Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Time, Energy, and Talent

A year in retrospect and focusing forward...

Last year at this time, three steps was exhausting and had to take a nap afterwards. I was unable to walk, barely able to stand, learning how to speak, finding proper words, and wanted to sleep all the time, but I couldn't because my physical terrorists made me move...not to mention crying nonstop.

Today, I can do most of what I need to do with only one or two one-hour long naps during the day. Blessed be the Magical Spot in the center when I'm most productive...usually the first two hours upon rising from sleep. Being able to recognize this time and energy relationship is a godsend.

I can plan around it daily for actually accomplishing things. All the major physical things that have to be done in all our daily lives which take the most energy like bathing, cooking, gardening, and shopping is done during this time.

If you haven't had the turmoil of recovering from a stroke, then think of it as running a 125K marathon and how you feel afterwards. That bone tired, exhausted state where even the thought of taking one more step is impossible and it takes every fiber of your being to do it. It helps to schedule your time to figure out when this will happen and work with it.

All the nonphysical is moved to the hours in between that only takes mental power like writing and playing games as my energy level peters out before sleep. Not a moment is wasted. Even if it is only watching television, the brain is functioning on so many levels with eye movement, listening and decoding words. That goes with just listening to an audiobook or radio also, but your brain is working.

Why is "talent" in the circle? Because learning to do with paralyzed or hemi-paralyzed (I can't remember the proper term for this) body that's thinking outside the box to figure out how to function. That in itself is exhausting. I mentioned last week about what I have to go through with each step I take. This goes on with anything I do with my stroke affected side.

But the important thing is I do! 

I drive albeit rarely by myself and with adaptive equipment. I have a steering knob and since the hinge has been put in my AFO and my dorsiflex has somewhat returned, with my right foot.

Although I do drive with both feet to save confusion. My left foot deals with the brake instead of me trying to reposition my AFO clad foot. Similar to driving a clutch transmission, but considering I was doing all of the driving with my left foot only, braking in smoother.

I write albeit not without difficulty. I may write 600 to 1200 words per week towards my book, which is a big improvement over not being able to write. Some words are even ingrained in my memory now and no longer misspell them. Nuances of grammar are coming back to me with nocturnal visits from Abby (my Abby Normal subconscious brain in sleep). Now there's Jack too (my Jack of all trades side) doing weddings. You gotta love the subconscious brain. I've still got a long way to go and may never be the editor or minister I once was. It will get done.

Yes, I finally broke down & bought one.
I cook and bake albeit one handed and some things are beyond me right now. I'm experimenting more in the kitchen. No, I won't be decorating elaborate wedding cakes again any time soon, but realized that I didn't need to.

With my garden producing corn, squashes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans it was just easier to buy one of these new fangled, adaptive cutting boards with all of its bells and whistles. My royalty money put to good use. It's even a tax deduction too. I've proven to myself I can do without it. It was time. My expectations of getting my arm and hand back to full use by now was unrealized. That's not to say my expectations are fruitless just not realized at this point in time. I am going to still work towards that goal.

So its the simplified life of juggling time, energy, and talent to help me achieve my new sense of normalcy. Thanks to many encouraging blogs, comments, and emails, I realize my life is just beginning again. A year post stroke in recovery. I may not be as good as I once was, but I'll be as good as I can be for the given point in time.

I've gained acceptance over things I cannot change right now, but strive for a better tomorrow. The past is the past and cannot change. The only thing I can do is look at today and try to make it better than yesterday, but not as good as tomorrow. Tomorrow will bring new challenges to face and is never the same as today because it is now the past. I may not get the restored energy I had before my stroke but working around my time, energy, and talent constraints help me work towards goals.

Nothing is impossible with determination.


  1. I like that cutting board! Your determination amazed me as always, Jo.

  2. Zan Marie thanks! The cutting board allows me to do some more things easier but no where near as much as I could with two working hands and a simple knife. It will suffice for now.

  3. What's that saying? Work smarter, not harder. Sounds like that's what you're doing! :)

  4. Yes Lara, That's what I'm saying but in my case stubbornness reigns supreme. I have to prove to myself I am capable before I make it easier on myself. Otherwise it is too much like giving up.

    With my energy limitations I choose my battles and when to fight them.

  5. Being nine years post stroke I can say the fatigues slowly gets better. I have the same cutting board and love it. Chopped vegetables, like onions and green peppers, add flavor to my diet without using so much salt. Yum. I like your analogy of choosing your battles.


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