One year on…

I made sure Amanda was not  aware it was the anniversary of her stroke.

Although a year of continuous recovery is significant, the event itself is hardly something to celebrate or commemorate. Flowers were suggested but I said that the day should be just like any other and making it ‘special’ might do more harm than good.

Despite this, Amanda decided (unknowingly) to mark it in her own way.

During the evening she decided it was time for dessert. Without suggestion or prompting from me, she got up, went to the kitchen and served up apple pie and ice cream for both of us before proudly presenting mine to me. This is the first time in a year she has independently got food and it demonstrated to me that her executive function capabilities are slowly returning.


After 10 years a spotlight bulb in the hallway stopped working. I fitted a replacement; a more efficient but much brighter LED bulb. The difference in light, in an otherwise gloomy hallway is quite marked, and, without thinking I asked Amanda to take a look. She walked into the hall and looked up. Instantly she stumbled against the wall, momentarily losing her balance.  I realised the sudden bright light had affected her in a similar way to how strobe lighting can induce seizures. Luckily the effect was only limited to mild disorientation and a swimming head. Anti –nausea pills prescribed as a precautionary measure 6 months ago took effect within half an hour.

While sitting recovering, I suggested she practice some spelling using her Ipad app. It’s probably a coincidence but the sudden flash seemed to also give her brain a boost and she whizzed through words like ‘butterflies’ and ‘wheelchair’ much faster than usual.


Yesterday was her 54th birthday.

Last year’s birthday was spent comatose in the ICU in Wellington Hospital. But this year she was taken out for breakfast and then later, we re-instated our annual birthday evening tradition of fish and chips on the beach.

As we sat in the car eating I told her that I didn’t think we would ever do this again, and to me it was a real mark of her recovery so far that she was able to do this. Unfortunately, due to a recent storm,  she was unable to access the beach, but we stood pretty close and agreed that it was teamwork which had got her this far and we would do the same thing, same time next year.

She enjoyed the day, but is paying the price today. More dizzy spells and as I write, this afternoon’s nap is now nearly 3 hours long and counting!







  1. Dear Amanda and Matt.
    I have just read you blog from start to finish. Thank you for sharing it all. I have often asked the children how you are going and prayed numerous times for you and your recovery and I praise God for the way He is healing and restoring you . The fact that the specialists are so impressed with your recovery show me Gods healing. Maybe one day we will meet (and I will bring my colouring books and we can colour together)
    Blessings. Love Fiona


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