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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Re-reading books and magazines

I found a magazine when I was cleaning up yesterday on "how to stop procrastinating".  I know I read this article when the magazine first came in the house but thanks to some short term memory issues I can read it again since I don't recall a bit of it.  I spend alot of money at the my local bookstore... maybe this will save me some bucks since I can just reread the books!   In a week,  I go to a new PT/OT/speech therapist to get tested for my memory, movement and speech. I imagine she will find other things to work on, too.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

One year anniversary.

One year ago I had a stroke. Soon after I went into my doctors office (if you are in Seattle and need an excellent neurologist -- send me an email). Unable to walk straight, unable to stay awake and alert for more than a couple hours, overwhelmingly terrified with how my future had just changed... my doc cleared boxes off an exam table (he had just moved into a new office), told me I wasn't on the right meds (given to me a week before by the hospital), told me they had misdiagnosed my type of stroke (nerds), and then looked me in the eye and said " In one year you won't even know this happened." Meaning that I would have no visible outward remnants of part of my brain being dead. I remember thinking he WAS NUTS... but he wasn't. Today I am close to how I was pre-stroke. Other than I weigh less, have a bit of short term memory spaciness, my muscle mass is different, I say things "differently" at times, and am on cursed cursed prescription drugs. But who's to say I wouldn't be a little ditzy and tongue-tied at this point anyway?
There always will be the life shift that happened on that day. I went from being in control of everything... farm, kids, finances, future -- to being in charge of not hitting the door jamb with the left side of my body when I stumbled unevenly through a door. I learned to accept help from others. My way of looking at life, disability, and independence took a tumble toward the real. You know, that we are not actually in control? I am very good at ignoring the unpleasant. Probably why I can own an old house... I can just merrily trudge through my home repair to-do list as an oblivious optimist. I read sometimes that when people survive something drastic they change their look on life. ( I have Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying, " going through my head right now). I thought all these life changing thoughts for about nine months and then realized : I wouldn't do anything different. This is the life I would lead if I knew I was going to die in a year. All the mistakes I've made, all the successes, my failed marriage... I wouldn't do it differently. I've got great kids, love where we live, have always had jobs that were ones I picked for interest and luckily supported me. I have not solved any world issues. I don't know how to stop young men from taking guns and harming strangers. I have not found the cure for cancer. But I have lived, gave friends hugs, had long conversations with my ma, laughed until I peed my pants (wait, should I be typin' that?), watched my kids grow with pride and love. I guess I don't record what is important to me anymore as the accomplishments that list my resume, and I used to. That is not what I will take to my grave, and that is certainly not what I thought of when I was in the hospital waiting for my stroke to do its damage.
Best to you all.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Brain Attack

There was a radiolab show titled When Brains Attack on the NPR station last night.  I felt for sure they would have a stroke story on there and listened... but no. They were brain attacks from everything but strokes... a bad side effect from a prescription drug, a car accident brain damage and a seizure from a tumor. When the medical profession decided to work the "brain attack" into the stroke lexicon, so the public would be more aware of the urgency then shouldn't the media carry this torch onward? It would have been very easy to add a stroke story to that line up... I know I have read a few of your stories that would be great on a radio program!
Link to the RadioLab program here...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Not Accepting Everything

So I am almost to the point of looking for a position that more fits my training.  My concern is I could be a bit delusional that I can still produce the same quality of work as pre-stroke. I just don't know.  I know when I started my garden job that absolute crazy feeling in my head when my boss gave me run on instructions as in : Do This, Do That, Move This, Look for This, etc etc.  I could feel my brain actually scrambling and freezing and locking... it did not know (or that part of my brain is "gone") where to put a series of quick instructions-- so it would just go blank and not remember any of them.  My short term storage has been impacted, and it feels as though it has been misplaced.   It is very wierd being in my head when it is missing something.  You ever have that?  It's like there is some sort of memory of what was, what I could do, but there is no way to touch it. I have a memory of being very competent and accomplished, but I feel kinda bumbling and floaty sometimes.  I also cannot trust my "gut" as much, as I have discovered errors in my instincts--and I am a very "gut instinct" person!    With work over 3 months my memory has changed & improved so that I actually can remember a string of instructions (at least the first 3 or 4).   Last week I made a appointment with an occupational/speech therapist to work on memory.  I also notice the muscles on the left side of my body have a different consistency than others.  They are always very flaccid-loose-relaxed as if I just had a year long massage and they are jelly.   I am not really complaining, just noticing.  Pre-stroke I always loved learning new things, and new ways to see things.  I thank the lovely heavens that my  appreciation of the diverse ways we can navigate through a life is not diminished.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Accepting fate

I don't know if this is a form of submission (which I am not very good at) but there have been some medical things of late that I realize I am much calmer about.  Hospital visits, TIA's, more tests... it is just one big continuum of my life, and may change how I navigate it.  More crucially, how I envision my future.  There has always been a vision for the rest of my life: farm, animals, watching the kids go off and lead their own lives, working.  The hardest thing right after the stroke was the threat of loss.  First and foremost the kids, but then the lifestyle and freedom.  After a year that frantic fear of loss is calmer.  It is not gone, but holy crap there is not alot about this that is within my control --and it never has been.  So I will mosey along down my life trail, try not to get too grumpy at the kids, try to be generous with myself.  Sometimes I think the stroke is not such a bad thing... since I do not push myself as I once did.  I cannot pile on a monster to-do list that keeps me going from morning 'til after dinner.  I am better at low key, I have limits, I can say no.  I think the stroke gave me the ability to accept limitations.  And also, since I had one, it is not like I have a choice of preference of stroke or no stroke.  For my mental health, I can look at what doors it has opened rather than the ones it has shut-- that is not always an easy thing for me to embrace-- but it is, for me, very important. 
On a funny note.  I took an online medical test on the chances of stroke for my age, health, activity level. (without previously having the stroke)  It was 2%. I was laughing with my daughter that it figures, I always have to do opposite of what everyone else does.  If 98% of the people are not going to have a stroke, then dangit, I was going to be one of the 2%!  OK, not really funny, but I am still trying to make sense of something nonsensical.