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I’m going to take myself on a date today.  I’m ignoring the fact that it’s Easter Sunday.  I have never in my life gone to a movie alone.  I always needed someone to come with me to do stuff and now – well now I really, really want someone else there.  My therapist said oh no that can’t be, you have to be OK with doing things alone, you have to get out of your comfort zone.  So I’m going with myself to a movie later.  I’m going to see a movie that is incredibly un-Easterly.  It will help me pretend that today isn’t a holiday.



To everyone in the whole wide world:  One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is that the only person that’s guaranteed to 100% never, ever leave you in this f’d up world is you so you better learn to like yourself.



I had 3 strokes.  One would’ve been enough but I always do things to excess so I opted to have 3 strokes.  I wasn’t satisfied with just 1, I needed more, I needed more stroke.  I often think if I would’ve been given the drug tPA, the clot busting drug that you can only give the patient within 3 hours of beginning symptoms, that I wouldn’t have so many problems.  BUT, I know a guy who was given tPA and it might have made him worse,  I also know a guy who was given tPA and has made a near full recovery.  So who knows if I’d be better, maybe I’d be worse.  Dean has done a lot of research on what to do in the first few hours of having a stroke.  You’re gonna have to diagnose the patient first though and not leave them lying in a bed for like 30 hours.


Going Down Steps with a Cane

In my last post I forgot how to describe how to go down the stairs with a cane, I only explained how to go up.  To go down, again remember “up with the good, down with the bad.”  So, to go down, take a step down first with the BAD leg at the same time as you bring down the cane, held with the opposite hand.  The cane side always does the same thing that the bad side is doing.  Then, step down to the same step with the GOOD leg.  It’s the opposite of what you do when going up stairs.  You’ll do the opposite of this in physical therapy to get that leg stronger.  I’ve said the word “opposite” 3 times in this post, I hope you’re not confused.



I wrote about how to safely go up and down steps.  I also wrote about the proper way to use a cane.  But I’ve never written about how to use a cane on steps.  Here ya go.  That first post I have linked is called “Up with the Good, Down with the Bad.”  Consider your cane a part of the BAD.  Whatever you do with the weaker leg, the cane, held by the opposite hand, does the same thing.  So to go up steps you would take a step up first leading with the GOOD leg, then at the same time bring up the bad leg and the cane to the same step.  You always, always, always want the cane to do the same thing as the bad leg because the bad leg needs that support.  Now, this is for safety.  Getting the bad leg stronger and back to normal function is an entirely different story.  But to be safe, this is how you do it.  If you are still walking with a walker – don’t use the walker on stairs.  I’ve seen this taught to people and I think it’s absolutely ridiculous.  There is no safe way to use a walker on stairs, especially for someone who has had a stroke.  If you are still using a walker, do not attempt to climb stairs that don’t have a railing to hold onto.  If there’s no railing, you might have to go up and down on your butt for a while.


Cool Website

I found this site on Robin’s blog.  This is awesome.  Go there.  Buy stuff.


Les Miserables

Yesterday me and my mom watched the movie Les Miserables.  If you’re a fan of the play, DO NOT watch this movie, you will be sorely disappointed.  I screamed a scream as time went by.


Therapeutic Touch

I’ve said before that I’ve learned A LOT in the last 2 years.  I used to think I could help anyone with back and neck pain.  I can help a lot of people, and did.  I can give some really good information.  The certification that I have and the way I used to treat back pain is a mostly hands off approach.  The certification I have taught me to teach patients about their problem, show them what to do, and then put the responsibility on them to do it a lot at home.  I think that part is awesome.  I love the idea of making people take responsibility for themselves.  HOWEVER, there is A LOT to be said for therapeutic touch.  Humans are not just a bunch of bones connected with tendons and ligaments.  That’s pretty much how I viewed the human body before the stroke.  I was very mechanical minded.  Well that has changed drastically.  Drastically.


Another story to make you laugh…..

I do speech therapy at a university so the person that treats me is a student clinician.  So on Tuesday I had speech therapy and I was doing(saying) some exercise and she asked “How do you think that was?”  I answered “that sucked!”  We both cracked up and then I told her not to say that to patients.  I used to say things like that all the time to my patients but as a patient sometimes I’m not in the mood to hear something like that.  Most of the time I am because I laugh at myself a lot but sometimes I’m in a terrible mood and wouldn’t want to hear something like that in jest.  So gage your patient’s mood.  I think it’s probably a whole lot different in the orthopedic population because my patients always loved me and laughed when I would say things like that but you probably shouldn’t say that to a neuro patient who probably has a ton of mental issues.  Until you know them pretty well at least, maybe you can say something like that.


To make you laugh…..

I started a support group for young stroke survivors in Pittsburgh because nothing like that existed here and last night we had a meeting.  So this guy was telling a story about bowling with a woman who sucks at bowling and he said “And she was a normal person!”  Hahaha, that cracked me up.



I went to the gym yesterday and the lady at the front desk asked “Are you limping?  Do you have a sprained ankle or something?”  HA, I wish!  I wish that the reason for my weird gait was a sprained ankle.  So I told her my sob story and like everyone else in the whole world she looked horrified and said “Oh my God you’re so young.”  Yeah yeah yeah.  So then she asked “Has anyone shown you our vibration machine?”  You know that machine that vibrates that women used to strap themselves into to make them lose weight?  A scene from the movie Blast from the Past comes to mind.  Funny movie.  That’s what this thing was like.  You stand on a big vibrating plate and do exercises.  Now, if I got on it I would get insanely dizzy and puke.  Actually I’d probably be thrown across the room.  But she said that when doing exercises on the vibrating thing it activates the central nervous system more.  I never learned anything about this nor have I come across it in my research since having a stroke.  But maybe it works, who the hell knows?



I kinda think I know everything.  🙂  I don’t honestly think that but I act that way sometimes in an attempt to be funny.  I hope people find me funny and not annoying.  But if I annoy you I don’t care, then don’t hang out with me, I am who I am.  Anyway, yesterday I went to a class.  I have to go to classes every once in a while to keep my PT license active.  Who knows what the future holds for me but I’m keeping my license active.   So I did one yesterday, it was my first continuing education since the stroke.  The title of the class was STROKE RECOVERY.  Now, one – I think I know everything.  Two – I think I know EVERYTHING about recovering from a stroke.  So I half expected to be annoyed yesterday.  I wasn’t.  The instructor of the course was this guy.   He really knows what he’s talking about.  In the last 2 years I have talked to NO ONE that gets it except stroke survivors.  Peter gets it.  Buy his book.



I was just on the phone with my best friend and she said something awesome.  You know the phrase “time heals all wounds?”  Well, I don’t think that’s true.  Time won’t heal certain stuff.  She said “time doesn’t make things better, it makes it different.”  So true.



Thank you Vicki for getting me through last week.  To all disabled people – you don’t owe ANYONE ANYTHING.  Don’t fall into the trap, like I did, of thinking that you have to do something because of everything that was done for you.  Unless you specifically asked someone to do something for you, you owe nothing in return.  This was a big lesson for me to learn.  If you love someone, you take care of them when they are sick and don’t ever, ever throw it back in their faces.  That’s how the world works.  Hopefully, everything that was/is done for you to help you is out of the goodness of that person’s heart, but it might not be.  Just try not to feel guilty about anything.  You didn’t choose to get sick and it feels good to help out another human being.  I would know, I was in a helping profession.  So there’s no reason to feel guilty, you’re making other people feel good by letting them help you.  🙂  Like I said, you owe nothing to anyone, but please pay it forward.


2 Years

Tomorrow is my 2 year stroke anniversary.  I was told that there will come a day when I don’t think about the stroke anniversary.  Well, that day is certainly not today.  So, I’m getting the hell out of Pittsburgh.  I don’t want to be anywhere near Pittsburgh tomorrow.  So I’m going to Florida to visit my friend Vicki.  Here’s the view from my apartment right now……

view apartment

Here’s where I’ll be tonight…….

vicki backyard