EXCLUSIVELY for Sunday National readers, Wee Ginger Dug author Paul Kavanagh provides the latest instalment of his recovery from a severe stroke.

ONE of the more interesting things that you usually must do after you have a massive stroke is having to learn to walk properly again. I was getting by with a sort of shuffle, but in recent days my husband Peter has noticed that I am putting one foot in front of the other – the usual way, as Chic Murray put it – and I definitely have more of a proper walking gait.

It’s part of a general improvement that has continued since I got home over a week ago. There is definitely more movement coming into my left hand, and I am pleased to report that I have improved enough to have been invited onto the research project I previously mentioned.

On Tuesday I went back to the Southern General hospital to be assessed for my suitability for the project which is a joint effort by the Scottish NHS and Glasgow University to develop a therapeutic glove to help stroke survivors who have problems with their hand movements.

You often see people who have survived a stroke who have then developed a sort of a claw hand because the fingers naturally want to curl up and it’s very difficult to extend them.

What the Glasgow experts are trying to do is to develop a glove which has elastic along the back of the fingers that helps you to extend the affected fingers. The glove would be used in conjunction with physiotherapy on your hand.

I have been accepted as part of the project but I am in the control group, meaning I don’t actually get the glove at the moment, though at the end of the project I will get the chance of having some therapy with the glove, and any extra therapy is always welcome. Being part of the control group is important because it means the developers will have a baseline to check whether the glove is effective or not – I am very pleased to be making a contribution and it’s one way of showing my gratitude to the NHS.

READ MORE: ‘I nearly had another stroke’: Someone donates £20k to Paul Kavanagh

Only since last weekend have I been able to get my fingers to point out the way, which is a new sensation and it’s all part of the overall improvement that is coming with lots of therapy and effort – I am noticing myself that I am getting a little bit stronger and feeling a little bit better every day.

The other big development of the week was that Peter and I have bought a house in Maybole in Ayrshire. I had seen it advertised online while I was in hospital and after we learned that Glasgow could be in level 4 lockdown and we would be unable to travel outside the city, we went to view it and liked it immediately.

Peter is also very happy. As an American, he needs to have a barbeque outside and we will have a small garden for it. It’s also big enough for his pinball machine.

Thanks to the very generous people who supported me in my rehab crowdfunder, we could afford it and have some money to convert the house for my needs. We will have a new bathroom and I will have a walk-in bath with a door in it – I really miss my baths because I just can’t cope with getting in and out of a bath at the moment.

The house has a great history. It’s around 200 years old and it was a pub until 1950 called The Debunk Inn but then it was bought by the local Masonic Lodge and turned into their meeting hall – that’s a secret between us, of course.

The people who most recently owned it turned it back into a family home and with conversions to suit me, it will be ideal. I really cannot thank all those supporters enough – you have made a huge difference to our lives, and I am very excited about starting anew in Ayrshire.

The National is supporting Paul Kavanagh through his recovery by commissioning extra articles and offering free advertising for his rehab crowdfunder in the paper. We wish Paul all the best – the independence movement can’t do without him.