"I sometimes had to grit my teeth".

Patient report: Stroke

Mohamed Ugla´s rapid progress in rehabilitation

"The human element between the patient and his environment is incredibly important".


Stroke is not a unique disease; the generic term "stroke", also called apoplexy or brain insult, is used for a multitude of different diseases that require different causes and thus also different therapies. Depending on the cause, doctors speak more precisely of a "cerebral infarction" if the stroke was caused by a lack of blood supply to the brain or of a "cerebral haemorrhage" if it was caused by blood leaking into the brain tissue. Almost 270.000 strokes occur in Germany every year, about 200.000 of which are first-time strokes.

Dr. Mohamed Ugla is originally from Syria and worked as an internist in Germany until his retirement in 2004. As an avid sportsman, he frequently goes Nordic walking, horseback riding, cycling, plays tennis, and goes skiing in the mountains. He also regularly travels all over the world. At the beginning of August, he suddenly develops weakness in his left arm and leg in the morning and is taken to the intensive care unit of a university hospital. Diagnosis: stroke. He begins rehabilitation with an almost completely paralysed left side of his body. But what he achieves in the few weeks of therapy is described even by the doctor as a miracle.

"I can't remember my stroke, I only know what my wife tells me. But everything else very well. Shortly before I was discharged from the university hospital, I asked a doctor how good my chances were of being able to walk again and do my sports. He answered that small improvements were possible, but that I should not hope for relevant progress. Not relevant - that was devastating. When I came to Kliniken Schmieder in Allensbach, I was dejected. But already on the second day I realised that inside I was not resigned to what the doctor had said. I thought to myself, I have a young, pretty wife and I want to enjoy the later phase in my life, be active, and travel in the winter to the summer. So I used all my inner energy and started fighting.

And everyone in the clinic helped me: the nurses, the therapists, the doctors, and also my ward manager. For example, he came to me one morning to help me take a shower, where I always sat. He said to me that today we were showering standing up and I replied that I couldn't do that yet. "I bet you can!" he then said to me and so I showered standing up again for the first time. But that was not enough for him. He said that I should still go to the door. Again I said that would be impossible. Then he said, "Before you fall, I will have caught you ten times." So I started walking. All the way to the door. That was unbelievable and like a miracle even for me. From then on, he came to me every morning, even off-duty, and practised with me. He made sure that I did not stoop, but walked upright. That's how he made a young man out of me again!

The human touch between the patient and his environment is incredibly important and you can just feel it, who really wants to help you. I have been to many clinics in my life and there were also nice people, but I have never experienced anything as good as the staff here. Professionally and also humanly.

During the weeks of therapy, the most important thing was to use my inner will in a targeted way, to accept the treatments, and to follow the whole therapy consistently. Sometimes I had to grit my teeth when one or the other pain threshold was reached, but you have to endure that in order to move forward and I never gave up. And this clinic really helped me a lot.

Before I really started running, one day I wanted to go down to the village with my wife. So we walked there together and back again. In the evening, a doctor asked me what I had done during the day and I answered that I had been to Allensbach. "By taxi or bus?" he asked. "On foot," I said, and the doctor could hardly believe it. I am very ambitious, pathologically ambitious even, when I want something, I achieve it.

In the Arab world, they say that if someone has a stroke, they don't even need to be treated. They say it's hopeless anyway. I am proof that this is nonsense.

Driven by the successes, within a few weeks I learned to climb stairs again, to take a shower, to move my left arm and hand again. It's still not like before, but I won't let up and will continue to work consistently as an outpatient over the next few months. And that's until I'm back at 100 percent. I won't stop until it's back to the way it used to be."

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