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STROKE REHAB

S**t happens – so do Strokes

S**t happens – so do Strokes

On day One (October 8th 2016) IT happened. I went to the bathroom and I DIDN’T GET BACK. All of a sudden I had to sit down (not on the toilet) – I knew at once what was happening – I was having a Stroke. It shouldn’t happen to me, I thought, I’m only 74 – yeah that’s right we’ve all been there –  ONLY!? —- Why ? I thought, when I should have been thinking, right what shall I do about this. So I could set about planning my future.

At first I could do nothing – literally nothing. To move any part of my left side was near to impossible, I had lost all control over my bodily functions, much to my shame, and had lost the ability to clean myself up which meant relying on others all the time for everything. When you enter hospital you forsake all dignity until you leave.                          Then I started to accept the challenges, and the long road back had begun. The call bell for help was being ignored for hours it seemed, so I played hell. I WON. The reply of ” be there in a minute” could mean literally hours of waiting (its called the hospital minute) again I played hell with them, and I won again, ( I was getting used to winning and found that I liked it). I spent hours a day (sometimes as many as eleven) sitting in a most uncomfortable chair, where I could practice and plan, After a while I realized that if I treated problems as challenges, they became challenges that I could win mostly, if I put my mind to it, and my mind hadn’t been affected. It was something I could do, so I did it.

So I spent my time plotting and planning my future progress.  I fought against the goo that they insisted was all I could force down, and I won again. Water tasted like nectar, my first mouthful of pastie with vegetables and gravy was heaven. I graduated from the overhead hoist through various stages of equipment until I was able to get up under my own instigation, and then I was transferred to a stroke rehabilitation unit where I  continued to learn until I could stand on my own two feet. It felt good, and at about that time I became able to move my thumb, just the faintest flicker but it was still a massive achievement for me and I saved that to show off to my wife when she next came.

I cried with pride that night.

Several weeks pressure from the Physios (bless them) wrought some of the desired effect, and I got released. I had been hospitalised for a total of  67 days, during which I have to say I was treated quite well. The food was very good (except “b****y sandwiches every night for tea). All of the staff were exceptional, except when I was on a crusade        over some thing or another, or I was winding them up, I expect I was a PAIN IN THE A**S really. Every stroke is different and affects different people in different ways. In my case it seems not to affected my brain, (what brain you say?) but very often this was ignored. Everyone seems to treated as brain dead, which is frustrating to say the least.

Who cares – I was home again. What did I ask for for tea that night? A FLIPPIN SANDWICH of course. Talk about institutionalised.

Now was the time to really start to learn……I’ll tell you what I did ( good, and idiotic ) soon.

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HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN.

Well they are for me anyway, and if you search for it, the silver lining is there to be found for us all.

The secret for me is to not wait for things to happen – make them happen, or do it yourself. So my bed risers have, like my perching stool and the Mowbray toilet frame, have all been lowered – the last two we did ourselves, and the bed risers were adjusted at our request by the phsyio team. At our request they have agreed to fit aids (like a step and hand rails) at the back door, to help me get out into the garden and be with Pat.

Also – this week we have erected a scooter shelter in the side yard, O.k it was mostly Pats work, but we did it and the scooter is now safe and dry.

I’m now able to go over the front door step fairly easily, so the back door will present no problems, and I am planning my first foray into the wider world on the scooter.

Today I’m wearing shoes that I have not been able to get on since October last year – they are comfortable, and as a plus it is easier to walk in them.

Right – boasting over. It’s not becoming to brag too much anyway.

I have a friend from years ago (I think of him often) who is going through a really bad patch in his life. I hope my successes may inspire him. As I said above, the silver linings are out there, all we have to do is find them.  Love to E too (A.K.A The W.W.W) you’ll find that being nice is most rewarding. Tell me if I’m out-of-order. Love to both of you.

Off to plan my skirmish with the great wide world, I’ll let you know how it goes,

Tony

 

 

HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN !

Well they  are for me anyway. The secret is not to wait for things to happen, but to make them happen. Don’t always wait to be told, just get on with it. Because you know you can.

For me this week has been one big step forward after another. Pat and I have erected a shelter in the side yard (mostly Pat) so the scooter is now safe and dry at all times. I asked the physio’s to lower the bed risers after proving I was able to rise easily from the perching stool and Mowbray, which we lowered ourselves. we also asked them to install a step and rail system to the back door step, and they agreed! It’s coming next week. Today I’m wearing shoes that I’ve not been able to wear since last October, and not only are they comfortable, but also they make walking easier. I am now able to use BOTH arms to carry the perching stool around, and, as you can see, I’m excited by it all, oh and I’ve learned to blow my own trumpet——— forgive me.

Now I’m planning my first trip on the scooter out on the road – it might even be next week if I feel ready, — watch this space.

Boasting over, it doesn’t become me anyway.

I have a friend from years ago who is really going through a bad spell in his life. I’ ve not seen or spoken with him in years, but I think of him often, and just maybe my successes will inspire him in his struggles. I hope so.  GO MIKE!,GO!.                                                      (The ( other)  www is a friend too, although there are some issues to be addressed — good luck E it feels so good to be nice sometimes.) not that it is my place really to enter the ring.

Next time I’ll report on the ride out, all being well.

Tony.

A DEMEANING EXPERIENCE

Going into a stroke situation that is.

You spend all those years being private and looking after your own needs and desires, then – BANG – forget embarrassment it just happens, forget privacy – so does that. Then just as you get used to strangers doing all those personal things – you go home, and it starts all over again. Although this time it’s your wife, and you really want to do it yourself ( for personal pride) and because you want to take the weight off her shoulders (because you love her deeply, and because it makes you feel more useful. (and it’s all part of rehabilitation anyway )

It can take an hour,to an hour and a quarter, to get ready for the day ahead. The daily wash I can manage mostly on my own (although here I am , 9 months after the event, still being made to wait for the local council to alter our bathroom so that I can get into a shower. They say we are on a list. No-one seems to care that the  last time I had an all over wash was last year. (every young lads dream of course – BUT NOT MINE.) This means that some of the more personal and intimate things have to be done for me, which, even though it’s Pat, is most demeaning at times, for her as well as myself.

Pat still has to help me to get dressed, although if we are not in a hurry I can get it done for myself, although it’s amazing how exhausting it can be to get the left foot dressed and slippered.

And so to the day.

I can feed myself O.k, although my food has to cut up for me still, and I am able to (and do) do the washing up, wiping up, and putting away. (nothing broken yet!) Small jobs we try to do together if it’s safe  (and sometimes if it’s not) but I still can’t tackle the hoovering, or mow the grass, or dig the garden. It’ll come. So I spend my time glued to the seat of the chair, and dreaming of what I could be doing.

On to bed – getting undressed is very much easier, only taking a quarter of an hour, and getting in to bed is a piece of cake. Every night is disturbed, several times, by calls of nature, so a full nights sleep is a big unknown. (I can always drop off during the day though, so all is not lost) Pats sleep is also disturbed most nights, but it’s getting better as time goes on.

Fortunately we can, and do, enjoy some good laughs at my  attempts to move along. It’s not all demeaning, and if you can laugh at yourself it becomes easier to endure. Endurance is something I have to learn to accept if I am to fully recover. ACCEPT the problems, regard them as challenges, and OVERCOME.

I WILL.

Thought of the day ………. what’s the target for tomorrow,

I’ll let you know another time, and how it was achieved ………… IT WILL BE – OF COURSE.

Tony

STILL PRACTISING – STILL HAPPY.

Rather than moping about I’m getting on with it. Yesterday I made it round to the side yard to have a look at things again. It’s surprising to me how comfortable I was sitting on my scooter and learning the controls. I’ve not been on the road yet because my left hand is still too weak to operate the hand brake lever, but everything else was a piece of cake.

Apart from that, all is progressing smoothly – no more falls – or problems. Just loads of hand and finger exercises. Oh yes and PRACTICE.

I’ve timed myself walking indoors, and find that I can walk 9 foot in a little over 35 seconds (in a straight line). So now I’ve got a target to beat. (it’d only take about 2 days to complete a marathon,( if I did it non-stop that is, ) THAT’LL BE THE DAY).

I’m finding out how hard it is to be a carer. Pat (bless her) is at it all the time, not only doing all the usual household tasks, but also doing most of the things I used to do, as well as all the extra things that taking care of me and my needs entails. It’s a hard life for her, and she deserves a medal for putting up with it all so cheerily. I do as much as I can to take the load off her, but it will never be enough until I can do more. I’m pushing myself to achieve this, but it will never be quick enough for me.

I know, it’ll come – all of it, but WHEN.

Always look on the bright side of life (as the song says)dum de dum etc

If you see a high speed mobility scooter about to overtake you ……. LET ME GO!

See ya in my dust cloud……..

Tony

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ANOTHER DAY- ANOTHER STEP ON THE PATH TO RECOVERY.

Literally.

Over the steps and along the path this morning, to the end of the bungalow – who’s a clever boy then? It was nice to get calls of encouragement from some of our neighbours on the way. I didn’t realise I had so many friends.

The biggest hurdle now is my lack of speed (in everything I do) but it’ll come. All I have to do to get there is practice – practice – practice – and when I arrive –  PRACTICE again. It’ll come – I have set myself a target date to show real signs of development – it is to be achieved by October 7th 2017, The first anniversary of the stroke. I bet I get there!

OH YES I CAN.

The next phase is to start to learn the controls of my scooter so that I can relieve Pat of some of the jobs by going to the shops etc: Can’t wait for that. It’s surprising how exciting it is to look forward to simple things at my age. But set yourself targets, and strive to achieve them, the result is immensely satisfying when you get there.

Little babies learn to crawl (been there twice now) then they learn to walk (probably they will be faster than me, and I’ve done that twice too) then they move on to run.

WATCH THIS SPACE.

I’m off to practice more mind blowing achievements now, I’ll keep you advised…….

Tony.

I’M GETTING BETTER – EVERY DAY IS BETTER THAN THE LAST..

I can walk further, and faster than before. (Before now I mean, not before the stroke), by the same token, as the days go by there are so many things that I can do – better mostly – that it becomes difficult to think of what to do next to feel good about. But I am trying.

Today, for example, I didn’t take a trip (that was last week) I tripped and fell again, much to my chagrin because it was after a two month break and I thought I had that under control. THE GOOD NEWS IS I managed to get myself back up and walk away from it, unhurt  completely, other than to my pride that is. Y’know it takes a whole lot of energy to get up when you’re semi crippled, and it is draining, but is immensely satisfying when it’s a first, and it lends confidence both to my wife and myself.  I’ve decided though that I will not keep practising the manoeuvre.

AM, however, taking another sort of, much more satisfying trip.Twice a day and every day I am going out of the front door, negotiating the two steps, and re-entering the same way. The intention is to build up my strength to be able to do this more often. It is so satisfying to achieve this, and it is what I see as a massive step forward in my rehabilitation. This morning I managed to do this on my own, and without using anything other than the grab rails, which pleased me considerably, and Pat too, so soon I hope I will be trying my new scooter out and starting a new learning curve.

Talking of curves – can you peel an ORANGE using only one hand?

I CAN.

Still boasting you see. See you soon,

Tony.

 

DREAM ON – IT’S EXCITING.

You know when you’ve lived the dream when you find what you want, and get it.

It’s even more of a boost when you get a real bargain, and the other day it all came together for me – time to boast a little I think – I found a hardly used mobility scooter on the internet – only just over a year old – unmarked – cost new was £2200.00 – cost to me was a mere £600.00 – DELIVERED TO MY DOOR – so I went ahead and got it.

Pat is able to drive on it and parked it up.  The incentive levels are high for me to see it, in all it’s glory – and it IS glorious – so I managed to go out over the door step, around the bungalow to where it is parked, and after a close inspection get back in the door step and into my chair. It left me exhausted but supremely content.

So – not only have I managed to set up my means of transport for a while until I can drive again, I have also learned to get over the door step and back. A pair of good reasons to be pleased with myself. All that’s left is practice, practice, practice, physio, build up my strength and learn to drive the thing. Then start to re-join  active life again, nothing to it……………. if you say it quickly,

I’ll boast again soon.

Tony