Friday, December 14, 2012

A Stroke Story, part 4

That was more difficult for me in that I think nearly everybody likes to be proud of their own intelligence, knowledge, and their ability to learn and remember stuff. I'm often having to drop out of a discussion, a lesson, or a movie, or a book. I had to drop out of a Spanish class, because I just couldn't cut it.. It was pretty humiliating. And, it just plain made me feel bad. 

I try to keep my sense of humor right out in the fore-front.. Quite often I use self-deprecating humor to make things that are difficult for me to not seem like a big deal. This seems fine, but what surprises me about myself is that if someone else makes fun of my intelligence, or lack of intelligence, or inability to accomplish some task, I feel put in a corner where I have a hard time deciding whether to continue on and join in the laughter....or whether I should flee and get away from the ridicule... or whether I should simply be insulted and knock somebody out.. I guess I need to admit....some of the problem is that I seem to be okay at teasing or ridiculing myself and others,.... but, I'm not worth a hoot at TAKING the teasing.. That's not very fair to others, huh?? Being teased seems to either totally stress me out, hurt my feelings or makes me want to fight.. I think quite a few people have unintentionally driven me away, just because I couldn't deal with a little teasing.. I guess I need suggestions on how to mentally handle this. If I can deal it out, and I tend to deal out plenty, I should be able take it.

A serious problem I have now that I never had before is, "I get lost easily"... Even having a GPS unit with me, I can and do get lost when I'm hunting, especially in the woods. I've came to the conclusion that my being tired has a very direct affect on my mental faculties. When I'm tired, I don't know how to operate my GPS. I've had to be "rescued" by my friends or brothers at least two times in the last few years. A somewhat alarming aspect of this is, when I'm tired and lost, I DON'T CARE THAT I'M LOST. It's worrisome, embarrassing and humiliating for a guy who's been an outdoors-man his whole life. My choice is to laugh... or cry... I also quite often lose track of where I left my car in a parking lot of a grocery store or mall.. It can be because I forgot about where I parked the vehicle... or the problem can be that I forgot exactly WHICH vehicle I had driven that day.. Picture a grandpa with a little grandson in a grocery store parking lot, trying to escape a downpour of rain, and Grandpa can't find his car.... I've been there... more than once.

Now, the second and most important thing that I feel severely affects my employ-ability is my judgment... or decision making ability. This is very difficult for me to describe or talk about. Here's the trouble.. I DO NOT have confidence in my ability to analyze a certain thing or a situation, and come up with a proper way to handle it. An exaggerated example might be "It takes me 1/2 hour to decide which shoes to wear that day." Or, "I simply CANNOT decide what to do, today", even though I might have dozens of things I need to get done. It seems impossible for me to decide whether an item of clothing is too dirty to wear another day. I agonize over a decision as to whether to go to town, today.... or wait for another day. Deciding whether to go on some trip. Deciding what to fix myself to eat. Deciding whether I need a shower, or not. Believe me, it goes on and on. It causes me to question whether I am qualified to drive.... or qualified to use a firearm... My doctor has told me I shouldn't use power tools. For me, it is a complicated issue. It makes me wonder just what I AM good for.

Back to the physical problems. Another symptom that bothered me often after my original stroke, were these little "mini-strokes", they're called. I shouldn't say they bothered ME so much as that they bothered my wife. I, myself, cannot tell when I am having one. But, Sheryl says that I can behave pretty weird when this is going on. Sheryl, when she detected the first one I had shortly after my original stroke, took me to the hospital. There really wasn't anything they could do to help, but they did take X-rays of my head and brain. A doctor showed me my X-ray and pointed out a dark spot, about the size of a quarter, on the left side of my brain.

(to be continued....)

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