Sunday, July 25, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Being Paid for Waiting

 Do you ever wish you could be paid for waiting on doctors? I sure do. No, I'm not a doctor nor play one on TV. A doctor thinks nothing about agony he/she causes while awaiting decisions being made or even having you wait in their offices for hours past your appointment times. You have nothing better to do, right?

My old cardiologist's office called me after they faxed their notes to my prospected cardiologist's office. That was four weeks ago. I've had a minor bout of congestive heart failure as 25 lbs of fluid squeezed my heart and lungs. It's a good thing I didn't throw away my Lasix after my doctor discontinued it. It's also lucky I remembered how to balance my electrolytes with that great of a fluid loss over the next three days and continue doing it while I'm waiting to get their approval for me to be their patient. I could push the matter and just go to the hospital and take pot luck of the thirty cardiologist in town. Knowing my luck, I'd get Dr. Iamgodnknowit whose the worst in town.

That goes for my choice for PCP, Endocrinologist, ENT, and Allergist too. What is wrong with these people? Is my money not good enough for them? In Cornelia, doctors said they weren't accepting new patients which is understandable. There are only 15-minute spots available in a week. Granted, my medical history is a nightmare, but don't they have student loans, huge mortgages, country club dues, and alimonies to pay? If my medical history is too much for them to feel comfortable with, tell me so I can look elsewhere. After all, I got nothing better to do than wait on them. I don't have a life worth living.

I am trying to live my life post stroke to the fullest. I've got a garden to create, a family to grocery shop and cook for, and I can think of half a dozen things I'd rather be doing instead of this waiting around. Of course, I'm doing most of those things now while waiting on them but my frustration levels are high.

This too shall pass. Breathe. And Repeat.

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Decision Making Process Post Stroke

 Some cognitive decline is expected after a stroke. While I had little difficulty with prioritizing tasks that need to be done. When faced with tasks that need to be done while my foot and AFO impairs me is a different story. It just takes one more thing to upset the apple cart, now I have two- healing broken bones and increased spasticity. 

I know before getting up I have to put my AFO on first or I'll fall with the first step I take with my affected leg. The spasticity has gotten really bad since I was unable to get my scheduled round of Botox injections in June. My foot arches downward and inward. You'd think I'd be able to walk on my tip toes, wouldn't you? But no, the inward rotation increases with weight bearing so it would be foolhardy to do so because the foot would roll farther inward. Not to mention when it does a hard spasm on top of the spasticity the shoe and brace have to come off or more bones will break. There's no denying the spasms nor controlling them. Unfortunately, it will get worse before I can get into the neurologist for my injections. 

After I prepare dinner each night, I usually get a hard spasm in my foot and ankle. Most of the times, my daughter (unless she's working late) will come in and put the finishing touches and serve the plate while I'll painfully hobble to my chair, take off my shoe, and AFO, massage and prop my foot up. It's that last half an hour of standing and moving that gets me. It's now to the point of almost an hour before I can don my brace and walk again albeit with a manageable amount of pain, instead of two hours of spasms like it will be. I can at least get to the bathroom and back again. This is how I'm managing my day now. Fifteen to twenty-five minutes of activity to an hour rest, but I am doing. I can no longer wear my new AFO with the spasticity so high. I'm stuck in my old AFO that allows for the swelling and the spasticity, and the straps need to be replaced. Come on PCP so I can get an appointment with a brace maker!

Wednesday night, I was just finishing up dinner when a spasm hit as usual. Nothing spectacular, just my butter fried chicken (my mother's recipe), boiled potatoes with herbed butter and corn on the cob. I called for my daughter to help. She drained the potatoes and tossed them in the herbed butter. She prepared the plates and brought me one at my dining room dinette before taking two plates to her husband and her into the main dining room of the house. I do so miss eating at the big table  with family. It'll be better when my granddaughter comes home from the west coast next month. She's my cook's helper. She's becoming quite a cook.

About an hour later, the rain started. The skylight in the kitchen started dripping. I hadn't put the pitcher down before because it wasn't raining. I shrugged off the sweater I'd donned. I'm just not used to air conditioning anymore. My daughter keeps the thermostat at 68℉ which is a little chilly to me since my blood pressure and pulse rate took a nose dive after my Baclofen removal surgery in 2019. That's even with the meds to raise both. *I digressed, sorry* I donned my AFO and headed to the kitchen. The pain was manageable as I hobbled across the distance. I grabbed a couple of paper towels to wipe up the water and placed the pitcher on the floor to catch additional drips. Come on two days in a row without rain so my son-in-law can recaulk the skylight and have it cure!

Of course with the dripping sound of water, the urge to pee hit me. There was no way I'd make the thirty odd steps to the bathroom. I'd just have to gush into my pad. Then, I noticed that my daughter had not put the extra fried chicken away. A quick reach under the sink to get a container so I could make chicken salad for the kids' trip out of town. I had bought croissants for the sandwiches. Just the thought of buying them still irks me, but some things just have the wait until I'm back up on my feet again. The gush had bought me some time. Another gush on the way and I was sitting on the commode.

Relieved, I hobbled back into the kitchen to run a sink of washing water in the sink. I was putting the last dirty pot in the sink when a twinge just above the ankle told me it was time to take a load off so I grabbed what little bit of trash there was to throw it in the trash can as I went. I hobbled back to my chair. The dishes would wait until the morning. I'd noticed that my bathroom trashcan was full but I'd save that chore the next time I'm up and so it goes. It's a good thing I can see a sequence of events when needed/

Prioritizing tasks has been my blessing living post stroke. It doesn't always go as smoothly as this, I wish it did. There are still times, after nine years of living post stroke, I forget to don my AFO first before getting up. All it takes is standing up to realize my mistake. Luckily, I haven't fallen in my hast of having to pee. Or, have to back track to get things done. It is what it is.

In other matters, I started a new blog. It's focus is on senior living self reliance and how tos from a disabled view point. I'll eventually start a YouTube channel along the same lines. Just because you are older, single, disabled, and living the senior living community life style doesn't mean you can't help yourself along the way. You ain't dead yet! You can find it here.

Nothing is impossible. 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: An Attitude Adjustment

 I was listening (streaming) my favorite HIS radio this week trying to get out of my funk. I was on the pity pot because in spite of the podiatrist shaving my callus down on my AFO clad foot, it was painful to take a step.  Well, I had pushed pass the pain to make kimchi last week. A big mistake, 

So now, I could make one trip to the front door and back (50 ft one way) before the pain sets in. The pain is in the ankle and last all day long allowing for trips to the bathroom and back to my seat (about thirty steps) without the pain becoming too excruciating. I am now sitting in the chair playing on the computer with my leg elevated above my heart on a bar stool most of the time. I had so much I wanted to do, but can't so frustration sets in. Thus enters the pity pot. It just hurts too bad to walk any farther.

I was playing a game in the computer when this song came on the radio. "Say I Won't" by Mercy Me. It struck my heart with such conviction I thought I would share it with y'all. I didn't know the story behind the song until I watched the video. All I can say is watch and listen.

It reminded me of how far I've come since my ischemic/hemorrhagic stroke that left me paralyzed on the right side in 2012. I was thankful. No, I haven't recovered the use of my arm nor leg, but even such, there is not much I can't do that I did before even with the loss. I just have to learn a new way to do it or adapting. 

Although I've heard this song many times, this time I saw me in the song. How many times have circumstances rose before me in the past. How many times in here and in real life I've said, "Watch me!" Suddenly, the funk cloud lifted. Sure, I can't walk now because of pain. But, will it stay this way forever, probably not. 

~~I'm gonna run
No, I'm gonna fly
I'm gonna know what it means to live
And not just be alive.

The world's gonna hear
'Cause I'm gonna shout
And I will be dancing when circumstances drown the music out
Say I won't ~~

Watch me! 

Eventually, I'll get a new PCP who'll write an order for my AFO to be fixed and I only have to wait until August for my new neurologist to shoot me full of Botox to somewhat tame the spasticity. Then, I'll be raring to go again. It just seems like forever. Say I won't... my faith will show you and I'll say 'watch me' go with a renewed attitude.  Patience, Jo, patience. ARGH!!!  Repeat to yourself over and over again.... 

"God is good, all the time. Remember, God's timing is impeccable. 
Never too early nor too late. It's just a matter of perspective."

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Happy Independence Day

Today is still the 4th of July although later than my usual posting time. I've been busy chopping vegetables for today's task... making kimchi in mass quantities (only 12 lbs worth). I rediscovered by love of city life this week by going to the Asian market. I spent way more than I should have, but there was so much I had denied myself for decades that I found in this shop. But I digress already from what I wanted to chat with you today. So let's get to it.

Independence after a stroke. Yes, it is possible and doable. It may be small like being able to cook dinner or large like living on your own. Or super large like for me, coming home from the TCU, 30 days after my strokes, to be full time caregiver to my terminally ill husband. While this was my greatest blessing towards my recovery thus far, I wouldn't wish it on any other stroke survivor. I honestly had no choice in the matter and had to make do. I had to figure out how to do it, or forget about it. Or the time my husband fell out of bed and I had to get him back up into the bed by myself. It wasn't like household chores, I just couldn't leave it and forget it. I mean my beloved was on the floor. Once I got him to stop helping me help him. I finally figured out a way to get him back into the bed without both ending up in a pile on the floor. Neat trick for someone who is paralyzed on the right side. But, I did manage it. Luckily, it never happened again. Once was enough and I thank God for the wisdom to accomplish the task.

It was many incidences like this one that made me gain my independence over the next eighteen months before my beloved passed on. It was a trial by fire or under fire that made me do whether I was ready to adapt or not. I was drug kicking and screaming into functioning state of living. Honestly no one should have to recover or learn to adapt this way, but I consider it a blessing. It showed me that if I could succeed under those circumstances, there was not much the future could throw at me that I couldn't handle.

Every day I pick one thing that I've never done since my strokes to challenge myself and gain some measure of independence. The results may not be perfect, but it's a work in progress. You really can't expect perfection in the first few attempts (read 20 or more attempts). Today, I julienned carrots and daikon radish for my kimchi. The last time I made this I used my mandolin. Before my strokes, I could do this with a chef's knife all day long if needs arose, but have beenunable to do it since now though I've attempted to. 

They didn't turn out perfect nor did I expect them to. Some were thicker or thinner than they should have been. That's okay. Next time I'll do better. Do I expect to do it as well as I did with two hands? Nope, just good enough is fine. I don't have to do it professionally ever again. My strokes have taught me to be more accepting of myself. This is a very good thing. But let me tell you that it took me an hour to julienne 1 cup of daikon radish and another cup of carrots. I ended up just snipping two bunches of green onions instead of cutting them with the knife. My index finger and thumb is sore from all the knife work under tension of trying to julienne these two vegetables. It still feels like I'm working backwards using my left hand for chopping vegetables instead of my right after nine years.

But wohoo! I did it! It's independence day!!!!!!! Now I have another option if I need julienned vegetables. Life is always better when you have options.

Nothing is impossible.