Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sunday Stroke Survival: I Can Do That, I Think

So as you read a couple Wednesdays ago, my rabbitry is growing by hops and bounds. The pending new addition of three rabbits got me thinking of building my own rabbit cages. Good rabbit cages are $65 and up. Especially for the larger 36x30 cages I wanted.I know because I bought one. The idea of buying three at one time was a huge expense even though it will last years. I might want to live in a tiny house, but my rabbits need room to be healthy.

As you well know, one of my favorite hangouts for instant how-tos is YouTube. I found a couple of great videos on how to make cages. I can do that! I thought. It wasn't rocket science only a cage to house my rabbits.I watched them a few times although it seemed simple enough. There are so many things I can't do since my strokes, I love finding things I can do well.

So I walked into my local Tractor Supply, looked for the wire I would need, and bought a new pair of wire cutting dykes. My old pair had pitted cutting edges after decades of use. It was about time. My tools work hard for me and while I take care of them sometimes they just become too old. I bought two rolls of 1"x2"x24"x25' wire and one roll of 1/2"x1/2"x30"x25' wire. The that's enough 1/2x1/2 wire to do 8 cage floors, but I have other ideas for the remaining wire.I only plan to build four cages. Why get 24 inch width instead of 18", because the remaining 6" will make the litter pan shelf. Wow, my brain actually works when given time to think. "Wait, why four cages?" For the babies to grow up in. I could be adding more later depending on the litter sizes. The best part was for four cages my cost was $75.

Why would I need a 36x30x18 cage for just a rabbit when a smaller one would work? We are talking about rabbits that are about ten pounds when fully grown.  I believe in treating all animals as humanely as possible in their captivity. I'm comparing it to a life as a prisoner in a cell. That's how I view my rabbits. Even if they are loved and cared for.  So I let them out to run around and be rabbits as much as possible. But, they would be a tripping hazard for me to let them out all of the time.

I came home with my rolls of wire and new dykes. Then I decided to make this a teaching experience out of it. Remember, I teach by hands on examples. This could be a learning experiment for a couple of my grandkids and my neighbor's son. I did have to make four of them. I already had the "J" clips and three sets of "J" clip pliers in a drawer in my hutch. By making them with three others would be an enjoyable past time for them also. Plus, it would be faster than making them one at a time. A couple hours tops. Then they could go with me to pick up the new Jr French Angoras. Junior angoras are between 8 weeks and 6 months old. We'd make a day of it. Possibly stopping for some ice cream on the way. I can do that because I'm the grandma. My girls have come to expect it now and have stopped trying to argue the point with me.

But my reasoning was not all together so simple. I had an ulterior motive also. If I got into trouble, I had extra hands to help me. I tend to run into trouble a lot with all the things I attempt to do daily post stroke because I'm always pushing my limits and trying new things. I challenge myself with my never say die attitude. Of course, some things are beyond my reach right now. But everyday, I try. Granted, my efforts have been more "safe" than it normally is because of being alone in my house now. I rarely push past the "safe" limits unless there is someone else to help like one of my teenage grandsons. Good thing they actually like coming over here. Now that I'm older, I'm not too quick to get in over my head. Although, at times, I would need an umpire to determine what's safe.

By daily not accepting my limitations as static, I can do many of the things most people don't believe a stroke survivor can do. Daily caregiving for a dying spouse being #1. All the other things like adaptive gardening, livestock care, and a host of other things I do on a daily basis following a close second. The first attempt almost always leads to a negative outcome. Think of a toddler taking his tentative first steps. He will probably fall quite a few times before he gets the rhythm down. If he stopped after the first twenty times, he will never walk, but toddlers don't. That's how I view accomplishing anything after my strokes.

You never fail until you stop trying. Albert Einstein said it first and I repeat it daily. But then again, I'm only human. I get frustrated with the trying. When frustration sets in nothing gets accomplished unlike anger. When you get angry enough you don't give up until you master it. But frustration is just the opposite.

When I get totally consumed with frustration of attempting to do, I stop trying. Not forever, just a day or two before I try again. There's not a day that goes by that I don't have to step away from something I try to do because of the frustration factor. Eventually I will learn or relearn how to do what I want to do. Some might say I'm just too stubborn and I'll agree with that. I rarely settle for I can't. Not if I really want to do something. Believe me that there are tons of things that fall into the category of really don't want to do. They aren't absolutely  necessary things. I would like to crochet again, but it hasn't become a really want to do thing like my knitting or my spinning yarn, or I would have taken the time to learn an alternate way to do it.

I actually put myself in the position of having to spin when I got my first angora rabbit. Sure, Buddy is a great companion and fun to have around, but any rabbit would be. He's an angora which doubles the care issues. He produces fur/wool for spinning every 3-4 months. If I don't remove it, he'll eat it and get sick or even die.  I really wanted to spin again. I started slowly with one rabbit (the toddler's first hesitant steps) to now having a rabbitry of soon to be six long haired bunnies (toddler learns to run). I thought 'I can do that, I think' in the beginning after my strokes. I've accomplished it with time  and built up enough confidence in my proving I can. I can operate a rabbitry post strokes without a doubt in my mind. I know I can. I've actually got almost two years of practicing 'I think I can' under my belt to take this humongous step forward. I'm fulfilling a pre-stroke dream too.

Don't give up your dreams of what your life could have become just because of a stroke. You can still do anything you want to do...except walk a tight rope. Well, maybe you could do that too, if you really wanted to. Just keep trying because...

Nothing is impossible.


  1. I call my 1st attempt at something new a rehearsal. After all, even able-bodied people make mistakes during their 1st rehearsal. The word rehearsal gives me permission to make mistakes without beating myself up. I also use the "walk-away" strategy when I get too frustrated. I have the pleasure of knowing my 2nd attempt always goes better.

  2. "You never fail until you stop trying." Amen! I have to remind myself of this everyday, and I don't have a stroke to pin the difficulties on.


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