Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday Stroke Survival: Making Do and Getting Help ~ Ranting

It really irks me to no end when I have to ask for help for something I used to be able to do before my strokes. When I was sixteen I rebuilt my first automobile engine. By thirty, I could rewire a house and do major plumbing repairs and installations. It helps being the daughter and sister of a certified electrician, plumber and welder (my dad) and four brothers who are H&A installer/repair. I watched and learned. They even taught me hands on. Having a contractor son in law and being a lay carpenter was added to my skill set. There was not much I couldn't build or repair. Then my stroke changed all of that.

I mean pre-stroke, I could literally do it all. A Jill of all trades. Just like my father was Jack. Now, I have to call someone to do it because I can't safely. You know me. I'm not opposed to taking some risks. I almost relish it. Now, living post stroke everything is weighed against safety versus doing. If it were just a matter of falling, it would be no big deal. Heck I've done that too many times. Only some have been mentioned here. Ya, ya, I'm getting older too. But it really irritates me to have to pay someone else to do something I know how to do. This is life living post stroke and I dislike it intensely.

I just received the estimate on the new driveway. It is actually cheaper by several grand than I estimated. I'll admit this is one area that it's cheaper and easier to have someone else do it. I didn't relish the idea of moving and spreading 120 tons of gravel. I don't know anyone who would if they had a choice.That much rock is hard to imagine much less put it where it needs to go. I mean two tons of pea gravel didn't seem like much when I built my shade garden at my old place, but I did it. Er, um twenty years ago.Ten years is a whole lot of age on this body now. The young man who owns the company was eager to please and I'm happy I chose him for this project.

But the electrician and plumber? I mean really? This is what gets me. I could have trenched, laid pipe, and done all this electrical stuff myself if I had a working body. What I wanted were easy tasks. Instead, I'm paying someone else $65 an hour to do it. It's killing me. I'm talking their language, because I've done it all before. My father and I even dug a shallow well, connected the pump, and set up the sprinklers in their 1/4 acre garden. It's not rocket science, it's only manual labor. I've never been afraid of a little hard work.I'm still not.

My driver's side door handle broke off. It literally broke off in my hand as I went to get into my minivan two weeks ago. I, of course, landed on a thick grassy area beside the driveway with the most padded part of my body still holding onto the plastic part. Nothing hurt but my pride. Then came the ordeal of climbing in through the passenger side, around the engine hub, and into the driver's seat before I could go anywhere. With the outside handle broken, I go through this ordeal every time I drive. Getting out from inside is no problem. I just leave the window open when I get where I'm going to reach in and open the door. Of course, I'm saying a quick prayer it doesn't rain while I'm inside wherever I'm going.

How hard is it to change an automobile's door handle? Pfft! It's a no brainer. Pull the door panel, disconnect and reconnect a couple of wire (electronic everything in the door) and a couple of screws. Except I can't finagle my body to do it. I did try. I had to call someone else to fix it. No mechanic or parts store in town had a replacement handle.  Worse yet, the closest Toyota dealership was three towns over. I made an appointment with them to replace the door handle. I get there as scheduled only to find the handle is on back order and wouldn't be in the dealership for two weeks. So in the meantime, I was stuck with going into my vehicle from the passenger side. To add insult to injury, the charge for the handle and for the labor to install it...$322!

Talk about add on expense to having a stroke. I could watch millions of dollars (if I had it) trickle away just because I can't do any more. I make do and do what I can, but when I can't because my body won't let me is ridiculous! I'm just ranting here because I can. Call it the hidden cost of living post stroke. If I was an ordinary person without my skill set, it wouldn't bother me so bad. But I've never been ordinary.

Nothing is impossible.
But in this case improbable.


  1. I cringe when I have to pay people to do work I used to do before my stroke like mow the lawn. Then I remember I can get all the services I need if I am willing to hemorrhage $5,000 a month to pay for an assisted living facility.

  2. The thing is, there are some times when I can't even do what I have done POST-stroke. Talk about frustrating. I had to call my daughter at midnight once because I tripped on the threshold into the bathroom and fell; I can no longer get up from the floor by myself, something that was super-easy post-stroke, but pre-knee surgery. Now it's much too hard. Fortunately my daughter lives nearby.


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