Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Stroke Story (part 3)

At some time, I was told that I didn't qualify for the "super 2,000 dollar clot-busting shot" because they could not tell exactly "when" the stroke took place.. The policy was the shot could only be given if it fell within two hours of the onset of the stroke. 

I'm quite confused on the passage of time, but I do remember trying to sleep. I would wake up often and try to wiggle my right arm, hand or fingers. Nada. Still dead. I had to look to see if they were still there. The magic 24 hour mark came and went.. I was becoming a little more depressed with each minute that passed. I was trying to imagine the rest of my life without the use of my right hand and arm. BUT, at about 25 1/2 hours, I thought maybe I was making my fingers wiggle a little bit.. I wasn't sure, but I perked up a bit. After another 1/2 hour, I actually WAS wiggling my fingers a tiny bit AND moving my wrist just a little.. I continued improving every hour.. When the doctor stopped by to see me the next day, I surprised him by reaching out with my right arm, hand and fingers and shaking hands with him.. He was impressed.

Now, 9 years later, I probably have never really came back to 100% in the functionality of my right side, but I've came back to probably at least 80%. I try not to show symptoms, but, I do have a bit of a hitch in my right-side "get-along". I have a little trouble manipulating things with my right hand and fingers. I find if I need to have a little more dexterity in working with small objects, I switch to my left hand. The right side of my face is about half numb all the time.. Slobbering is still a constant problem. I go through spells, when eating, of biting my own cheek and tongue, to the point of causing a bloody mouth. I'm on Coumadin (a blood thinner) and it causes me to cut or bruise real easily. My vision is impaired sometimes because of tiny blood vessels inside my eye balls bursting and spraying tiny blood droplets inside my eye ball. The blood droplets appear similar to lots of black sand floating around inside my eye, when that happens. It takes a few weeks for the black dots to start dissolving.

That mostly concludes the saga of my stroke, as far as looking at it from a purely physical stand point. I have residual physical limitations or symptoms, but not very difficult ones. I am most fortunate. Most people, just by looking, I don't believe would know that I've had a stroke.. I'm quite grateful that the stroke didn't affect me as much as strokes have affected others I know. 

The mental ramifications of my stroke are not quite as subtle I would say that my biggest problems from my stroke are mental.. I tell people that I'm about a half bubble off because of my stroke. They laugh, mostly, I think, because they think I'm trying to be funny. Most don't understand that I'm asking for understanding.... not a laugh. I hope for understanding for when I can't think of a word, or I can't remember something important, or when I say something really stupid or inappropriate, or display a real lack of reasoning ability or the ability to make a decision. Trying to remember things is almost a constant problem for me. Being forgetful can be somewhat "funny" at times..... but, it very quickly becomes "not so funny" when I'm constantly forgetting things that are very important to me or to those I deal with. ... things that I look forward to or make commitments to someone to do. My poor memory is one of two things that make me consider myself "unemployable". I can explain to people my problems with memory, and they can profess to understand.... but it still makes some people quite angry or hurt when I forget something that is really important to THEM. I've found that I can go completely out of my way to explain my memory problems to someone, and they'll simply say something like, "Yeah.. I have that problem, too...and then they'll go on to later be insulted or mad when I forget something. One does get tired of the constant struggle.
Another problem I have to deal with is, without taking time to come up with some fancy words for......... I'm somewhat more stupid, now.. I know.. That doesn't seem like a good way to refer to oneself. Perhaps I can make it sound a little better by saying that my "learning ability has been impaired"... or "my intellectual capacity has been diminished."

(to be continued...)

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