Diane’s story

Diane was told it was unlikely she would walk again, but she was determined to prove she could! After months of physio, Diane is now self-caring and walking around her house and Dorothy House with just the aid of a walker. Now, she comes to the Dorothy House gym as an outpatient and sets herself regular goals – all of which she’s so far achieved! We caught up with her (literally) at her regular visit to the Dorothy House Day Patient Unit.

‘When I came out of hospital, I couldn’t even stand. I’d been bed-bound for five weeks, my muscles had wasted and I was in a bit of a sorry state.

I was visited by Dorothy House who arranged for me to have physio twice a week at home and they were marvellous – I was in a wheelchair so they gave me exercises to do from my chair – then, when I could stand – they gave me exercises to do standing at the kitchen sink, bending my knees, squatting and so on.

After six or eight weeks I realised I could do these exercises on my own – so every day I practised. At the time I had a commode downstairs which I didn’t like – it made me feel like an invalid. I was determined to use the bathroom – it was difficult – but I did it. The physios arranged to have grab rails fitted in my downstairs loo, and that was ideal.

I treated it all as a hobby – something to do! It was in winter and the weather was bad so I couldn’t go out. Every morning it was exercise. And you’ve got to want to do it!

I tried to give myself something new to do every week – talked it over with the physio – and I went round the house downstairs on my own – grabbing things like a toddler would do, for balance. One of my biggest thrills was going upstairs. I’ve got a stairlift, and I did have help. Now it’s no problem.

I did it all because I didn’t want to spend my life in a wheelchair – I owe all this to Dorothy House 101% – and it’s not just physio! I’ve got a good friend who takes me to the coffee morning at the Dorothy House outreach centre in Trowbridge coffee morning on a Monday, then I go to the Day Patient Unit at Winsley on a Tuesday. Then I sometimes come to Dorothy House in Winsley on a Thursday afternoon for the gym – I go on the treadmill, I do the bike – I go to Brighton and back in 4 minutes! And I love speaking to people here. Physios no longer come to me at home because I don’t need them. When I asked if I’d be able to walk around without my mobility walker, they said sorry, no. But I thought, how will I ever hang my washing out on the line? So I worked out a way of doing it, and I can bring it in again, – just not on windy days. That’s a step too far.’