Spreading the Message of Recovery at Oxford and Beyond

Last year, I gave a keynote type presentation about my remarkable recovery from a stroke to a business unit of a global pharmaceutical organisation. The title of my talk was called 7 Steps to Recovery (listen to the audio of my remarks here). The purpose of my talk was to motivate, inspire and get the audience to think about the elements that are used in the process of dealing with severe setback. This setback could be a severe health set back or personal set back. I Invited them to think about someone close to them who was currently going through some form of severe setback and who could use some help or support.

In my introduction I explained that I’d had a brain haemorrhage about 4 years ago which paralysed my right side and left me unable to walk. I pointed out that I had been blessed with a remarkable recovery and that since then, I have been speaking at medical conferences and running training/coaching workshops for health professionals. The purpose of these events has been to give an overview of what great recovery looks like through a patient’s eyes and to provide them with some insight as to what they need to do differently to support the overall recovery process.

I emphasised that from their point of view one of the key things that had come out of my work within The National Health Service was that the 7 steps that I used in my stroke recovery could be used for any form of severe health setback or personal setback.

Speaking on the Patient Experience at Oxford

I made reference to a talk I had given as an after dinner guest speaker at The University of Oxford, where I was talking to a group of nursing and social science experts who had done a great deal of research into the Fundamentals of Care around the patient experience. I said that the talk in which I talked about my patient experience made me realise what a huge opportunity there was for me to make a contribution in this area.

I said it would be a real honour to come away from this talk knowing that I could also help their colleagues, friends or loved ones. (View my Oxford remarks on The Patient Experience.)

Then I went on to talk about:

  1. A hemorrhagic stroke or a bleeds

    Hemorrhagic (Bleeds)

    What a Stroke is and two of the different types of stroke, a ‘clot” and a “bleed”. The former is when blood flow to the brain is prevented when there is a blockage in an artery and the latter is when blood flow to the brain is prevented due to a weak blood vessel bursting. Both types of stroke cause oxygen starvation to the brain which causes brain cells to die. The symptoms of this can be loss of speech, sight and movement in different parts of the body. The severity of the stroke will determine to what extent movement etc can be restored. The Stroke Association has a great overview of the different types of stroke. 

  2. Some background information about myself: Firstly that I was a young fit man at the time, only 56 years old! No predisposition to stroke, blood pressure normal, Cholesterol fine, eating a healthy diet,non smoker,  moderate drinker and almost down to my ideal body weight! So this was a complete bolt out of the blue!
  3. My story which encapsulated my “7 Steps to Recovery”.Many of the points that I related to  in this story were also made in the  article I wrote for The Professional Speakers Association Magazine “Speak Easy”. I also talked about how I had got a lot of courage from the Internationally Acclaimed speaker W Mitchell.I stressed particularly the point he made about his state of mind and the choice he made after he had his two terrible accidents. He said words to the effect that “If he could do 10,000 things before his accidents, he had a choice about focusing on the 9000 things he could still do or the 1000 things he could no longer do.” Of course he chose the former which further reinforced what I should do.
  4. A Summary of the “7 steps to Recovery”.

Belief is the Key to Recovery

One of the most important steps to my recovery was “belief” i.e. holding on to the possibility that I could become a better man. I shall always remember Robert Dilts saying that “true belief is holding on to a belief where there is very little evidence at the time“. In the closing part of my speech I said that it was my vision, “running one of the strongest films of my life” in the forefront of my mind which enabled me to deal with the paralysis of half my body. This in turn prevented me from getting frustrated about the recovery not happening “right now” and continuing to be very diligent about doing my exercises.

I emphasised this was a great strategy for dealing with setback, keeping the vision in the forefront of one’s mind eye of one’s recovery, yet taking the small steps each moment of each day to get there.

I then had a few minutes left over for Question and Answer.