Saturday, May 3, 2014

Word Search or What a Difference a Stroke Makes

This is not a poor pitiful me post. It is what it is.

It was 3 AM when I heard a feeble cry for help come across the baby monitor this morning. I jumped out of bed and ran I rolled over, grabbed my AFO and shoes, donned my AFO and shoes, pivoted myself into an upright sitting position, stood up and hobbled to my husband in the living room. I was holding the wall for added support because my bedtime medicines of Valium, Baclofen, and Zanaflex still had its semi-potent sleepiness effect on me.

Normally this wouldn't be a problem because  I do it so much, but this morning it was killer. Last night about 11PM my husband upset his drink all over his bedside table soaking everything including his pill box. Four doses of meds gone. Poof. Up in the air like smoke. I'd just taken my bedtime medicines. I got him into a chair, clean up the mess including changing his bed and him, and got him back in bed and comfortable took up most of the lee time between taking my meds and hitting my pillow. I was an hour late because I was working on my sister's shawl pattern to place beading on it. I refilled his pill box and made sure he took his medicine before I wobbled off to bed myself.

I found my husband standing beside his bed fumbling with his bedding and bare butt mooning whoever cared to look. I asked him what was going on after installing him into the rocking chair and putting his oxygen back on.

Little Bit, the cat, had decided to sleep with her Daddy. She couldn't lay on the bed because her older sister, Patches, took up residence in the prime sleeping spot next to him. So she decided to sleep on his bedside  table across his knees. Being a cat, she will sleep anywhere she wants and gradually push stuff away making a comfortable spot. Well, this included a Coke Zero which was a half full can when he fell asleep. You can guess the rest.

After searching through a box of thirty-year old sheets, I finally found a twin sized set of sheets. Why did I search for sheets? All the twin sized sheets were soiled that I bought for his hospital bed. He was safely enshrouded in clean sheet that bear pink, blue, and aqua flowers leftover from our children's childhood. My night medicines are now down to a dull roar and it's almost time to take my morning medicines. If I go back to sleep I'd never wake up in time to take mine or give his.

I sink wearily in my office chair. My office is now located between my husband and my bedroom. I stretch the tense muscles in my neck knowing that a headache will form if I don't. I call it snap, crackle and pop but there is a term for this. I know there is but I can't remember. It's one of know that I know because I've used umpteen dozen times before. It drove me batty trying to think of it.

I make no bones about my cognitive deficit since my stroke. I have a real problem recalling data through the maze of dead tissue...otherwise known as my brain. I'm always searching for words meaning what I want to say. After thirty minutes, the word came to me ...CREPITUS! Thank you for how to spell the word from my mangled attempts.

crepitus  (ˈkrɛpɪtəs)
— n
1.     a crackling chest sound heard in pneumonia and other lung diseases
2.     the grating sound of two ends of a broken bone rubbing together 

As an author, many of us search for the perfect word to say what we mean. I was no different. Usually it meant editing a word ten times to hit the perfect word to say what I mean and other times it sprang instantaneously in my mind. Now, after a two strokes, the words just don't come that easily. Not without a pause, a half an hour, or maybe hours of searching. 

On a whole, I'm better than I was just after my stroke when every other word was a word search. Now, it's about every tenth word so I can at least talk in full sentences. So many times I have said, "This is not the right word, but..." when speaking to others and then They will tell me what the word is or understand because of the context it's used. I miss being able to do that. It's kind of a fill-in-the-blank type thing for me now. But at least I can utter more than 100 words.

It may be delusional, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Now that all meds are given and taken for the early morning rounds, I'm heading back to bed for a couple hours of needed sleep before it's up again in the life of an author, stroke survivor, and caregiver.

Anyhow, that's my morning so far. How's yours going?



  1. Yikes! I'm tired just reading about this non-stop challenge. I don't know where your stamina and patience comes from.

  2. Ditto what Rebecca said. That's more than I'm doing all day.

  3. Jo, I can so relate with cats spilling things and husbands doing things and being so tired etc. because I have been there done that, and that is hard --- but I am healthy, so can't imagine what you go through. Your post just gave me a glimpse of your daily struggles. Don't know how you do it. But bless your soul for doing it.

  4. Rebecca, Frequent naps by choice or just drowsing in my chair. My chronic fatigue is killer.

    Barb, when you're the only one to do it, it has to be done.

    Diane, I know sweetie. Been here too many times when healthy too. Prayer and the good Lord holds me up.

  5. Jo, you amaze me every time I see the way you handle your struggles. I pray all the time that God sees all the good you do for others like me and makes things easier for you.

    You're always going to be my inspiration to get even better, and you're my butt-kicker when I need one. Much love to you and your family. Eva

  6. Your patience and resilience are so impressive, Jo. And the fact that you tied in your experience to writing and editing, too!
    Speaking of kitties, I'm trying to type this with one draped over my arm...

  7. Deniz, now you know how I type one handed


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