My stroke changed everything about my life

June 02, 2021
By Colin Hills  

It’s been almost two years since I had a stroke and I can honestly say it has changed everything about my life.  

I had to give up my business, which I created from the ground up and ran for 33 years. It was my greatest hobby and enjoyment. I also had to surrender my motorbike and drivers’ licenses and I am no longer able to repair motor bikes and renovate caravans.  

I walk with a stick to support myself. I have a left side deficit and my arm and hand are still not responding, but I am truly grateful to be alive. I'm determined to keep working hard in my recovery and get my arm moving. I challenge myself every day to be the best I can be. 

I am now 68 years old and I am celebrating my 44th wedding anniversary with my wonderful wife Bronwyn. She is my greatest support and has been by my side through every step on my stroke journey. 

Looking back now, I have come a long way. My stroke happened on November 25, 2019. I was at home between jobs having lunch. I walked out of my back door to attend my next job when I collapsed. I was on the ground and didn’t know what had happened to me. I was alone and it was more than three hours before I was found. 

After my stroke, I was in intensive care for three days before moving on to the stroke ward. I was in hospital for another three weeks before being medically stable enough to be moved to a rehab centre. 

I was fortunate to have worked with an incredibly dedicated team of physios and occupational therapists in rehabilitation. When I first arrived, I needed a bag to lift me out of bed, but I made steady progress and was able to walk within three months. It was the most difficult thing I have endured in my entire life, but the knowledge and encouragement of the staff gave me the strength to keep trying.   

When it was time to leave the centre, it was actually quite difficult because the staff had become a huge part of my everyday life. I was fortunate to receive an intensive program at home for three months afterwards which helped me continue my recovery.  

It saddens me to hear the rehabilitation centre I attended is closing. During my time there I socialised with other stroke survivors and made many friends in the gardens with my children and grandchildren around me. There will never be another place like it. 

Colin holding a present and smiling