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blueshoefarm at gmail dot com.... and that would be how to reach me

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Some Notes about Having A Stroke

When I turned on the radio for the first time since I had the stroke and heard the piano themed music for Garrison Keillor's Writers Almanac, I teared up. Not that I love poetry, or Keillor. But that the world is still running along as usual and even though I feel like my world flipped 180 degrees really didn't. The world is rolling along at the same pace, it is my perception of it that has become so keen.

If you have a stroke, DO NOT go on the internet. Reading that your chance of having another have just exponentially increased, that debilitating disability is very common, that you are more prone to neurological disorders and dementia, on and on can scare the shit out of you.

When they let me out of the hospital with no information and a few illustrated stroke pamphlets that looked like they were designed in the 1970's that weren't really targeted to my age bracket... I was a basketcase. The hospital had no specific information so I felt like there was a big clot just ready to make a move and paralyze me permanentally. Later someone who knew strokes told me the clot that caused the stroke is long gone, broken down by my body. That would have been helpful to hear right off the bat.
I am much better now. Every day is improvement, I lost 17 pounds (it is not that noticeable when one is 6' tall) tons of farm muscle (weakling!) that will come back as I start doing things. I am going to Physical Therapy tomorrow, should be interesting. It seems I am walking different, we shall see if it is true.
Keep your friends around you that make you laugh. When you stroke out, you have limited energy for experience -hearing, seeing, moving -- and things become very simple. People turn into energy... as in they either leave you with what little energy you have or they drain it. In the normal world, they would weave in and out of my life and I didn't notice, but right after the stroke I had limited reserves. I would literally close my eyes to stop the information coming in.
The issue of mortality comes right to the front. As in, wow, that could have so gone another way... paralysis, brain fog, loss of vision or the ability to speak. My body which has carried me along just fine, with strength, grace, and alot of coffee... all of a sudden became an unreliable vessel for carrying my life. But being that I cannot just go out and get another newer model, I have had to mentally adjust to "this body can fail" dramatically even though I have dependent children, hungry horses and an old farmhouse. It does not matter what I am, or who I am, or what I do... it is not my decision.
The hardest thing is my children. Wilder asked his father this weekend if he thought I was having a stroke while they were not with me. I know it is always on his mind as he searches my face for signs of "stroke drop." When I get tired and the stroke effects become more apparent, he will get very worried and ask me to rest. He is 12. His sister Rose is 16 and can hide her worry and fears with teenage nonchalance, but it is there in her tears. And, I can't just say everything will be fine, I will never leave you (as a child.) That sucks the big puppy. If it was only sheer force of will that could keep me alive, I would win. But, it seems, there is a certain amount of random unpredictability within our lives.
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