A Stroke Survivor’s Trip to London


Not a big step for humankind but a big step for me.

Two days back I traveled to London and returned safely. This was the first time since my stroke.

My low vision counsellor considers me a kind of pin-up for visual rehabilitation. She puts this down to courage and strength of character. But I’ve explained to her that in truth I’m a big species of coward. I just got lucky this time. Conquering a certain amount of vision loss is something I was emotionally equipped for. I already had some idea about the available technologies and it seemed to me as a problem to be solved, hard, but I work as problem solver anyway.

Still I have had a secret in my heart, known only to one or two people. I can read and talk and work and reason pretty well the same as before the stroke. And I can walk round the neighborhood I live in just fine. And I can travel by rail to towns close by. But I felt real scared of going very far.

This was simply loss of confidence. It’s very common after stroke though. You think “Suppose something goes wrong when I am a long way from home and I can’t get back and I just die alone and exhausted in a station waiting room somewhere?” When you are faced with a sudden loss of capacity, such as following a stroke, the boundaries between “can do” and “can’t do” are suddenly blurred. You never felt this before and it’s not rational but it still makes you timid about travel.

But I had to do it and I did and should have before. Perhaps I wasn’t ready. Anyhow I feel I’ve recovered all my confidence suddenly and can be an independent traveler again.

I am just mildly disabled. Think how many people there are for whom travel must be close to impossible. That’s why I take my hat off to everyone who tries in any way to make it more reassuring, such as TFL.


About partialinsight

One evening I had a stroke. Half my sight vanished overnight. Adapting made me grasp how amazing the visual system and brain are. It also taught me to understand disability completely differently and I'm grateful for the lesson.
This entry was posted in Assistive technology, Blindness and visual impairment, Stroke, Disability, Cognition and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Stroke Survivor’s Trip to London

  1. Stephanie says:

    Well done 😉 yes it takes a while to get confident enough to do things we used to do, because we are much more conscious of our weaknesses then before I think. But it does come back. New ‘first times’ are big steps toward getting back on our feet. It does take courage, your counsellor is right 🙂

    • Thanks for the kind response Stephanie!

      Next week I have an even bigger challenge: I have a change of trains and a longer journey. Still a bit scared but I’ll be OK!


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