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. As indicated by the domain name, I am based in the UK and the blog therefore has a UK bias - 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.

Sunday, 27 May 2018


I've been told I need to renew my PIP. One of the questions, I believe, is whether I can make a cup of tea.

Under normal circumstances, yes, I can easily make a cup of tea. But take this morning:

From my seat in the lounge, I decided that it was time to get my morning cuppa. So I got up and, because I try my best to tidy up after myself, took a bag full of rubbish to the bin, which is also in the kitchen.

Problem #1 - the kitchen bin was full. So I needed to tie the binbag up and take it out to the household bin. Bear in mind that I'm tying this thing one-handed, which is an art even to start with. And, in taking it outside, bear in mind again that I'm one-handed, so actions like carrying the bin bag, opening the front door into the porch, opening the porch door onto the driveway, opening the bin - these actions all have to be performed serially, I can't do them all at once.

I get the bag into the main bin and come back into the kitchen, the next task is a fresh bin bag. Again, I'd remind you that I'm one-handed (did you get that yet?), but I'll leave it to your imaginations to work out how exactly I got the new bag into the bin!

On to my tea. Problem #2 - the kettle's empty. A doddle, just fill it up again. Put on hold the thought that I should have checked this first, so that the water could have been boiling while I sorted the bin. I forgive myself these little things these days.

Problem #3 - the sink is full of dirty dishes, I can't get to the tap. So, I have to wash the dishes before I can fill the kettle.

Problem #4 - the draining board is also full, so there's no point washing anything just yet, because there's nowhere for it to dry. Fortunately, this task, I'm able to complete. I put the dishes away. I wash the other dishes.

Unfortunately, at this point, I have to take a break and go sit down. So I could reasonably say that on this occasion, no, I was not able to make a cup of tea! In fact I had to wait another half-hour, at least then everything was in-situ and I could just get on with it.

You might argue, with very good reason, that I didn't have to empty the bin, that I didn't have to wash the dishes. And you'd be right, but you'd be missing my point. My point is that my stroke has messed with my head such that I do have to. Does that seem anal to you? The trouble is, when the bin is full, the correct response is to take it out. When the sink is full, my correct response is to do the dishes, and so on. I'm not as good these days at making a decision which I know to be incorrect. And, does it surprise you that I treat such trivial matters as significant enough to mention in my blog? Welcome to my new life.

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