Any progress is good - however slow and faltering

Another week, another hospital - literally. After a fortnight in intensive care, the friend I mentioned last week was transferred on Wednesday evening to a hospital nearer home. 

It's a good sign that the doctors consider her fit enough to be moved, but past experiences suggest the quality of care (and certainly the number and visibility of medical staff) might not be as good.

We'll see; all the signs are that the road to recovery will be long and complicated (as with a stroke-survivor, obviously) but progress has been made in the last week and my own case shows that any progress, however faltering, has to be seen as good.

What the past fortnight has done is remind me how exhausting supporting someone who is seriously ill can be. Hospitals tend to be hot and stuffy (which, of course, is better than being cold) and my tendency to nod off at the first opportunity has been sorely tested. Throw in the fact that packed train carriages tend to be equally hot and stuffy and I seem to have spent most of the last two weeks falling asleep alongside a hospital bed or falling asleep at home.

I have certainly been extending my afternoon nap closer to two hours than the usual one and there have been times when my brain has been so fuzzy that I haven't wanted to get out of bed in the morning. When I talk about the little things I live with every day as a stroke-survivor, that's what I mean.

It's also affected my balance more than I expected. My stroke damaged the cerebellum, the area at the bottom of the rear of the brain which is responsible for balance and co-ordination. This often means I have to hold on to Mrs Warrior while we are out walking and if I am out on my own, I usually walk with a stick - the alternative is to risk walking like a drunk and possibly taking a nasty fall, something I have done far too often.

That damage gets worse under stress and I have definitely felt my balance become much more uncertain over the past few days, hence my stick has become a regular companion. It's taken me back to the days immediately after my stroke when putting one foot in front of the other and staying upright was an achievement. Given that my friend's accident involved a serious fall, she is going through the same emotions. Frightened to put one foot in front of another in case she falls again, she is extremely wary of getting out of bed, doing the most basic physiotherapy or even moving.

It's not a good feeling and it's one with which I empathise. I had the drive and determination to keep going despite it (and I was considerably younger); I'm not sure my friend does. Being able to say 'I've been where you are and I've come through it' is one of the most important parts of what I do. A lot of stroke-survivors feel as if they are the first person this has ever happened to - I know I did. Being able to provide support and experience as someone who has been there, done it and worn the stroke-charity T-shirt is important to me.

It's why I write this blog, it's why I do public-speaking about stroke-awareness, it's why I hope to venture soon into the 21st-century world of podcasting. When that happens, you'll hear about it here first.