Yes, we've had a stroke, or related to someone whose had a stroke. But right now I'm talking to the survivor. Yes, you may be disabled permanently. Yes, you can't do all you used to do. Now, wait a minute is that entirely true?
Many people bemoan the fact of what they can't do. I say you aren't trying hard enough. I'm not wheelchair bound because I fought my way out of it. Even if I were, it wouldn't entirely stop me from doing what I have and want to do. Can you guess I'm stubborn? Yes, that's true enough. I don't lay down and just take anything.
Many readers read my blog and say I'm inspiring. My progress, what I can do, and achievements are awesome. But the fact is, I'm handicapped by a half not working body too.I struggle against clonus tremors which may cause my leg to buckle. I have PBA, and cry when I should be laughing, burst out in anger for no reason, and laugh instead of cry (inappropriate emotions). I have constant spasticity to the point where it stops me from walking or have the ability to straighten my arm. I have aphasia and have difficulty finding the correct words. At times, I still have difficulty uttering a single word. None of that has changed in the past seven years. I also get set back to square one with repeated strokes and have to fight my way back again. Each time, I regain a little less. All my strokes have been basal ganglian ischemic and self rectifying, small hemorrhagic in nature.
I don't say this for self pity. I'm just stating facts. It's what I face each and every day of living post stroke. Sure, I tell you the "rosy" side and what I've conquered this week. How I achieve certain things to do. Several other stroke survivor blogs that I read do the same thing. Why? Because we feel it might help someone else who may be facing the same thing. We choose to inspire "CAN DO" attitudes. All other stroke survivors have to do is try. Will you succeed the first time? Probably not. But keep on truckin' and keep trying. As a child, how many times did you try to tie your own shoes? How did it make you feel? The word is self empowered. It was something you could do for yourself and nobody had to do for you ever again. Well, not never again. A stroke has set you back some.
My shorts that I wore after my first stroke had a tie in the front of them. This was after I progressed back to them from men's boxers. I sat on the toilet trying to tie the ties. Finally, I figured it out. I proudly went out to show my husband. After his beaming praises and his generally cheerleading, he untied my shorts. "Now, do it again."
After I did it, I looked at him for praises. He did and untied it again. "Do again." After I retied the shorts a third time he asked, "You got it?" I nodded. He didn't do this to be mean. He knew that repetition was the key to learning and having it stick. Now, I can't tell you how many times I tried to tie my shorts and didn't have positive results, but I did figure out a way for me to tie my shorts with them on my body with one functioning hand. I still haven't forgotten. My point is this, I knew what I wanted to do and I didn't give up trying.
Some things I try and after I achieve the ability or relearn, I'll allow others to do it. When I first started writing this stroke blog, I mentioned that using hedge trimmers was impossible one handed. But, I hadn't tried to figure it out. Not to let anything daunt me, I figured it out. I can use hedge shears. It's clumsy and looks really weird watching me do it, but the point is I figured it out. But, I'll allow someone else do it for me. I can lift a 50# bale of hay or feed, but only if I have to. Mel and I moved two rounds of straw off her truck bed when we started the orchard because we had to and there was no one around to help. Each of these bales weighed 700#! Both of us were exhausted when we finished putting them where they needed to be. But we did it. After that fiasco, we settled for the more expensive 50# bales the next two years. They are more both of our speed. Lesson learned. Some things are just fool hardy. This was an example of one. I'll do something once, if it's not necessary, just to prove I can or in this case, we can.
If I didn't try, I never would do most of the things I used to do. Or, even want to do. Just because I'm disabled doesn't mean I'm worthless. I just figure out a way around obstacles and do it. Now there's some things I can't do with my left hand that I can do with my right. I'm definitely a right hand dominant individual with my creativity. I lack a lot of dexterity in my left hand for fine detail like drawing. I can barely write legibly with my left hand. It has to do with damage I've done to the hand over the decades. For example, my left thumb and wrist. It has been crushed, repeatedly fractured, cut to almost being severed so the resulting permanent damage and from the repairs has left it with only limited function. The rest of the hand has suffered similar abuse to where it is only half functioning. Does that stop me. No, it's a hindrance and inconvenience. It's my one functioning hand so I work around the problems to keep on truckin'.
Well, I've put off folding my laundry long enough. I really dislike folding laundry. I disliked it long before I had my strokes. UGH! It's sitting in the basket waiting on me. I better get to it and keep on truckin'.
Nothing is impossible.