Charm has always led a very active life, enjoying swimming and walking our West Coast beaches and was even recognised for her outstanding service to nursing, receiving an NZ Order of Merit on the Queens Honours List in 1998.
Enjoying retirement, it was during a morning walk with her husband Graeme in June 2020 that he noticed her face had drooped and she was slurring her speech, so he took her to Waitakere Hospital, where she suffered two more mini stokes and remained in hospital for two months.
Being hospitalised was very difficult for Charm, particularly after being on the other side of things with a long career in nursing and at one point of her hospital stay, having to navigate the strict minimal visitation protocols in place during a lockdown thanks to the covid pandemic.
After her home was modified with ramps and a stairlift, she was discharged from hospital in a wheelchair and told that the probability of her walking again was very slim and she would most likely need a powerchair.
However, Charm had other plans. She was absolutely determined to walk again.
She recalls vividly the feeling of immense hope that this would be a possibility during her initial assessment here at NCF in September 2020 when Inna had her stand at the wall bar. She felt supported and encouraged.
She started attending a group class here once a week and set a personal goal to walk by Christmas.
Her determination also saw her undertaking other forms of therapy, working with a community physio and attending hydrotherapy classes weekly at Westwave.
She reached her goal, beating her timeframe by a month as she transitioned to a walker THEN onto a walking stick by November 2020!
Now attending two group classes a week, Charm enjoys daily 25-minute walks on the beach with Graeme – without the walking stick!
Even though the stick is gone, she has continued to work towards other goals. Using her affected hand more, she now helps out with more housework. Her next goal is to be able to do her gardening a little easier because crouching is still a bit difficult.
Charm enjoys the social connection with others in class who are also facing similar challenges.
She respects our clinical teams' "fair but firm" approach to push her, the repetition of the exercises and really enjoys the encouragement of the group.
Charm credits her success to not just her hard work and dedication, but also the huge amount of support from her husband and family.
We are thrilled to witness Charm's progress first-hand and hope that sharing part of her story is as inspiring to others as it is to us.