Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Walking Post Stroke

Happy Father's Day to all you fathers out there and Mom's playing both parts.

Today a video with a twist. At least my take on it...
I want you to notice and keep in mind a few things while watching this video so you might have to watch it twice.
  • Walking post stroke is like this cat wearing shoes.
  • The everyday non survivors is depicted by the Yorkie whizzing by the camera. He's busy going about his life with momentary pauses while he checks on the welfare of the cat.
  • Of all the videos I watched about walking, this one best exemplifies what walking is like post stroke to me.
  • The cat's movements take on an almost fluid motion when he reaches the door. It is the same for recovering stroke survivors...with practice our movements become more fluid as our brains rewire and it can takes years.

 
(standard youtube license)
Unless you are recovering from a stroke or recovered from a stroke, you don't understand the thought that goes into each step you take. While you may get a chuckle or two from the video, you feel for the cat attempting to walk. There are other diseases that can relate but here I'm talking about stroke recovery.

  • When people zip by me in their normal everyday hustle, I want to shout, "Hey, I'm walking here!" In my best Bronx, NY accent. Both in jubilation and in irritation.
  • When old friends see me now with pity in their eyes, my response, "At least I'm upright on three legs. That's better than I was a year ago on wheels and a walker."
  • When my DH (darling hubby) utters the same phrase for the umpteenth time of, "Take your time. We're in no hurry." I want to yell back, "I'm at top speed. I'm not going any faster." No, I don't say it, but I'm thinking it very loudly.
  • When people watch me walk my mind yells back at them, "Give me a break! I've only been walking a year."

I have to squeeze my butt muscle to engage my hamstring to lift my leg and bend the knee to take a step. Then in reverse, I have to relax the gluteal muscle slowly to disengage my hamstring, straightening the leg, after the step so my foot doesn't fall straight down to the floor with a thud.  That's a focused effort with each and every  step I take with my right leg.

Similar to the engage brain before speaking, I have to engage my brain before taking a step. Yes, there is a pause between my steps with my right leg if I have to measure things like rugs, level transitions, and steps up and down because that's a skilled motion.

I don't need a balancing tool (cane) to walk on even surfaces. Yes,while on level surfaces such as linoleum or hard wood floors, I can manage a fairly normal gait with feet extending past the midline in secession, but it still takes concentration. Eventually, the neural connections in my brain will rewire and the steps will become automatic again. I walk with a cane for additional balance and it's not the cute little walk that Charlie Chaplain did. I know quite a few of you are scratching your head going, "Who?" So I'll leave you with this...

 
Nothing is impossible with determination.

3 comments:

Pk Hrezo said...

Wow. I never realized how much thought goes into every movement afterward. Amazing. And YOU are amazing for keeping at it and staying strong.
That cat vid is too funny--my kids got a big kick out of it. Gives a really great perspective of what it must be like.

J.L. Murphey said...

PK, yep I keep at it. Having a stroke makes you appreciate how your kids learn to move, and then hurrying around trying to catch up.

Zan Marie said...

Go, Jo, Go! I think you're amazing to be able to think and analyze each step the rest of us take for granted.