Yesterday was World Stroke Day and a bunch of stroke bloggers did some kind of post on their blog about something having to do with strokes. I did a post about it being National Cat Day. Oops. Oh well, I like cats much, much, much more than strokes.
Today is National Cat Day. I spend a lot of time talking about my dog but I also have a cat. I love the hell out of my cat. My cat’s name is Kitty and here’s why…..A few months before the stroke my secretary found a kitten in front of her house. I took this kitten home without the intention of keeping it. For the first few months of having the kitten I didn’t know what to call her so I called her ‘Kitty.’ Two months later I had a stroke. I was in the hospital a while and when I came home from the hospital my brain was all stroke-addled and I definitely wasn’t gonna come up with a name for my cat then so I was like “F*** it you’re Kitty.” Now, I couldn’t imagine life without her and I’m SOOOOO glad I kept her.
Barb told me that she has developed a real aversion to germs since her stroke and she wasn’t like that pre-stroke. My friend told me that pre-stroke she loved salty snacks and didn’t like sweets. Now, post-stroke it’s the opposite. Now, she loves sweets and doesn’t like salty snacks. I don’t think anything like this changed for me. All of my taste buds seem to crave the same things and my pet peeves are pretty much all the same. I think. Maybe other people in my life would tell you otherwise. The best thing that I was ever told by a neurologist is that I have a different brain now than I had before the stroke. Everything else that I was told by a neurologist – well, sigh. So, I guess changes like this are attributable to us having a different brain now.
A muscle has to complete its full action. Everyone thinks of the biceps as the muscle that bends the elbow. But part of its job is also to supinate the hand(turn the palm upward). If you turn the palm down and bend the elbow, you’re shutting off the biceps and using a muscle called the brachioradialis to bend the elbow. This is because you’re not allowing the biceps to complete its full action so it doesn’t do anything. This is why doing a pull-up is easier with your palms facing you. With muscles, it’s all or nothing. Muscles don’t compromise with you. Another example of this are the glutes(butt muscles). When you’re lying prone on your stomach and do a press up, not a push-up, a press-up(lifting up your upper body with your arms keeping your lower body on the ground), your butt is probably contracted. Part of the job of the gluteus maximus is to externally rotate the hip(point the toe out). So, when lying prone(on your stomach), if you point your toes in, this shuts off the glutes and they will not be recruited at all when doing a press up. After a stroke, I have no idea. This would still be the case for some muscles but maybe not for all because all the wires are different as a result of us having to rewire the brain.
There was a search term on my stats page that said “11 months after a stroke any more recovery.” I just wanted to tell whoever wrote that – Good God yes, A LOT more recovery, A LOT. You’re a baby in the stroke recovery process, literally.
My one and only reason for wanting to remain in Pittsburgh is gone. I’m back to wanting to get the hell out of this town….Thank you Victoria for the picture and link. 🙂
This actress really annoys me…………….
My life was devastated. That happened to ME and ME alone. A lot of other people’s lives were greatly affected by what happened to me but the actual trauma – that was mine and only mine. It didn’t happen to my parents, it didn’t happen to my significant other at the time, it happened to ME. I spent A LOT of time feeling incredibly guilty for all the help people gave me and things that people did for me but never again. It feels good to help people and I have realized that I am the one who got sick, I am the one who was extremely vulnerable, I am the one whose life was shattered, I am the one who had to find reasons to keep on living and make my life better. And I got very little help in this endeavour. I was told after the stroke that I was being extremely selfish. Saying that to me was unbelievably cruel but you know what, maybe I was. That’s the way I had to be and all really sick people have to be. You have to be extremely selfish and put yourself first if you have any chance of recovering.
I need some cheering up right now. I don’t know why a cat with a permanent frown on its face makes me laugh so much but it does. Here…….these pictures cheered me up……
I had dinner with a friend tonight who brought along another friend. This friend of my friend’s happens to be a speech therapist. She knows that I had a stroke and was asking me some questions. I explained my anger at my first speech therapist and his not teaching me anything about the breath. At first, she explained to me that education of the breath is lacking in speech therapy school, which is ridiculous. Then I told her the name of my speech disorder, Dysarthria. She said “I didn’t know it was Dysarthria. And he didn’t teach you diaphragmatic breathing? That’s like speech therapy 101 when it comes to treating Dysarthria.” The look on her face was one of horror. I saw this guy for the first 5 months after my stroke which is a CRITICAL period of time for a stroke survivor because those first 6 months are when the most spontaneous recovery occurs and when neurons are coming back “online.” I’ll NEVER get those 6 months back. They’re gone forever. I am very, very angry about this. You better get ready initial outpatient speech therapist of mine, I’m coming for ya.
For everyone that has a blog……Do you ever check your spam folder? There’s some funny stuff in there. I check it every few weeks because a couple of times comments were erroneously marked as spam so were not published. I just checked it and was cracking up! 🙂
I had lunch with Dean a few weeks ago and he told me that he never experienced dizziness after his stroke. I was shocked by that. I had it so bad that I used to not be able to lie down on my back without a pillow supporting my head. If I tried to lay down without my head being up at a little bit of an angle I would puke. I thought this was just a given for a stroke survivor – some degree of dizziness. But I guess not. The person that I mentioned above had a very interesting article on his blog about dancers and their brains having adapted and not getting dizzy due to all the spinning. I think I need to take dancing lessons. Now THAT would be funny. I’ll incorporate dancing into my singing lessons, it would be a riot. I would probably get famous if I taped that and put it on YouTube.
I’ve been told by multiple stroke survivors that they must have had it a lot worse than me. I know quite well what I look like now – but that’s now. If you would’ve seen me 2 years ago, 2 1/2 years ago – that would not be a thought in your head. This blog is getting pretty popular and I kinda feel like I’m establishing myself as an authority on strokes online so I feel like this needs to be said. After the strokes(3), I could not walk, I could barely talk, my ataxia and tremor were so bad that my entire body would shake and I would sit on my right hand. I had an unnecessarily completely shaved head due to my brain surgery. I had to be showered by someone, I had to be taken to the bathroom. Turning my head made me dizzy. I could only drink out of cups that had a lid on them, even using my “good” hand. If that wasn’t the case the walls would get a shower. I had to be fed for the first month. I would get debilitating migraines every week that would last for 3 days and make me vomit. And throughout all of this, I was completely cognitively intact on the inside but NO ONE treated me as such. I looked like hell and felt even worse. I was told by an extremely arrogant neurologist at a year and a half that my recovery was over. I mailed that doctor a copy of Stronger After Stroke and said “please read this book and stop saying that to patients.” I HIGHLY doubt he read it.
Well I pretty much said “F that, I’m not living like this.” There’s a reason that I look good and that reason is meditation. If I hadn’t been doing this work on my brain for the last 2 years then I don’t know what. If I ever work again as a PT, I want to work rehabilitating stroke survivors(I wonder what my motivation for that could be) and meditation will be a mandatory part of recovery.
Please go here for a better, affordable alternative to learning Transcendental Meditation.
Ok, now that I’ve vented and gotten some anger out – here…… laugh. 🙂
You know the phrase “you have to pick your battles?” That is a huge, gross, enormous, gigantic understatement. Take it from me, most fights – so not worth fighting.
I mean it, Dean. I’m gonna go live in a cave.