Paul’s family’s thanks for the unit that helped him after stroke

Emily and Paul Draper.

Emily and Paul Draper. - Credit: Archant

The family of a Norwich stroke victim has returned to the NHS rehabilitation unit which treated him to present a cheque for £1,800, raised as a thank you for giving him his life back.

After suffering a massive stroke three years ago, Paul Draper, 40, spent four months receiving physical and cognitive rehabilitation at Caroline House, Colman Hospital, run by Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust.

Thanks to the fundraising efforts of his wife, Emily, and sister in-law Rebecca Forster, a clubbercise instructor, the family raised the money by holding a special Clubberthon night at their local village hall.

Mr Draper, from Hethersett, said: 'The day it happened, I had a really bad headache and asked Emily for some paracetamol. I can't remember anything after that.'

She said: 'He asked me for some painkillers and a drink and as he went to swallow them, the water just poured out the side of his mouth, so I knew something was very wrong.'

After spending 10 days in a coma, he woke up in Addenbrooke's Hospital, and was later transferred to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where his blood pressure, the cause of his stroke, was stabilised.

He was then moved to Caroline House.

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Based on Unthank Road, Caroline House is an inpatient unit for people with complex neurological conditions.

It provides specially tailored care for patients, delivered by a multidisciplinary team which includes doctors, rehabilitation nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, and psychologists.

He spent four months undergoing intensive rehab, including physiotherapy and cognitive classes to retrain his brain.

He said: 'It was like being back in school. I didn't see the point in it at the time, but now I can see exactly why they do what they do.

'There were times when I just sat there and cried as I never thought it was going to get any better, so to be able to drive back and walk through the door to present this cheque feels amazing.'

Mary Page, ward manager at Caroline House said: 'Paul really is an inspiration and we would like to thank him and his family very much for raising this wonderful amount.'

Mr Draper added: 'When I had my stroke, we had just got engaged and had set a date for our wedding, which we stuck to. It was my goal for getting better.

Next year we plan to renew our vows and I'll be able to walk down the aisle with Emily this time. That will mean the world to me.'