After suffering a mini stroke, retired West Midlands firefighter Paul Fallon contacted the Charity to see if we could aid his recovery and help him get back on track. Following a week at Harcombe House, his confidence has soared.

Last year, Paul Fallon, who served 31 years within West Midlands Fire Service, suffered a transient ischaemic attack, a temporary block of a cerebral artery that reduces blood flow to the brain.

Here, he explains how this impacted his life and how the support he received from the Charity aided his recovery and rebuilt his confidence:

“It slowed me down when it happened and I wasn’t able to drive for the first month, which made quite an impact because I get out a lot. I felt generally more fatigued and it knocked my confidence in certain situations.

“When you go through an event like that it makes you a bit more cautious about not wanting to go through it again. Most things that I would normally do without thinking caused me to give some additional thought as to whether what I was doing was safe for me.

“For example, places where you go walking in an isolated location, I wouldn’t have worried before if I didn’t have my mobile phone in my pocket. These days I make sure I have a phone with me so I can contact somebody if something goes wrong. Just stepping out of the house again was an incredibly difficult thing because I was leaving a secure place where I felt comfortable.

“I’m normally a confident person but it’s surprising the little things that can bring on a bit of anxiety when you’ve been through that sort of incident. They’re silly things but they’re big hurdles to get across when you first confront them.”

One of Paul’s friends suggested contacting the Charity to see if we could offer any support with his rehabilitation and recovery, so Paul got in touch and was offered the health and well-being programme.

“Here I knew I had confidence in a team of professionals who could guide me through an appropriate level of exercise and training that wouldn’t compromise my future health and I’ve got to say over the week that they have been great at achieving that.

“The team’s support here has been enormous, I’ve received a little bit of psychological support from one of the specialists, a lot of support from the physiotherapists and physical trainers in the pool, gym, and out on walks, and we’ve also received talks on lifestyle issues and additional information that we can draw on at home.

“I’ve been really impressed by the programme, you can work at your own pace but there’s plenty to go at. One of the things that’s really encouraging is that there’s eight of us and we’ve all been given a personalised programme, so it’s all been completely tailored which has really worked nicely.

“I’ve got a problem with my back which is completely unrelated to the incident that brought me here, but over the course of the week the team have addressed this for me and I’ve managed to improve my flexibility and my balance.

“My week here at Harcombe with the team has helped rebuild my confidence and assisted my ongoing recovery to get me back to full strength.

“If you find you suffer an incident or if a family member is potentially in need of some support that the Charity can provide, call the number and they’ll tell you if they can help.”

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