Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Stroke Survival~ The Schedule

I have received numerous e-mails regarding, in essence, time management.The basic question is...how do you do it all?

The simple answer is... I am woman! I'm a wife, mother with an empty nest, writer, advertising specialist if even for my own books, care giver for my terminally ill husband, a stroke survivor doing therapy, a minister while not participating, and a multitasker now impaired.

The stroke I had in May 2012 impaired my mobility on my right side, impaired my cognitive skills, and severely limited everything I once did as a master juggler. I don't call myself the master juggler any more even though it might seem that way. I'm driven, ambitious, and stubborn. That's about the gist of it. I refuse to lay down and die unless I'm not breathing. I refuse to accept I can't.

I have spent weeks and months of the past eight months sitting on the pity pot. Honestly, the sense of mourning what I've lost is part of the healing process. You don't mourn someone unless you loved them. You don't mourn the loss of skills if you didn't possess them and used them. The same is true for me and everyone else on the planet. It's to be expected. While I may spend some more time on the mourning process in days, weeks, and months to come, I've reached the point of being proactive.

Let me break down my day for you and how I manage. I set up early morning routine things like the medicines, clothing, etc the night before within easy reach for first thing in the morning.

5AM- Yep, I do get up at this hour of the morning. I roll over to my night stand and grab the vial of morphine and a syringe, and place them on my right side of my pillow. Grab a alcohol swab and wipe down the bottle. Draw up the pain killer and inject my hubby's rump. I won't have to do this for another 4-6 hours so my time is my own relatively. Do my morning prayers.
5:30- I'll put on my AFO, pants and shoes and toddle off to see to my personal needs- bathing, brushing hair and teeth, and urinating etc.
6:15- I shaved 15 minutes off my morning ablation since I've been home from the hospital. Yeah me! I'll go into the bedroom and check my husband's vital signs. He's so used to this routine he rarely wakes up.
6:30- I'll walk without cane, my balance is so good at this point where I rarely use my cane indoors, to the kitchen grab the milk and a cup of hot tea, and carry them into my office. My hubby pours off covered bowls of cereal and keeps five bowls stacked into the office for me. I'll lay out my morning medicines, all ten of them, and fix my breakfast.
6:45- I'll eat my breakfast and check my e-mails in three accounts. I'll delete all the trash and spams first.
7:30- I'll carry my dirty dish to the bathroom and wash them. I'll check my hubby's vitals again while he's still snoozing.
8:00- I'll load pogo and play the daily challenges. Then I'll make a small pot of tea because I won't be getting up again for at least 20 minutes. I'll hit Bingo Luau first because I've made some cyber-friends there, and then play various games that I keep under favorites for easier access. While I'm playing I'm using my e-stim unit on my ankle and wrist. All in all, I spend about an hour doing this. It allows my muscle relaxers and Lasix to work. I'll also place a heating pad on my shoulder to loosen it up for twenty minutes.
9:00- Check on hubby and give more morphine if needed. Begin my PT and OT exercises. If I'm scheduled for hospital based therapy I might not do this, but I will walk into my game room and ride my air-cycle for a minimum of twenty minutes.
Around 10:00- It depends if I have hospital based therapy. I'll make my husband's coffee, I can't stand the stuff. Make him some muffins in my cake pop maker, and wake him up. I'll power up his computer so all he needs to do is pour himself a cup, and sit down in his office chair.He'll do his nebulizer treatment, inhalers, and other medicines from his pill box I set up weekly. If I'm at therapy the time backs up for an hour or two.
10:30-Bathe, shave and help hubby dress. Get him situated back in the office. Neat trick one-handed.
Noon- Lunch time. Either we go out to lunch, have lunch with the girls, or I make a salad, canned soup, or a sandwich. I'll take one of my muscle relaxers, I'm supposed to take four times a day. I'll clean up and start to write.
2:00- time for another PT/OT routine.
3:00- Nap time in braces. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
4:00- Will play three games of Poppit on pogo to wake my mind up.
4:15- Will write or research. May surf Books and Writer's Forum, and check e-mail.
4:30- Prepare dinner. On the menu tonight is herb roasted chicken breast, baked sweet potatoes, mustard greens seasoned with smoke turkey wings, and fresh baked apple turnovers. Aren't you jealous? But the beauty of this menu is that it's so simple. I can hear you now, apple turnovers are simple? Yep, when made with stewed apples, crescent rolls, and my handy dandy cake pop maker. The apples are easy enough to cut up with a fork. I can cut the crescent dough into circles for the crust. Dust them with blended Splenda and rice flour while they are hot. Yummy! I will say 1 chicken breast will feed both of us.
By 6:15 meal is finished, dishes done, medications are taken/administered etc and time for me to relax. I'll watch a movie via Netflix or some television time.
8:00- Will write some more, or look over some else's writing, read blogs, pre-write my blogs for the coming week, or check e-mails. I'll do another round of PT/OT exercises and e-stim and brace time.
10:00- My final medicines and husband's morphine. He'll stay up for a little while longer or doze in front of his computer. I'll monitor his vitals.

10:30- Arrange things for early morning, say my evening prayers, and go to bed.
2:00 sometimes,  I'll remedicate my hubby and get him into bed...mainly just involves waking him up enough to pile into bed with me.

Any schedule has to have wiggle room. Mine is no exception.

  • Now if there are doctor appointments and shopping that needs to be done, I'll forgo my afternoon nap. This tends to make me cranky and feeling exhausted. 
  • If my grandchildren are at the house all schedules are skewed a bit besides medicines.
  • My writing time may be longer or shorter, or no existent depending on what's going on.
  • Emergencies like the power going off and my hubby stopping breathing changes everything.
I find scheduling out routine activities helps to keep me on track. With my forgetful nature since the stroke, having a schedule helps break up the day and keeps me on task. I never believed in them before, but now I'm sold.

Each day I try to accomplish sometime new and break up the routine of my exercises and stretches. I'll hoop and holler when I get even an inch more than the previous day. I'll drive around the neighborhood to gain confidence. I do the Snoopy dance of happiness even if it is one sided or mentally.

Of all the things I've lost, I miss my brain the most. For me, playing games on pogo is therapy for my cognitive functions. I'll list them including why I play particular games.
  • Bingo Luau for number recognition
  • Scrabble or QWERTY for spelling
  • Hangman Hijinks for spelling within a narrower field
  • Tri Peaks Solitaire for sequencing
  • Bejeweled 3 for combination
  • Mahjong Safari for matching/memory
  • Poppit for analytical thinking and strategy
It mainly may be fun and games for most people, but for me it's helping to regain my brain power. My husband and I agreed to subscribe to pogo each year as part of our anniversary present to each other. Since my stroke, it's been worth it.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.


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