Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sunday Stroke Survival: The Weather Outside is Frightful...

The weather forecast today, sleet with a strong chance of snow.
Come on. It's a sing-a-long!
 Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Yes, it's winter. Two arctic dips with more to follow until the spring thaw.  But inside it's warm and cozy. Thanks to the church's delivery of a cord of wood. The wood stove is chugging away. Actually, we usually keep at least half a cord on hand all year long.

With the bone chilling, colder weather comes the ever lengthening slew of problems that are associated with age and having lived the life as fully as I have. Arthritis aches with Rice Krispies early awakening (snaps, crackles, and pops) are a daily occurrence. Not that I'm complaining, but I'm just stating facts. Living post stroke only adds to the reality that I ain't even a fall hen anymore. Namely the spasticity worsens as the weather turns frosty. My hands and arms bear the ugly, blackened burn marks from touching the wood stove while loading wood in it one handed. But it's not just me, Mel has her full share too. Oh, to be able to afford a front loading wood stove. Even a used one.

I'm not nearly as cute trying to get up.
Falls happen with more frequency in spite of being extra cautious of how slippery ice and snow are. My new shoes make every piece of imaginary carpet lint a trip hazard. With the Dantrolene causing temperature intolerance (side effect) doesn't help the situation. I find myself shivering when the outside and inside temperatures fall below 60. That's not like me at all. But my pain from the spasticity is definitely more manageable. Unlike the Zanaflex that either zombified me, or had me shedding tears with each spasm. I can always put more clothes on.

So if you are reading this and thinking I'm miserable, don't worry. I'm not. I actually love the winter months. Granted living in south Georgia for decades did thin my blood some, but I really do like the temperature fluctuations here in north Georgia. The Bible talks about all things having a season. This is just that...a change in the seasons of my life. I accept this for what it is. Within a few short years, I'll be a great grandmother. It just is what it is.

Someone has a sick sense of humor
Maybe if I hadn't had my strokes, I'd be fighting against this aging process. You know the mighty IF, but there's no changing what is. As humans, we always look for something to blame or play what-if mind games with ourselves, don't we? The fact is that I had strokes. Yes, I'm still fighting to recover what I lost with each one, but as time marches on, I realize that yes, my life was changed forever, but it is not so bad. I mean things can always be worse. Just thinking about the possible worse is terrifying. It makes me thankful that I'm not in that situation.

The truth is my strokes only marginally changed my direction. I had plans and continued along my desired path with a few adjustments. I'm still doing what I want or need to do. I may have to ask for help on occasion, but that's okay. I didn't get where I am or become who I am without help along the way. Granted now, it may be asking for help in different ways than I did before. "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up." There's someone around that can help me up. This is the major adjustment in my plans instead it only being me and single handed homesteader.

Speaking of helping me up. I've noticed that it is taking me longer and it's harder getting up. Sure getting up after a fall since my strokes has always been problematic, but now, I'm having extreme difficulty rising from standard sofas. In part, I blame the abuse my left (functioning) knee and hip has had to carry the burden since my strokes. I've even noticed a touch of carpal tunnel syndrome in my left (functioning) wrist.  I asked my PT, "what can they do about it now?" I mean think about it. Under normal circumstances, immobilization and/or surgery would be the treatment. But given that it's the only fully functioning limbs I have, it's just out of the question even for a week or longer. Yes, I do know some double amputees that still can do. But as difficult as it has been to figure out how to continue doing has been, to make do with even less is mind boggling even if is only temporary. I just prefer not to.

I asked my therapist what can be done about the atrophying muscles in my right calf. I was told that I'm doing everything I can and should do. While this is comforting, it doesn't change the fact that it is happening. I just have to bide my time until I can get out of my AFO permanently. The fact that it took five years to see the marked changes in my calves, shows the diligence I used with my leg exercises. This atrophy in the calf could also account for my "new" difficulty rising too. It "rapid" onset in the past year can be attributed to the spasticity also. Notice how this is cylindrical in nature this is. So maybe I'm grasping at straws continuing to hope that the people at Emory can help. But for now, some hope is better than none.

So while the weather outside is frightful, I'm cozy and warm inside most of the time. But that in itself can be dangerous, Without the busyness of outdoors, I'm left with too much time to ponder these things. Indoor activities leave my mind idle while my hands are busy with knitting or spinning. Come on. Sing with me. Then my focus can be remembering all the words, enunciating the words correctly, and staying on key.

Nothing is impossible.


  1. You're just having to fight the battle a little harder than some.
    Be careful with the ice. And the cold. Because it is really cold right now.

  2. We've been in the teens at night and only gets just above freezing during the day. Still, we are luckier than most. Yes, I'm still fighting.


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