Archive for February 27, 2011

Don’t forget INR check on Wed

I have to set myself an alarm to remember I have an INR check appointment at 8.50 on Wednesday.  I’m on my last study day then and I’d completely forgotten about it.  It’s only because I’m low on blues that I remembered to check when it was.

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Is it relevant? Balancing the tiredness

Is it relevant? I don’t know, but I thought I’d mention it if you’re reading this because you’re a step behind where I am at the moment.

I’m reminded of Saturday.  I was away for the weekend so I got up at the normal weekday time to set off.  I arrived about 11am – just in time for breakfast, yum!  Then I went to bed for a couple of hours doze. In the late afternoon we pottered around a village full of antique shops.  At 9.45pm my host sent me to bed, on account I was pretty much asleep on the sofa.

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City Girl

I’ve got the day off today, which is handy, since my flight back from Northern Ireland doesn’t leave until 6pm tonight.  I’ve leave to use (!) so I’m taking a few Mondays off, which gives me lovely long weekends.

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Retrograde filling anyone?

It’s no wonder my GP hasn’t got the letter from Dr3.  The copy arrived at my house today, but the original has been sent to a surgery near a place I lived for about 5 minutes, 5 years ago.  Helpful….

It also has jargon that I don’t understand.  It’s not surprising, I suppose, given it’s written for the GP, but it’s unusual these days.  A google search doesn’t even convince me that I’ve worked it out.  I get the bit about having a number of embolic lesions secondary to a left vertebral dissection.  I get the bit about the artery still being occluded.  But what is retrograde filling all about?  Do comment if you know. I can hazard a guess but guessing isn’t hugely wise in this case!

As a p.s. he’s written, “I will repeat the scan when I see her again in May”.  I’ve been emailing the outpatients people to ask when the scan is as, presumably I need that before I see him.  Kind of a waste of both our time to see him and then scan and then see him again, wouldn’t you have thought?  His secretary seems to think that he’ll arrange the scan after I’ve seen him.  I’m thinking I might drop him a note and mention the “new” GP address and ask about the scan timing.  I suppose I should also photocopy the letter for my actual GP, given I have no idea who “Dr South” is.

Still, at least it arrived in time for me to take it to Hospital Number 2 and Dr2 tomorrow… I know I’m supposed to tell him my case isn’t his any more and he’s not allowed to make any decisions, but I suspect he’ll have the answers.


Dr3 and Dr2

I’m due at Hospital Number 3 on Friday morning to see the consultant from there.

When I left that hospital, I think we all assumed I was and would remain under their care.  However, if you’ve been following carefully you will already know that the consultant at Hospital Number 2  (hereafter known as Dr3) has decided that he’ll take over the case again.  I saw him because of the Cadiss trial and, because they did a scan, he now knows more about me than Dr D at Hospital Number 3 (hereafter known as Dr2).  Dr2’s also a more senior doctor.  And they have the HASU at Hospital Number 2 so…

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Bouncing Forward

I think I’m a cup half full person.  I can’t decide when that came to be true, because it wasn’t always so.  But I think I definitely am.  It was possibly started by my bosses in my second ‘real’ job after university.  No problems, just challenges; no bad days, just ones that could have been better if…  So cup half full can be learned, i think.  And maybe I learned life was more fun, and there were infinitely more possibilities, if that was usually true.

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Cyprus, here we come

Two things happened this evening that have made me smile.

The first is that my birthday present from my dad arrived today.  It included a text book for my dissertation.  It’s called “Managing Through Turbulent Times“.*

The second is that, over a bottle of wine and a thai takeout we booked a holiday.  I’m making use of the new travel insurance.  It’s not for a few weeks yet, and we had to change plans after we were warned Marrakech might not be such a good idea this week.  So… Cyprus, here we come.

I’m so excited.  It’s worse than Christmas.

this is where we are staying - hooray!!!


* Edit November 2010: if you’re reading the edits, you may be reading this in a different light… at the time nobody knew that I was going to be leaving my job of nearly a decade and I couldn’t share that on a public blog.  But it’s so weird to be looking back at what I did share while this was all going on!


Just Sayin’

My facebook update last night says this:

As my cousin Abby would say, “Just saying“.


Answers on a postcard to…

My college has been brilliant.  I’m studying part-time for an MSc and trying to catch up whilst trying to go back to work is a bit of a challenge.

The faculty I work with are being massively supportive, and pitching for some things to be made a bit easier for me to do that.  For example, in December I was supposed to submit two essays and sit an exam.  Yep, that was never going to happen!  Instead they pitched for one essay to be double weighted so the exam could be skipped and for both essays to get extensions, with one extension being later than the usual overdue allowance.

But we have one more obstacle.

A somewhat surprise exam popped up a few weeks ago which would throw out my carefully planned proposal to catch up in time to do the dissertation on time.  So we’re again going to pitch that they double weight an essay so that I can skip the exam.  And I had to write the proposal myself!!! Luckily I could include my current doctor’s note which, incidentally, says my workdays have to be limited to 8 hours. (Yes, I know that’s normally what people are contracted to do anyway: I think it’s a deliberate reminder to me and anyone else who’s involved that it’s not quite over yet.).

So what I keep saying is true.  The hardest thing about a stroke isn’t about having a stroke, it’s about all the things one missed and all the things one has to do next!

One of the things I included was a link to the statement below.  Those of you who actually know me may know a close relative had some serious problems with depression and I’ve always had a fear of it!   Thus I’m determined that this won’t be me.

So I give you the statement below and ask you to view it with a question in mind… why?  And why are younger stroke patients more likely to succumb?  Answers on a postcard to…

Do most stroke sufferers end up suffering depression? Approximately 50 percent will become depressed at some time during the first two years after the stroke. The majority of patients, approximately 40 percent, will develop depression within the first one to two months after the stroke. There is another number of 10 to 20 percent of patients who will develop depression at some later time during the first two years.


Navigating Life in a Post-Stroke Reality

Since the very beginning I’ve been clear that this blog is my story, and many things outside that – however relevant – aren’t just my story to tell and therefore don’t make these pages.

I’ve made many a judgement call about not mentioning something.  I’ve very occasionally disguised details in order to be able to explain an issue, or simply told it without any identifying specifics.  It’s not that I don’t want to share, it’s just respect for others and, I suppose, making sure that sharing my opinion on something isn’t going to get me into trouble either.


My cousin came to stay with me this weekend to join an annual event in our area that’s organised by her brother, who’s obviously also my cousin.  (With me so far?!)  She’s fab and she’s been following this blog since the beginning.  Her brother is a great friend too and I have a story to tell about him in a moment, but she’s been an amazing and – if she’ll allow me to say this in the right way – a surprising source of uncomplicated and uncompromising moral support.  Surprising only in the sense that, actually, we really don’t see each other that much in the grand scheme of things.  Maybe its genetics? It’s always fun to see her too so I was glad she was coming to stay.

She was a bit surprised though.  Having followed the blog she was expecting ‘normal’ me.  Instead she got a me that she felt she needed to watch out for again, just a little bit, which she hadn’t expected given all the good news on the blog.  And no, before you ask, I didn’t have more than one drink!  But it is true that a couple of the less noticeable adaptive behaviours that I thought we were past made a (hopefully) brief reappearance this weekend.

I believe there is a very specific reason for this blip, and it’s not because of normal everyday stuff. I can’t share everything as I’ve explained above.  I’m also wary of blogging anything that results in people contacting me with advice how I should manage things because that can be tricky to respond to. But her observations were a reminder that I must take the advice of those those who suggest I must still view some things with the lens of ‘how does this impact my recovery?

The fortunate thing is I have amazing friends and colleagues and an amazing GP who – as well as overlooking the fact I’ve now cried on her twice in the past few months – reminds me kindly but without compromise that my recovery is more important right now than most things.

Does any of that make any sense?  Probably not!  My blog is cathartic so I’m blogging instead, and hoping I haven’t said anything that anyone will hold against me. That feels like a little bit of a risk sometimes, which is sad.

Oh and the story about the cousin that lives near me? I’ve added it to the Backstories.

So this post is for my cousins, who are pretty blooming fantastic.  Again, they reminds me that what really counts are the friends and family that are always there.

Thanks again.  xx

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