Posts Tagged ‘stroke’

The Power

October 2, 2014

Today, I had The Power.

Stroke and TBI survivors know what I’m talking about. That frustratingly rare occasion to fully function, to multitask, to knock out items on my to-do list. Just to think clearly. The Power – decreased due to brain damage, preventing me from functioning on a level as before. Thank goodness for neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to construct new neural pathways lost to damage.

On days when I experience The Power and take action, it usually comes with a cost. Fatigue sets in sooner. Concentration breaks down. Memory goes out the window. Mistakes are made. Taking frequent naps can help, or getting more sleep at night to refresh, to fight and conquer the struggle tomorrow! Because that’s what seemingly simple chores are to many TBI and stroke survivors – a struggle, just to complete.

Patience is key when using The Power, on the part of yourself and others around you. Don’t set your expectations too high. Start slowly, accomplish what you can. Next time, expand your goals, remember (or write down) how things went, and adjust accordingly. Sometimes you hit a home run, sometimes you strike out. Don’t expect miracles. Pace yourself. Housework – like healing – takes time and energy. Don’t forget to eat a good meal beforehand.

Make a to-do list, and share it with your family. Accomplish your tasks and ask candidly how you did – request feedback both positive and negative. Learn from your mistakes (if you are like me, there will be many!). CAUTION: never attempt projects that you are physically or mentally unable to do. Ask for help. Your mind and body are taxed enough in the healing process.

It’s a good feeling, having The Power. Just wish I had it more often.

Advertisements

A Wake-Up Call

December 31, 2013

“I love you, please don’t die.”

My wife’s words in my ear as I lay semiconscious in the ICU after my stroke. Last Rites performed in case I did pass away. Terrible to think what I may have done to my family. But I survived.

So began the arduous task of recovery. And therapy; having to learn again things I used to do without thinking. And medication; something I did not even consider, knowing full well I have a family history of hypertension, which most likely caused the blood clot that led to my stroke. That, and obesity with a sedentary lifestyle thrown in.

Six weeks later and ninety pounds lighter, I left the hospital and continued out-patient therapy. And began a lifetime of continuous medication.

Talk about a wake-up call.

So, What Exactly is a Stroke?

December 30, 2013

I wondered the same thing. Before my stroke, I knew nothing of the cause and effect, only that it happened to older, infirm persons. Boy, was I wrong.

According to the U.S. National Laboratory of Medicine, “a stroke occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops. A stroke is sometimes called a ‘brain attack.’

If blood flow is cut off for longer than a few seconds, the brain cannot get blood and oxygen. Brain cells can die, causing lasting damage.”

Wow.

Strokes can happen at any time, to anyone, even to healthy persons and unborn babies. They can be caused by a variety of reasons – other diseases, body defects, lifestyle choices, obesity, hereditary issues, surgical errors, or trauma – not just to the head, but to other parts of the body where blood clots may form and eventually work their way to the brain, developing into a stroke.

Strokes may cause additional conditions in some survivors, making their lives even more miserable and recovery more difficult.

Not knowing these things caused me, and many other folks, to fear the unknown, thinking strokes are contagious (they are not). To interact with survivors with caution, or avoid them when possible. To think of them as lepers. Terminal patients. Hopeless causes. We are far from that.

Education is key. Understanding this condition and the survivors will help caregivers and family and friends to better interact with us.

National Stroke Association – for more information on strokes, survivors, caregivers, friends and family, services and support:

http://www.stroke.org