Sunday, July 2, 2017

Sunday Stroke Survival: Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

I know. I know. I got the title backwards, didn't I? But after a stroke and living post stroke for more than five years, it sure feels like it. I hear you all now. "Whoa! This doesn't sound like the Jo we usually read." But just hold on a minute. You know that's fixing to change. Or at least you hope, right? Or you are sighing and saying, "Jo's on the pity pot again."

I'm in this weird mood, so be forewarned. I can get very retrospective at times like this. What's the reason behind this mood, you may wonder. I've been people watching again...mostly Mel.

What we thought was a sprained wrist turned out to be a broken one. Her dominant right wrist. I've been watching how she is handling it. She's never had a serious illness, broken bone, stitches, or anything medically wrong with her in all her life. That's almost sixty years folks. Other than depression, she's led a charmed life until one night she tripped over her TV tray. As she puts it, "I couldn't break my wrist by doing something cool. I had to do it by doing something stupid."

But really, isn't that always the way?

So I've been doing a comparison between how we each handle the one handed life. We are kindred spirits and alike in attitude. So it's been interesting. Nothing shows true attitude like how you handle adversity. Of course unlike me, she has use of her fingers and can pull the splint off. She does this more than she should. Especially in times of frustration until pain causes her to put the splint back on. She's a grown woman, I should only advise her once on what to do. After that, it's her choice. So I've been watching her for the past couple weeks.

At first, I listened to her moan and groan about typing one-handed. She's writing a dystopian novel. Yes, I understand that particular hardship. As the picture suggests, Mel a charter member. This where we differ. Instead of first trying to figure out how to do something, she'll gripe about it first. I order to nip it in the bud now, I hold up my right arm and say, "Hello!!!??" There isn't anything she can say that I haven't said a million times over the past five years. She'll be in the splint for two to four more weeks. It couldn't have happened at the worst possible time. We're busiest on the homestead this time of year. But it has been and interesting observation.

It's not that I don't empathize and sympathize about her struggles. I can and do. But I listened to this for a couple of weeks of how she couldn't do anything, before I started with tough love. She had to get up and do. Between us we have two working hands. Granted they are both our left hands, but still. Two crafty women, like we are, should figure out how we can get things done.

Sort of like this
Our current project is the new rabbitry and chicken areas. These two areas are built with pallets and cattle panels. The biggest and hardest part is digging the holes for the post supports. She gets on one handle and I do the other one. Having hard, compacted clay to dig in isn't making this a quick process. We are managing two holes a day but we are getting it done. We had one 24' wall complete before I left for home. That's a major accomplishment. Now we have to do the other side. Mel figured out she could push the handles open without causing pain so she planted some 4x4x4s while I was gone. All it took was me giving her a kick in the pants to get her started.

Before I left for home we were watching Netflixs and doing assorted tasks. I am knitting baby bunny rattles for the local crisis pregnancy center and Mel was rolling cigarettes. Yeah, I know. I know. But I pick my battles. The pain of using her fingers got to her and she was messing up the cigarettes. She shaking her head, tears rolling down her cheek and she was whispering, "I can't. I can't do it."

Ouchie!
I looked over at her and told her to clean up her mess and stop for the night. We'd had a full day of animal care, one of our buck Angoras toenail ripped open one of his testicles. We had to do minor surgery. Her holding him and me doing the cutting and closing to neuter him. Three drops of morphine had him totally sedated while we worked. Well, he'll be a good wool producer, but not a breeder. We switched off doing therapy exercises on the other buck, Dustin. We had dug two holes and placed four panels for the rabbitry. We had dinner and cleaned up afterwards. We were both exhausted. I told her...
  We can only do what we can to the best of our ability and no more. As much as we'd like to do more or do better, that's the honest truth. You can only strive to do better. Never when too tired or frustrated. When those two factors are in play, you will only fail. So take it easier on yourself.

So are you feeling like defeat is being snatched from the jaws of victory? Maybe, it's your point of view. A defeatist starts a sentence with 'I can't.' A moderate starts a sentence with 'I'll try. An achiever starts a sentence with 'Watch me.' Sure first attempts and maybe the first ten times you'll fail at the attempt. Eventually, you will snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Nothing is impossible.



1 comment:

Rebecca Dutton said...

When I was in the rehab hospital I remember my roommate who also had a stroke contributing an extra hand to help me open a creamer for my coffee.