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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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Here I go again – staying upright this time

We forgot to pick up my tablets this week, don’t know how, so I decided to save Pat the trouble, at the same time giving myself another challenge,  off I went on my scooter again – to the pharmacy – where I disobeyed all rules and promises and dismounted and went in on my own to pick them up, remounted alone and went off back up the hill.

Pat tutted at me for that, but it felt really good, it’s just one more step forward on the long road.

Over the last few weeks my sons in law have been so good about the little jobs I used to be able to do,  I’m so lucky to have people like that as a part of my family.

So – now I can do more than before I guess I can claim PROGRESS. I find myself doing new little things, without planning how to, and achieving things successfully after planning to, it feels good.

I know and accept it will take a long time to get better, but get better I will, watch this space.

Just to keep you all up to date – some good news, some not so good ……. the not so good is my back is still killing me since the fall a few weeks ago (I think I may ask the doc to take a look soon. After all it is nearly three months of unremitting pain now) The good news is I am still losing weight at a steady rate, and feeling so much better for it.

Sitting here watching that big orange thing appear from time to time in the sky, and watching it snow dead leaves all over the garden, I can recall happier and interesting times gone by. Got a lot to be thankful for really.

All told I’ve decided Iv’e got a lot to be happy and contented about haven’t I.

I’m still learning – THAT is the secret I think.

Years ago I learnt to walk, now I’m doing the same thing all over again. Funny ain’t it ! it’s something you never expect to lose……… You can though    –     It’s easy.                                  At the same time you can forget how to, or lose the ability to, do all sorts of things you did before. You don’t mean to – YOU JUST DO. Most frustrating really !

I spent 75 years learning how to do all sorts of things – fortunately it doesn’t seem to be progressing at the same pace now – otherwise I wouldn’t half be old come the end.

Although it seems to be slow, and IS slow by my standards, progress continues to be steady. I find new things everyday that are improving for me. Some of it is pure improvement, and some can be attributed to learning how to do things more efficiently. So I wasn’t so clever as I thought I suppose.

I have just celebrated the 1 year anniversary of my stroke, next will be the anniversary’s of coming home – losing the first 5 stone in weight – and more things than you could shake a rats a**e at – optimist aren’t I.

As you can see,  I intend to live a long and happy life – STARTING  TODAY – see if I don’t.

If I can, so can everybody else. It just takes a cocktail of determination, mixed with a hint of self-confidence and emotion and just a smidge of anger to stir the pot with.

WATCH THIS SPACE ! – I’m on the way……………….

YEAR 0NE – TARGETS ACHIEVED – ALL OF THEM

Yesterday I climbed onto my scooter and went to see my friends and colleagues for the first time since the stroke. I told myself I would – and I DID IT.

 Its so simple when you say it quickly, I suppose. But to me it was an immensely satisfying achievement, for which I just want to say THANK YOU EVERBODY for the help and encouragement given, without you I couldn’t have done it.

Now then – this years target – I will start to mow the lawns before the year of 2018 is out, and I will start back to work. Nothing to it really, simple if you say it quick !

It is merely a matter of determination, that’s all.

See you soon.

Tony.

GETTING FEDUP WITH ALL THIS.

STROKE – WHAT STROKE ? – IT’S THE RECOVERY WHICH IS HARD.

After my last (quite severe) fall, I have taken a long time to recover back to the achieved state of that time. That’ll teach me, I hope, about the importance of being more careful. A greater degree of concentration is called for – that should do it, I HOPE SO ANYWAY.

Anyway – I’m almost there. Thanks to the efforts of Mathew and Sarah, Steph and Andrew, and of course Pat, my scooter is now safer to use and can be easily seen by other road users, so I will be using it to go and see the group leader next week to volunteer my services in some way, probably local delivery of drugs where needed. At least I’ll get there before the first anniversary of my stroke, and at one time I thought I’d never achieve that.

The visibility improvement was the addition of a flashing beacon to the scooter – not me. We achieved that quite cheaply by dint of a little online searching through which we found that the parts could be found QUITE CHEAPLY if we ignored N.H.S or MOBILITY suppliers ( who are ALWAYS TOO EXPENSIVE ). If anyone wants info – get in touch. I’ll be happy to help.

So here I am, still in pain – still getting better – still learning every day.  But who am I  to complain ? There’s many a lad in the churchyard who’d happily swap  places with me.

NOT YET THOUGH !               MY FAMILY WON’T ALLOW IT !

SEE YOU SOON

Tony

Y’KNOW – CONCRETE IS HARD !

Well it is if you hit it, believe me – I know from bitter experience.

A couple of weeks ago I was feeling good. Off I went down to the shops – ON MY OWN       ( for the first time )- got the paper and returned. Parked up in the store and dismounted –  THEN IT ALL WENT WRONG – from a  feeling of achievement I went from euphoria to agony, and I mean AGONY, I fell over and hit the side of the bungalow ( it’s O.k ) and bounced off to land on the hip region of my lower back on the concrete. The path did better than me. Here we are a couple of weeks later – the concrete shows no signs of the attack, I however am still suffering, the white hot pain is settling down, and I’ve learned to stop running before I can walk, serves me right for being cocky I suppose.

Apart from all the drama, life goes on. I still walk, albeit far too slowly for me,  and I am making progress in other areas. Planning some maintenance on my scooter to get ready for returning to work before very long. Stroke ….. WHAT STROKE !

Whoops SORRY,  I must be less cocky – strokes are a real bummer – rehabilitation is worse, and so time consuming, still it’s only been 10 months and I am winning, which makes me so lucky, and if I can do it ……. so can others. Go for it, all it takes is self belief mixed with a modicum of determination, and of course the help of a really good carer, and the love of a truly supportive family.

Remember … believe … go for it … and don’t fall over ….. it’s easy if you say it quickly.

See you soon

LIFE GOES ON

And why shouldn’t it I ask – every day continues to show some small improvement, although I  anticipate quite a long time will pass before I can really say I’m better.

Lets see, I have gone out on my scooter several times now, I can move a little more freely (particularly my arm) my footwork has never been fancy, but it’s getting there, mobility will improve when the council get around to doing their bit with the back step, and the walk in shower – it’ll be great to be all over clean again. As I said to the council man – I had a shower last year, and wouldn’t mind repeating the experience  before this year is over. He didn’t appreciate the wry humour.

I did though, if I didn’t laugh with Pat so much, I would lose what few marbles I have left.

But I’d better not drop them ‘ cause  I’ve given up falling over for the time being (I hope), in fact I’ve given up all things negative, and am going to concentrate on improvements yet to come, which they will of course.

I’ll let you know when they do.

See you soon

Tony

A DAY OF FIRSTS (AND ONE I CAN TELL ABOUT)

The other is not for public consumption, but was just as satisfying in it’s own way.       Don’t ask!

The one I can share, and am happy to, is all about going out.

I went out for the first time on my scooter, with the help of Andrew M, and just for a while I felt free again. I had control and it was great. We didn’t go very far this time, just enough for a test of the controls and me, we both passed the test, and I am pleased to say that it was most comfortable to ride, it tackled the hill – up and down – and, when in top gear it was quite a powerful little machine – SAFE to drive – easy to control – comfortable to ride and to drive.

I would have no hesitation in recommending this to anybody. The sense of anticipation that it has given me is wonderful. I can go to the local shops, with my wife at first, and soon relieve her of some  of the jobs that she has been doing for us. I also plan to extend my horizons by travelling further afield before too long. Just give me time, and watch this space.           ( look out Lewis, that cloud of dust could be me.) Also watch out B.S.G I’m on my way back.) First for a visit to see you all, and then (when I get my licence back) to carry on where I left off.

See you all soon,

Tony