Sunday, March 28, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Garden Planting Delayed on Account of Doctors

Just when I resolved to change the way I post... 
You know the saying, "If you want to know God is in control, make a plan?"

This week the weather was wonderful! We decided to plant the spring garden.  That was the plan until I had my new base line ultrasound on my carotid arteries. I had a T-CAR procedure done on the right one back in January and it took forever to get my stamina back (over a month). But I did and we got busy with life again. So I went to my vascular surgeon's office for the scan.

Since I had no problem with the left side, I wasn't worried at all that the right side wouldn't have just as good of an outcome. Mel had gripped almost the whole way there (30 miles) about how doctors just milk your insurance with one test after another. How if they wanted to do more for me just to say no. I agreed with her. I'd pretty much had been put through the wringer for the last two and a half years with this or that treatment, complications, or surgeries.

I saw the PA right after the scan was complete, PA is supposed to stand for physician's assistant, but my husband said it stood for piss ant after a run in with an extremely arrogant one. Anyhow, she gave me the bad news. It seems like the procedure caused a dissection of the inner wall of my carotid artery. I was bleeding in the space between the inner and outer wall and it was closing off the artery leading to my brain on the right side, she judged by the pressure numbers. Another CTA and surgery was needed immediately to correct it or if it ruptured, it could cause a massive stroke or cause me to bleed out that either would kill me. So instead of saying no, I agreed. The OOPS Factor comes into play.

So the procedure to fix the problem caused a similar problem below the stent. Go figure. I always say, "I've got the luck of the Irish (by marriage) if Murphy's Law Didn't weigh in so heavily. And, I should know because I'm a Murphey." It's so true. So I won't be planting next week but having surgery instead with all its restrictions afterwards again. It will also mean another night in the hospital. If you remember, I wasn't too please with the NEGA Regional Medical System the last time I was there. 

I guess the garden will be up to Mel again this year. Lord help us!

Nothing is impossible.


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Smiling in the Face of Adversity

 A few years ago I participated in a book collaboration on adversity. In going over and reviewing 2020s posts, I realized my blog had gotten away from smiling in the face of adversity.  Every other post was whinny. It was full of complaints rather than solutions. It was whinny to the point of petulance which was against what I was blogging for.

I apologize for that. I let circumstances rule my life rather than focusing on the big picture. That's about to change starting now. I'm getting back to "normalcy" again.

Have I recovered as much as I lost with my strokes? Yes, and no. With each subsequent stroke I spend an inordinate amount of time relearning and getting back to where I was before. Being able to talk and do as close to what I was doing prior to the newest stroke. I'm thankful that it's not losing new stuff. It's only relearning the ability to do rather than recovering new stuff. But, recovery is recovery.

Now, that I'm getting Botox again for the time being, I'm refocusing on balance so I can make it down the 45° inclines and declines in our homestead property. Will this ability serve me when I move into a senior apartment later on? Who knows? There are always situations that may arise where this will come in handy. 

Remember, no skill or ability is ever wasted. I'm still waiting for another possible Baclofen pump placement. Having good balance and posture is always a good thing. My focus will be getting as much ability back (contractures allowing). Even going so far as to recover enough that I can have surgery to reduce the contractures. That's a workable goal.

Making sure my specialty equipment is in good working order is also paramount. It deserves due diligence on my part. An AFO that is causing problem just breeds more issues. The same goes with ill-fitting or worn shoes. After pulling my wheelchair and roll-a-tor from storage in the barn when I broke my foot again, I found dry rot on all the tires. They had to be replaced. This could have been cheaper and easier if I had just paid them some attention while put up with petroleum jelly. My cane  tip had worn through with the metal scratching the floor, before I replaced it. How much support would it had of been if I really needed it? The same went to my bath chair and bedside commode. Rats had set up housekeeping inside the commode bucket! So I'm turning over a new leaf and giving these things monthly checks. Things do wear out with use, but decay from neglect stops now.

I'm putting on my smiling face in spite of adversity again. Enough sitting on the pity pot. I'm thinking of renting mine out if anyone is interested. Out of sight, out of mind. I'm back to being proactive and smiling through it.

Nothing is impossible!

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: It Works!

 When I walked into my Hanger appointment carrying my new AFO, the tech visibly girded her loin expecting a slew of complaints. She was pleasantly surprised to learn it was unnecessary. I told her the problem and she was relieved greatly.

My little nit picking problems were addressed and fixed and I was out of the office wearing my new AFO and a smile on my face in under an hour unlike previous appointments that last 2 or 3 hours. It only took them six years to produce a working AFO for me. 

I'm up to wearing this new AFO for six hours off and on so far with no issues other than my foot swelling. It swells in part because of the stress fracture that refuses to heal and my heart issues. Neither cause has anything to do with the brace itself.

Mt Emey Comfort walking shoe
I'm loving my new shoes too. Especially since I can now wear two of them again. The knobby soles allow me to walk without slipping and sliding even on inclines while the new AFO  straightens my foot with less than a 10° inversion. I feel more confident walking. I'm once again walking without watching my feet with every step. It's amazing how comfortable they are. I'm more sure footed. Of course, the bad habits of watching my feet and walking hunched over are two habits I'll have to work on to break again.

I opted for elastic laces to replace the cloth ones. I actually the chore of tying my shoes every time they have to be loosened or come untied got old fast. The left shoe (unaffected foot)is looser than the right so kicking the shoe off with it being tied was easy. It's only 1 1/2 sizes too big for my foot and twice the wide of my foot in order to fit my AFO clad foot on my right affected side. But you can't order two different sized shoes at a time. I wish. Some sacrifices have to be made walking post stroke. Now both shoes can be slipped on and off with ease and I don't have to bother with any shoe tying. I'm just that glad to be away from Velcro shoes.

At $129 a pop it's a good thing they only come in one color because I'd go into debt buying them out of pocket buying multiple pairs of this shoe. They are that comfortable and utilitarian for my lifestyle. It feels so good to walk and feel secure and not be in pain while doing it! I even did my post stroke version of an Irish jig after I got every thing in place again.

I'm back to collecting eggs and starting plants for the garden. Next month is planting season for our 1/2 acre garden and orchard and now I'm chomping at the bit to get at it again. It's hard not to get too excited and over doing. I'm still taking it slow getting the breaking in of the new shoes and AFO. I'm still trouble shooting and watching for new pressure sores. Blisters are bad enough. I want to nip them in the buds before they get worse and lay me up again.

While I'm in a holding pattern for moving, I still got to eat, right? The plan is to split whatever is put up between the two of us when I move. I'm still set on moving into a senior housing in south Georgia. It will be nice living in a community again although I'll miss the fresh eggs and chickens... well sort of miss the chickens. 😂

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: My Leg Post Stroke

 My whirlwind of doctor visits has came to an end last week. Now, I'm just waiting on tomorrow to get into Hanger to get my newest AFO fixed. I had my botox injections last week and they are starting to kick in. Woohoo!  It's so nice to be able to move my shoulder without the muscles contracting to the point of pain. Even my ankle is looser so there is less pain where the pressure sore was forming again on my right side of my foot from wearing AFO #3. It was the usual place that has been erupting and healing for nine years. The initial pressure sore was the size of a thumb nail (a nickel). With each eruption, the area gets larger and it's now the size bigger than a half dollar on my size 6 foot. I've officially lost count of how many I've had in the same area over the years.

I've always thought of my calves and feet as one of my best features. Not anymore. My right, affected, calf has shrunk with atrophy and has definite, deep indentions where the three straps have worn into the tissue after nine years of wearing AFOs. I have developed a nail fungus on my big toes so they are thick and grayish now. The AFO strap to control my toes with the spasticity has warped my toes. They are twisted with a definite lean to the right to combat my inversion. I have developed calluses where before I had none. I grimace when applying lotion each night. I hate taking my AFO and sock off at the podiatrist's office and at therapy. It's bad enough I have to see the price I pay to walk living post stroke. It hurts my pride. I know pride is one of the seven deadly sins, but still, but I'm still female. I might never have been a raging beauty, but I had shapely calves and feet. Well, I still do on my left leg. I guess I should be thankful.

This is a disturbing fact that other stroke survivors don't talk about. Or at least, I haven't read or heard about it. Is it just me? I'm beginning to wonder. Maybe others are so grateful about being able to walk post stroke that they are not concerned about it. I'd take a picture and show you, but I'm sickened enough by the state my leg is in. I don't want to sicken y'all too. I've been praying for God to take this heartbreaking burden from me.

It's official. I've put my name on two waiting lists for senior living apartments back home in south Georgia. It's looking like six months to a year until my name reaches the top. After speaking with a counselor, I'm still too independently able not require assisted living facility yet. 

After getting the county ambulance bill for helping me get up off the floor the when I was released from the hospital after my T-CAR procedure, I decided to check on the pendant assistance services (medical alert). They are actually pretty reasonable ($19-$36 a month). It sure beats the $400 bill for the ambulance for one fall. I want to wait a month or two to see how much therapy can restore my balance first before adding another bill into the mix.

Getting older and being disabled is so-o-o much fun! Yes, that was facetious remark. Every day I search for things to be thankful for and most times... I succeed. But you couldn't tell it from this post.

Nothing is impossible.