Stroke no match for loving couple

IT'S hard to avoid cliches when writing about Annette and Terry Taylor.

She beams when she's with him; his face lights up when he sees her, and together they're tactile and giddy as a new couple.

The Somerset pair has learnt to take nothing for granted over the past 10 years of their marriage, enduring unrelenting illness, rehabilitation and separation.

Mr Taylor, a former accountant, was given little chance of a meaningful life when he had a severe stroke nine years ago.

But Mrs Taylor said she wouldn't accept the popular medical view that he was too damaged for rehabilitation.

She starting improvising her own program before Mr Taylor had even woken from his coma, determined that he would walk, talk, and move his body again.

And so he did.

"Once he was moving initially, they really started to work on him with physios, and there was the intensive care specialist who really fought hard for him to get into rehab," Mrs Taylor said.

When his publicly-funded rehabilitation ended, Mrs Taylor took over again, taking him to a gym and a physical trainer, and later working with a physiotherapist.

Mrs Taylor said she also introduced cross-crawling exercises, Lego building, bingo, dominoes, jigsaw puzzles and number-recognition activities.

She said the program had seen Mr Taylor regain his ability to speak clearly, think for himself, regain movement in his limbs and reclaim some of the mathematical knowledge he mastered as an accountant.

"Terry was assessed by a neuropsychologist who stated that he would not progress any further. Terry has come a long way since then," Mrs Taylor said.

She said the first thing he said to her after his stroke was "thank you for helping me".

"Since then his speech at times was jumbled. It was the hardest thing for me to cope with because I couldn't understand him," she said.

When Mrs Taylor started having her own health problems, her husband had to move to a nursing home at Wynyard.

"I'm very happy with that because they let me do what I want with him. I go there every day, and I walk him every day," Mrs Taylor said.

She said he suffered a serious setback last year, when a series of bladder infections almost killed him.

"Since then, I guess he's still getting over that a bit and he's getting stronger, and he is starting to walk again, starting to do the boxing again and getting involved with games and things like that," Mrs Taylor said.

She said many people had believed Mr Taylor was beyond help, but he was proof that it was possible and worthwhile to rehabilitate someone disabled by a stroke.

As for Mr Taylor, he had just one thing to say.

"She is beautiful ... she is the reason," he said.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop