Ok, so my confession is, especially when I see others on the stroke ward, I feel like a complete fraud. Those people have real problems. Speech that has been lost or compromised. Weeks of physio to be able to pick up a cup. Tears that seem to keep on coming, especially when the visitors have gone. I have lucked out so incredibly and I know it. I had three strokes and all they got was a temporary hit on my balance and cognition before the drugs started disabling the possibility of any more.
Therefore, I should probably mention (esp for those who know I’ve struggled with the ‘what do I believe’ thing for a while) that I’m acutely aware of the miracles going along with the gazillion of you who’ve been praying since you heard. (I believe it may have started in Oz, and I’m even church prayer lists, and I’m so happy to stay on them, thank you!). Anyway, my point is, I’ve got the message: I’ve been looked after. Yes, I’m young and – I laughed when they kept saying this, but not as hard as Kate did! – really fit – but having seen what just one stroke can do to other people, I’m feeling majorly lucky right now. If you didn’t see me last week, well, I think you’d be extremely hard pushed to tell what happened by looking at me now.
I wanted to tell you how good things are before I point you at some info. Seeing the headlines below reassures me lots of things are now normal if they happen. I promised to share so that you only ring me for fun stuff, so I’m l honoring my part of the deal below. But please know that my experience of all this is soooooooo mild that I feel like a bit of a fraud for pointing you in this direction.
The Stroke Association has loads of leaflets. The ones I’m going to read are attached as links. I’ve not read more than the first paragraphs yet, but that’s enough to know its all completely normal (as these things go):
- Cognitive issues – this explains why my immediate memory is easily distracted; why I can touch type reams without thinking but not edit it well, why I haven’t bothered with a newspaper or the television or books yet
- Balance – my key issue so far has been getting my balance back. It was shot to pieces, which was why the world spun so relentlessly for a couple of days. (I can still remember a nurse coming in on Day 3 and saying ‘wow you look better, oh its because you’ve got your eyes open, well hello, I’m the one who’s been talking to you’!) It’s more or less back. The most useful thing was hearing the POT tell the trainee POT that the brain overcompensates for things it no longer understands. So, for example, I didn’t actually need to constantly lock my left knee to stand up, but it took a day or so to break that habit; or it’s easier for me (note: this is not advice!) to do stairs without thinking about it as thinking about it causes overcompensation. If this sounds weird then it is but, basically, my body already knows how to nearly everything again, but my brain hasn’t caught up with it yet, so it some of the cautions its sending out are unnecessary
- Blood thinning medication – I’m on this until the clot has dissolved (c.6 months). Useful because, for example, no one told me that cranberry juice is banned, though its probably in the booklet I haven’t read yet. (Could my office please read this one and kindly note there is no mention at all of any kind of prohibition on pick’n’mix from WC1 )
- Tiredness –I’m fine. I’m only including this here in case you’re one of the people I send home at an unbearably early 9pm so I can crash!
- Epilepsy after stroke – I don’t have this!!! This is the one I’ve been wary of, and would be massively upset about. So I haven’t read beyond the first paragraph which suggests that its really unlikely, especially as time has ticked by. Thank ****!!!!
p.s. I changed my voicemail to suggest you don’t leave voicemail, and text instead. I would have turned it off but I cant figure out how… this is no change from pre-11th!