Life After A Stroke … It’s the Little things

I don’t believe people truly think about handling every day menial tasks. I know I never did before the stroke. One never thinks about the muscles it takes to spread the fingers of a hand or lift a foot from the floor. It was second nature before this. Now, it takes considerable conscious effort to do things as simple as place my hand on the keyboard. 

When I was first hospitalized, I was asked to do things like touch my nose with my finger then take that finger and touch the finger of a doctor not even a foot away from me. A pretty simple task, right? It was one of the first of many times I bawled like a baby while in the hospital. Watching my drifting, shaky left hand move from my side to my nose then to the doctor’s finger and back was one of the most difficult moments of many while I was being cared for during those three weeks. Knowing how easy it had been on prior occassions and how smoothly my right sailed through the air practically crushed me.

I was told many times how much better things may possibly get and they were happy to see that I had any motor function at all. Being an independent, single woman who has taken care of herself most of her life those weren’t words I wanted to hear at the time. Having someone assist me to the bathroom or knowing I had to wait for someone to be in the room with me while I dressed or shifted from bed to chair was a struggle.

By the time it was time for me to be discharged, I worried about everything. Knowing I had to walk with a walker and a brace on my foot scared me. The fact that short walks fatigued me and standing for even twenty minutes tired me out to the point where I had to rest for just as long concerned me.

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I was reminded how far I’d come. Those little things reared their head and strengthened me. They also spurred me on. Being able to walk from one room to another with no one watching or assisting  me,  preparing and taking my own medicine, with some effort being able to put my hair into a ponytail (one of the only ways I currently wear it), being able to squeeze a foam ball or play with Play Doh, having almost one hundred percent clear speech were all things I needed to celebrate being free to do.

Am I currently completely independent? No. I can celebrate what I can do and not dwell on what I can’t do. I’ve been fortunate enough to run into some caring individuals who have been willing to lift things for me when I need them lifted or aid me with carrying some things. They are not always there, but I’m grateful for when they are.

*Rose*

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My Life … Dealing with a stroke

Exhausted. Fatigued.

Words I knew of, utilized even but never thought I would be as familiar with them as I have become. There are moments I want to scream out in frustration due to the fact that these two words are such a presence in my life.

It’s not something I ever believed I’d have to personally deal with. It’s an ache in my heart knowing I don’t have the energy I had just a few short weeks ago. What a difference a few days make?

My life and partial livelihood rests in my hands. What do you do, how do you react when one part of your body doesn’t want to work for you?

I am fortunate because I will be able to work to regain my strength. This I know. It doesn’t stop me from feeling the pain and frustration of not having full use of the left side of my body.

Writing is a process. I feel how much more the right side of my body is working. I am also grateful this happened to the left side of my body and not my right dominant side. 

Everything in time. You have to be patient. 

Those are statements I’ve heard a great deal over the last few weeks. It doesn’t stop the tears from falling when I strain to lift my left hand. It also doesn’t ease the silent scream that wants to tear from my throat when I am unable to lift my left foot a few inches from the ground. 

A simple quarter-mile loop feels like I’ve run five miles. I  tire much faster than I can ever remember doing so. I believe that scares me the most. I’m supposed to be a functional adult human being in the prime of my life. Feeling as fatigued as I have been has negated that previous statement. The little things are kicking my tail and it frightens the crap out of me. 

I’ve studied strokes and traumatic brain injuries for my degree. It’s a totally different situation when you are on the other side of it all.  

I’m a fighter. I do battle daily. I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t afraid. The thing about me is I’m not allowing that fear to rule me and keep me down.  

Thank you for reading. 

Rose S. 

Dr. Pons

One of the things that kept a smile on my face!