Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Blocked Cog in the Works

After a stroke you may have some cognition problems. Something is keeping the cogs in your brain from turning...mainly dead brain cells. What in the Dickens does that mean for us?
[kog-nish-uh n]
1. the act or process of knowing; perception.
2. the product of such a process; something thus known, perceived, etc.
3. knowledge.
(courtesy of

Uh oh, there's that word again...perception. I've often talked about perceptions in this blog. How you perceive things. How others perceive things. The possibilities of perception. The negatives and the positives of perception.

Along time ago in a psychologist class, the professor emphasized the difference in perception with a simple test. He read the instructions of how to draw what he was picturing in his mind. You try it along with me and don't jump ahead.

1. Draw a horizontal line.

2. Draw a vertical line.

3. Draw another horizontal line.

4. Final step, draw another vertical line.

What did you come up with? 
Was it a square? If you did, like I did, you were in sync with his mind. You shared the same perception as he did. If you didn't you had a different perception of what was being asked. Let me tell you are not alone.

After my stroke I had a hard time connecting the dots. In this image, what do you see without actually connecting the dots? The thought process or decision making time. Are the lines straight or curved. I saw a flower when it is actually a sun just by looking at the image. It's just my Abby Normal self kicking in when I see a puzzle like this is to guess what it is before I actually take pencil in hand. 

It proves that perceptions can be right or wrong. After a stroke, your thinking part of the brain is damaged. Your brain isn't connecting the dots in a normal way. The perception of who you are opposed to who you were is paramount in every stroke survivor's mind. But the cogs in your mind are not turning slowly and evenly, it more like lurching forward similar to someone driving a manual transmission automobile for the first time. Your brain lurches forward and then stops again and again. 

How many of you did this when you first trying to drive a stick shift? Don't be shy. Raise your hand. After a stroke your brain is like cogs of a machine missing some teeth. There's no way it can work properly.

But there is hope. With some mechanical adjustments (therapy and exercises), new teeth are welded into place. It will never be as good as the original or a new one, but it will work. Face it, it's hard to replace your brain, but new cells are growing all the time. Other parts of the brain take over for the damaged parts. Gradually your perception of who you are and what you can do changes into a positive focus, if you let it. Remember...

Nothing is impossible with determination.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I remember learning to drive a stick. There was a lot of lurching.
At first I saw a spiral until I started connecting the dots.

Zan Marie said...

Oh, well, I never learned how to drive a stick shift. Both Daddy and Hubby give up on the lessons. ;-)