Sunday, August 15, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Waiting and Combating Frustration

Better late than never.

I know I'm not the only one that combats frustration while in a holding pattern. I haven't written here or anywhere else in a couple of weeks because of it. For me, it's doctors, or should I say getting new doctors in my new locale. I mean all of my old docs treated me like I was going to die instantly if I didn't do this or that immediately. And yet, it's been three months since I've seen a doctor an I'm still here. So much for being a sick, dying, old woman. 🤣   Now, that's not necessarily true. I am a sick, dying, old woman who has a complicated medical history. I just haven't had some doctors tell me so in months.

The stress it could cause not only frustration, but anger, grief, depression and a whole lot of harmful baggage nobody needs. It is like a weighted blanket, not the good kind like PTSD patients use. These other issues can eat you alive, hamper recovery, and cause actual damage to your body.

So how do I beat it? Or, at least not let the frustration beat me up and consume me? I often say that it's all a matter of perception and mind over matter. Your brain is a powerful a part of your body. Even a damaged one like for us stroke survivors or should I say, dead gray matter. In a lot of ways, we're better than everyone else because we've beaten the odds and we survived the game of life's roulette table and we're on our way back or getting a do-over. Although, it doesn't feel like that sometimes. But, life is what it is and all you can do is make what you can of it. If you aren't happy about somethings in your life figure out what you can do to change.

Keeping mentally and physically active starve frustration. By being active, you don't dwell on the problem feeding the frustration. So what am I doing? 

For the mental half, I printed a list of all the cardiologists and PCPs in the area. I run the list by my daughter, she has lived in this town for 17 years, half of which working in the medical field.  At the very least, she knows who the real stinkers are. This information is worth its weight in gold and those names are stricken from the list. It narrows down the list considerably. Then, I'll let my fingers do the walking. I'll give each practice three working days to respond and then move to the next name. When I gave my daughter my list I had her rate the doctors by stars three stars meant the practice was the ultimate and no stars meant they were passable. If she knew nothing about them, they got a question mark. I have to say there weren't many of these. So far, I'm slowly making my way down each list. I'll play computer games to rebuild and strengthen weakened areas of my brain, or watch a movie on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney. or YouTube. But, I'm doing something with my mind other than feeding my frustration.

I'm in a Catch-22 situation as far as the physical side of the equation. To walk and do I need adjustments made to my AFO. To get an appointment to an orthotics place (Hanger or another of 4 options), I need a PCP because my podiatrist is just  a DO not a MD that insurances demand. I need dry needling or Botox to make the spasticity in my foot and ankle behave which would help in the meantime. That isn't possible until after the 24th when I see my new neurologist (another waiting game). 

My brace not fitting right allows me to stand and walk in twenty-minute increments. So I'll sweep my apartment and sit down with my foot elevates above my heart for an hour. Then, mop my wood floors and back down again. And, so goes my days. By 11 PM, I'm exhausted by the up and downs, and I'm ready for sleep. At 5 AM, I'm back at it again. By the time the sun is high enough in the sky, I'm puttering around pilling this or that weed, talking to the plants, and communing with God, I'm still keeping my twenty-minute on and off my AFO clad foot. During the lull, I've got my phone app tuned to His radio and I'm praising Him the whole time I'm off my foot sitting on my outside door steps. I tend to push my limits when cooking or preserving. Especially, with the final touches. I pay for it by having to prop my foot up for the next several hours.  The dishes don't get done nor food put away until I've gotten the swelling and pain down. I'll be good for twenty minutes or so before I'm back in the chair. I'm really missing my wheelchair or beloved's rollator because I could sit and do. They got left in the barn during the move and we haven't had a chance to go back and get them yet. Mel is still holding onto them for me. 

But for now, I'm doing without. I think Medicare part B would pay to replace the wheelchair. It was bought 9 years ago not under Medicare. The rollator was my husband's as the shower chair, and bed side commode was too. so my Medicare should pat to replace them, shouldn't they? That leaves me with the problem of who writes they prescription to order them? I'll see the neurologist later this month and I guess I could talk to them when I ask for a PT order. Or, does PT order them? Or, does my PCP, if and when I find one? It was so much easier when I was in the hospital before I was discharged home after my first stroke. Sigh! 

Breathe, Jo, breathe. This kind of thinking is a trap to fall back into frustration. Okay, it's time to get busy. I couldn't manage to do the dinner ,dishes last night. Everything was rinsed off and stacked so they are ready to be washed up and then there's a peach cobbler to make for dessert tonight. That will keep me busy until the rain stops. tuning in the app on my phone. Here we go, another day's work begins...

Nothing is impossible.


  1. I don't know how you do canning alone. I canned when I was an able-bodied twenty-something and found it exhausting. I was able to get my husband to help which meant finishing each batch so much quiker.

    1. Canning is exhausting, but exhilarating at the same time. I've also preserved my own food stuff for over 40 years. Relearning a way to can again post strokes was important to me. I don't lift full canners like I used to. It's adding and removing water one pitcher at a time. I do prep my can good the night before too. It's all adaptation.


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