Disclaimer

BEFORE YOU START: Please note that although I currently volunteer for both the Stroke Association and Age UK, the views expressed in this blog are strictly my own. I am not a spokesperson for either (or, indeed, for any) organisation, and I accept complete responsibility for the views expressed herein. I've tried to use the Glossary to explain any ambiguous terms, but if you think there is anything I've missed, please message me.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Progress

I'm quite pleased with how my arm has improved lately. There are  two things. First is my restricted movement because of the stroke. Second, there is restricted movement because unused body parts tend to tighten up and cause pain as you try to move rhem beyond their new limits. (Although I'm generally ok now,)  I've felt this in both my wrist and my upper arm since the stroke, and this highlights why keeping the muscles stretched is important.

I've felt the former - my brain regaining control over my body - a little since the stroke. For example, I can clench a half-hearted fist. But I've seen enough be convinced that this is going to be gradual - I'm not suddenly going to wake up one morning and find my arm back to how it was.

However I have gained more movement, plus this movement has gotten easier. For example, clenching this fist has become easier over time. This too is very gradual, in the same way that if you're trying to get yourself fit, you can't see anything overnight.

I was heartened today, therefore, sitting down with my arm beside me, that I was able to flip my arm over such that my hand went from the back onto the palm.

Small fry, perhaps. But helps me maintain my hope that, eventually, I will get everything back.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Messing with your Head

I wanted to say something about how strokes can affect people mentally (or do they?) My thoughts about this are a little incoherent, so I hope as I type that they make sense.

I remember when I first came out of hospital, I felt somewhat divorced from reality, as if I were in some kind of perpetual dream. Nothing felt "real". I put this down to two possible causes: (i) the stroke itself, or (ii) the fact that the stroke landed me in the artificial environment of a hospital, where you're so looked after, for five weeks. I did have half such a discussion about this, with a guy who once spent a long period in hospital, he didn't experience this, so I'm guessing the former.

It doesn't surprise me in many ways. I used to be a keen photographer, and I would often put some kind of filter on the lens, to change subsequent photographs. Stroke is exactly like that. You need to add a "filter" into the loop, just to ensure that you process things as you did before. I've discussed this with another survivor, so I feel on quite solid ground here.

One of the ways in which this is noticeable is that the stroke has made me very "me"-centric. How will something affect me, for example? You have to remind yourself to consider other people. I still feel this, to this day. And it makes me particularly considerate of stroke partners, who get zero attention or support, but who have to live with the survivor.

My assumption is that this too is caused by stroke - which is,after all, a brain injury - although I am able to see this "me-centricness" in non-stroke people easily enough. In fact, the thing which prompted me to write this post was ostensibly a programme about how nursing has changed over time (which seems a worthy topic), but which instead seemed to be the presenter's vanity project. This woman's mother had been a nurse, so the programme had a very personal slant to it. Inoffensive enough, but not particularly interesting for me. And a bit weird that this person is impersonating a nurse (presumably for all of ten minutes!), yet seemed to hog the limelight so much. I'm not sure I'd have a lot of time for her.

On a separate note, I have been given access to some kind of training site by the Stroke Association. Thus far, nothing further has been said to me, but I couldn't help but notice that some of the courses were marked as "mandatory". Further, these courses seem to be aimed at a particular browser, Google Chrome, which I found quite buggy (so I use Firefox instead). So I'll just ignore this site for now. If someone subsequently says "we'd like you to do this online course" then I suppose I'll need to think about whether I want to install software and change browsing habits. It does seem strange that something is marked as "mandatory", but is aimed only at a subset of all browsers. But for now, I merely make the observation.

Lastly, we have some relatives visiting next week, and the house is tidy (although full!). There's a limit to how much I can do these days before I have to retire knackered, but I've been working steadily over the last five or six weeks, and had a lot of help from my wife, so it is just a case now of keeping on top of things like cat poo (remember, one of them is quite messy) smothered anywhere. Our daughter has also asked to come and stay, which could spell "mess". But, as I smell furniture polish everywhere, I am sitting with my fingers crossed.