Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sunday Stroke Survival: AFO Woes, Weather, and Other Stuff

As you can guess, I was hard pressed to talk about one thing this week. So much and so little has been accomplished.

The garden has been planted. All that's left to do is busy work like weeding until harvest time. But I can't because of the rain. I do get out to pick dandelions, clover, strawberry and black berry leaves, and grasses for the rabbits. I'm picking grass seed heads for the corralled hens too. This takes me about an hour each day. That's including feeding and loving on them.

My AFO still isn't right. I'd gotten up to three hours a day wearing time in the new new AFO. It still rubs my ankle bone. It can be down right painful too. If I just sat around all day this wouldn't be a problem. But I have a fairly active lifestyle. I'll burn up 6,000  steps in a few hours between the animals and the garden. On sunny days, I'll round off 10,000 steps by including the orchard. But I haven't been doing that lately. I'll be up on my feet for an hour in the new new AFO and then spend the next  30 minutes on the porch swing to rest my foot and ankle.

At around 2:30 of the three-hour mark finds me on the swing watching the spinners and the hummingbirds because it's too painful to stand up. The wind spinners were a birthday gift from a YouTube viewer who made them from soda cans. I just love them. I set my phone alarm for the three-hour mark. I usually am counting the minutes until I an swap out AFOs. But that's not really helpful because the old AFO is the device that caused my foot fractures. Even with the adjustments, that old knife stabbing pains return after a few short hours. So I'm stuck sitting more than I'd like.

Even with the extra padding in the new new AFO, it still isn't right. It still causes pain, but my foot alignment is correct. In talking to Hanger, at yet another appointment, my foot is so far out of whack that any correction will cause pain. So we are at an impasse. Do I give up alignment and a normal gait, or do I go back with to the poor posture, limping gait of the old style AFO? I'm hoping the intrathecal baclofen trial works on the leg spasticity. Eventually, I may just get rid of this AFO.  I'm still waiting for that appointment.

The weather has been, in a word, wet. It has rained every day for three weeks. There is only about a two-hour window each day that it isn't raining fairly hard. I said I'd never complain about the rain again after the drought of 2016, but I'm close. I guess it's a God's blessing kind of thing because I can't be up and doing outside. I'm glad I opted for building double width rows of raised beds in the in-ground plantings. At least the water has somewhere to go instead of drowning my seeds. Building these rows with a shovel and a rake was no easy job for one-handed me, but each 5' long row was accomplished. I could make two rows a day until all six were made. I'm glad I took the time. Gone are the days that I did six 30' rows a day... ten years ago. I'm thankful for this little garden plot instead of the old 1/4 acre garden. It's official. This was the wettest May in the history of this area.

I do have to say that living post stroke has been anything but boring. Every day there is something happening. Whether I fall, sometimes several times a day, or just preparing dinner are adventures. Attempting to make do single handed and not using my dominant hand to boot is challenging. I've finally quit trying to do trying to do something with my right hand first. It's only taken six years.  Not that I don't use my right arm and hand, but they now play a supporting role instead of a first response reactor.

The difference between learning and relearning
Living post stroke is a learning curve every single day as you try to regain your old life. Everything I try to do is part of this curve unless I've conquered it prior and have repeated it a dozen times or more. But isn't that true even if you haven't had a stroke? Yes, but living post stroke is relearning how to do it with impairments. Trying something absolutely new can be daunting post stroke. But it's a break from relearning. Sometimes, the frustration of learning something new is better than the frustration you get from relearning how to do something. I'm always on the lookout for these gems. Pinterest is a great place to see new crafty things I might want to try. I'm the type of person that sees something she likes and tries to make it. This year I tried spinning plarn to knit market bags. In the garden, I'm always trying a new plant or two each season. This year, it's tomatiloes. You never know what you can grow well until you try. In some small way, it makes me feel "normal" because everyone gets frustrated trying something new.

I've temporarily stopped working on the cookbook. I'm just too busy with the rabbits, garden, and orchard. I'll pick up working on it in the late fall after I put the garden to bed for the year. Next year's garden will be changing. Garlic and onions will be planted around the apple trees in succession planting because they'll keep pests away. I'll be planting leeks seeds in the fall as a first time crop to overwinter in the garden. Napa cabbages will be in the fall garden so all the ingredients for kim chi will come from my garden. Wohoo!

Nothing is impossible.


  1. You need to have them adjust that AFO.
    Ten thousand steps is great!

  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one with AFO problems. I've been trying to get a new one since last October with no luck. I've tried several, but they all have various problems. I didn't have any luck at all with Hanger Clinics, the AFO they gave me had the toes tipped up (my old AFO has a flat footplate) and after wearing it for half a day I was in so much pain I couldn't walk for a couple of days. Doesn't seem like it should be that hard, but evidently it is.

    1. Denise, my major thing is the spasticity keeps changing the alignment of my foot and ankle. They'll put extra padding where the pressure points are or stretch the AFO and it will work fine for maybe a day. The next day different muscles have spastic episodes which means all new pressure spots. All I want to do is walk without pain.


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