I’m pretty smart.  One of the biggest things that annoyed me, and still annoys me to this day – you know what, A LOT of stuff has annoyed me.  A LOT.  I mean I had a stroke at age 30, that’s pretty annoying.  But this has been one of the biggest annoyances.  I lost nothing cognitively.  I was not affected cognitively whatsoever.  But a lot of people treated me like I was.  I can certainly understand being treated that way the first few months because my brain was recently massively injured – that’s gonna cause some immediate cognitive issues.  But after a few months, my cognition was fine.  I still said and did weird shit, couldn’t help it, but I wasn’t stupid – I was injured.  Don’t treat someone like they are any less intelligent, they’re not.  You have absolutely NO idea what’s going on in their head.

Categories: Brain stuff, Recovery, Stroke stuff

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26 replies

  1. Couldn’t agree more! Just as a precursor, Zack passed his cognition test with flying colors…knew some of the answers quicker than I could. Today my grandma, bless her heart, said to Zack, in a slow loud tone, “hi honey, it’s vava. do you know who I am?” hahaha Poor guy. Yes. He may look a little funny with the crazy eyes and sound kinda weird with slurred speech but he knows who you are, woman. She’s old. I can have grace for her. Who I did NOT have grace for, however, was the speech therapist he had in the ICU right after surgery when he could barely talk. She asked me in private, “does he…umm….know..that he pulled out his feeding tube?” YES, lady. He was annoyed at being poked and prodded for nearly two months…and that is one thing he could control. I seriously have a whole new understanding and sympathy for people who are mentally impaired in any way. Zack is treated differently, at least initially, every time.

    • I was in a bar probably like 9 months after my stroke and a guy who I’ve known since college came up to me and said “hi, remember me? I’m (insert first and last name).” OMG that pissed me off!!!
      I would be really pissed that a speech therapist said that. If anyone should “know,” it’s a speech therapist.

  2. Hear, hear or is it Here, here? Maybe Here, hear?

  3. I don’t know what to reply so I’m just gonna type a bunch of exclamation points to add emphasis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. After watching one of the amazing Aimee Mullins TED Talks during a Communication Club meeting, we discussed “disability” and one of the members said she didn’t feel disabled until someone on staff at the hospital treated her like she was. Until that moment, she hadn’t considered herself “disabled” at all even though she was well aware that her speech was very different after her stroke. That was enlightening to me. I know I have consciously tried to never treat someone who has suffered a stroke or brain injury differently than I would a family member or friend but I’m guessing I haven’t always been successful. I hope I have never made anyone feel disabled or less intelligent.

  5. I feel like I did lose some cognitively, but my insight and ability to judge what was wrong was spot on past maybe the first few weeks. My husband always says I’m smart as ever….but I know I’m different. I think slower….I hate it. But proving I was competent to be independent was really important to me. They had suggested 24/7 supervision for me upon hospital discharge. It was a long, frustrating road proving my competence. Yes, I’m safe now….just not quite as smart…good thing I started with some to spare. :0 I might not fare so well if there was a round two. Yikes!

  6. “I wasn’t stupid – I was injured.” Perfectly said.

  7. Another point: at first I felt like I was in a fog; it was mostly frustrating trying to work because I couldn’t do some things that were easy for
    Me before, like ordering a mailing list. I even called the company for help, but couldn’t communicate properly. My boss ended up doing it, which was awful to ask when I was trying to prove I was competent.

    • Oh yeah, I was in a fog for a while. And for a long time what was in my head, which was always perfectly correct, didn’t match what came out of my mouth, which sometimes was very wrong and innaproppriate.

  8. I think people misunderstand the fog as a cognitive issue. I’ve tried to explain it like the fog new parents are in for the first several months after a baby is born. They are still considered competent, they are still allowed to work and make decisions and are treated like normal human beings…they are just a little foggy.

  9. The thingt hat gets me maddest is when people ask ” what happened to her” right in front of me as though I cannot hear! i could wipe the floor with most of these people. I’ve forgotten more than they will ever know, but I’m working on a way to put them in their place! I think people should know better, ignorance is no excuse.

    • That happened to me a lot, and it pissed me off like you wouldn’t believe. That doesn’t happen anymore.

      • I worked with a few people who were in wheelchairs and I always made a point of looking them right in the eye and treatiing them as if there was no chair, asking if they wanted help, I guess I expect a lot from people, how crazy of me! I retained much of my treasure trove of useless info like the fact that there are only 4 s-es in scrabbl eso there!

    • In the grocery store, a woman asked me,”what happened?” Instead of saying, “None of your effing business,” I said,” I had a stroke.” She persisted,” No, I mean what happened to your leg?”

      Again in the grocery store (what is it about grocery stores?), a man said, “That [indicating my leg] looks like it hurts.” I answered, “No, it doesn’t. I had a stroke, but I’m fine now.”

      Should I be doing stroke education in the grocery store? Seriously?

      If I were in a wheelchair in public (even in a grocery store), would anyone even dream of walking up to me and asking what happened to me, how I ended up unable to walk? I hope people aren’t that rude and insensitive.

      • Good point! No one would ask that of someone in a wheelchair. I hope. Yeah maybe your grocery store needs a stroke/sensitivity class to be offered. 🙂

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