatment plan and pushes boundaries in a safe and secure manner (we know he will!) he’ll continue to build himself back up.

“Now, I can do the little things that the nurses did for me, by myself. I feel confident and I’m improving every day. My entire team at Circle Rehab are out of this world”, Paul says.