I have carnival on the brain because the county fair is coming to town next week. Every store, radio station, and television program is running ads for it. Actually, I plan on missing it again as I have for the past twenty years. It's a waste of money for me because I can't ride the rides and the games are rigged towards losing.
So why do I say living post stroke is like this game?
It's almost impossible to break a balloon let alone three to win. I know darts. I have a dart board in my Playhouse. One of those electronics things with all the bells and whistles. I used to play and win in tournaments also. The varying factors in this game are...
- The balloons can move depending on the wind.
- You are trying to break a round, air filled balloon with a sharp pointy object that displaces air as it flies.
- How many balloons have been broken. The more that are broken the more they move. So faster is better for success.
- It's a game of chance and the odds aren't in your favor.
- Where your stroke happened in your brain.
- In recovery, you are trying to get new pathways for muscles to function properly.
- The longer time that passes between the stroke and recovery is more difficult. So faster is better.
- Recovery after a stroke, is a game of chance and for total recovery, the odds aren't in your favor.
- High tone or flaccid
- Amount of damaged area and nonfunctioning parts.
- Spasticity versus no spasticity.
- Re-education time and timing.
The amount of damaged part of my brain is relatively small by most stroke standards (2 cm), but the amount of paralysis is equaled to a much larger one. The ratio is skewed. I should have only minimal loss, except I have full paralysis on my right side. It also affected areas that should not have been affected by location like my diaphragm and peritoneal area, but it did. There go those variances again.
It is easier to recover loss without spasticity. Thirty-nine percent of all stroke survivors get spastic muscles. I'm one of the unlucky few.
It takes hundreds if not thousands of repetition to gain recovery that will last or do them and not gain at all. This is perhaps the most maddening variance of all. It's like popping those balloons, success is not in your favor. So why do it? The chance of success. I may not like the odds but somebody has got to win for the game to continue. It might just be me.
Nothing is impossible with determination.