Glen, Dizzy and a rollercoaster week

On Thursday, Amanda baked a chocolate cake, assisted by her occupational therapist, carefully following the recipe on box (yes, it was a simple cake to start baking again). She had a hospital appointment (which was subsequently postponed) and wanted to take the cake into the ATR unit to give to the nurses who looked after her for 3 months.

We took the cake anyway and the nurses were very pleased to see her progress. Except… one called her name from behind and as she spun around her balance went. She didn’t fall but her inner ear kept ‘spinning’. She’d had dizzy moments three times before, just for a few seconds, but this once continued all evening and into the next morning.

According to Dr Google dizzy spells are common after a stroke. For the first morning since being home Amanda couldn’t face having a shower. This seemed like a set back. . I phoned the doctor at 8.15am and got an appointment for 9.30am. (rural New Zealand; sorry UK Health Service folks). The doctor gave her a thourough check and decided it was an inner ear issue and prescribed some anti nausea tablets which seem to be doing the trick.


So this week Glen Campbell passed away and local TV played the 2014 documentary ‘I’ll Be Me’

This shows Glen as he performs his farewell tour having recently gone public with his Altzheimers diagnosis. We watched it together as he was shown forgetting names, words and showing the first signs of the disease to which he would eventually succumb 5 years later.

So much was eerily familiar. Altzheimers is a degenerative brain disease. A stroke on the other hand can be a regenerative brain injury. At some point in their progress they meet and mainifest in very similar ways. Luckily, those of us living with stroke can be reassured that the future is often positive; up, not down.

So, the up moment happened this morning, just 24 hours after the doctor’s visit.

Scrabble has been great (and previously mentioned) for helping with spelling and numeracy. So today I just used the tiles, Firstly jumbling them into simple 4 letter words and getting Amanda to put them in the correct order. Then building up to long words and hiding random letters in with the real ones. She got it.

When it was time to put them back in the green bag I asked Amanda to do it. She struggled until we realised the back of the tile has a small round indent, just big enough for a thumb. With practice, repetition and time (nearly 20 minutes) a hand which previously has been incapable of moving, lifted over 50 scrabble tiles, one by one, into the bag. I captured a moment of this feat on video for posterity and to remind us that stroke recovery is about perserverence, innovation, repetition and celebrating every small win.


Afterwards we went to the mall and Amanda celebrated with the largest hot chocolate I could find…



  1. I Very impressed. I admit I would cheat and use my left/good hand to pick up those tiles LOL. I work with Polymer Clay also and this I think what keep my hand moving. Keep up this amazing job. HUGS from AZ. Lisa

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My husband had a bad dizzy spell about the same amount of time after his stroke as Amanda had hers they said it was a inner ear thing also . Makes you wonder ? He was laying on the bathroom floor too dizzy. To get up he was. Home alone . No one ever told us it was common after a stroke I’m finding a lot of things that the medical field know that they don’t tell you ….
    My husband has Aphasia and also collapsed at home and I thought he died when he had his stroke / cardiac arrest , so I relate to your story .


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