Monotony

Thanks for a great weekend Barb and Tom!
Everything about post-stroke life is very monotonous.  Everything.  When I first had the stroke and for about a year and a half afterward my speech was incredibly monotone and I had an insanely flat affect.  I couldn’t express emotion.  I had emotions -and lots of them – but to the outside world it didn’t appear that way.  I think the only emotion the world could see was when I cried.  I cried all the time.  Now things are very very different.  I’m able to be very expressive.  My external voice matches my internal one.  For a long time, it did not.  During the first year or two after something like this, no matter where in the brain your injury was, I think something similar to this might be a problem not because of the area of the brain that was injured but because there was a major brain insult.  But I don’t know for sure.  I was not affected cognitively at all but it sure seemed like I was that first year because my brain as a whole was injured and recovering from being very swollen.  My brain just wasn’t right.  I mean my brain is still not right but the effects are much different now that I’m chronic.  But I wasn’t dumb or a different person, I was injured.

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Categories: Brain stuff, Recovery, Stroke stuff

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33 replies

  1. You’re welcome – it was fun to have you here.

  2. Every doctor prior to my stroke said that a brain injury took a year to heal or longer. Having a monotone voice was a major insult for me. I eventually got my cuties speaking to kitties voice back first in about six months and the rest is coming back slowly. I still after almost two years have not recovered my sarcastic intonations but that doesn’t stop me from trying. Yeah, and I’m wearing my “Me? Sarcastic? Never” t-shirt too.

  3. My voice wasn’t affected, so I pretty much sounded like me from day 1. I’m very grateful for this, but it did and still does mean that my friends and family have trouble understanding just how injured I was and still am. They make the assumption that because I am cognitively no different, that I’m still me, and fail to understand the emotional tole that hemiparesis has taken.
    Hip news for my tribe – Now two weeks post hip replacement and I am now doing much better. I can bear weight and I’m starting to walk using my dining room table for support. I expect to be back on the cane within a week or so. Still on some pain medication, but much less and it’s actually working now. The surgeon said it started as a stress fracture, so banging away at the repetitions was not the best approach for me clearly, and had I stopped when I was first in pain, it probably just would have healed on it’s own.
    So what is the right thing to do? Quantity or quality. We’re told that millions of reps are necessary to rewire but some of us clearly aren’t built for that.

    • It’s good to hear you’re doing better Julia. I wish I had some words of wisdom to impart regarding the million reps/capacity of joints issue, but I got nuthin. Like just about everything else about stroke, we all seem to be responsible for creating our own recovery strategy. I’m lucky that I have a YMCA close by with a pool that usually has open lanes for swimming. I know in urban areas that isn’t always the case.

      • Yes, Jim, recovery is a DIY project. My situation is a moderately damaged structure, needing targeted repair, certainly not a tear-down.

      • I actually have a pool in my building but swimming isn’t weight bearing so it does nothing for bone strength clearly something I need more of. It’s good for other stuff though.

        • Julia, although swimming is not weight-bearing, I have found walking in the water to help improve my gait – in fact, I can march in the shallow end and am working on walking without hanging onto anything (the side or a dumbbell); I think that’s helping my balance, even though I thought I didn’t have any balance issues. I think it helps me distribute my weight more evenly, rather than relying on my arthritic knee.

          It’s a relief to hear you’re able to furniture-walk.

    • That’s why everyone needs to meditate. It drastically cuts way down on the necessary repetitions.

  4. It was nice to meet you! I hope I didn’t make you uncomfortable by asking a lot of questions about your stroke.

    I hate the word “chronic” for stroke survivors. I’m still getting better, just more slowly than at first. Maybe I should use “evolving?”

  5. Glad you were able to get away for awhile and enjoy yourself, Amy. I imagine Barb is a generous and fun person to be around.

  6. Jim, thanks. Amy was a perfect guest.

  7. I think I was dumb that first year. I felt dumb, after awhile. I finally realized it. I said to my friends at one point “OMG is this what dumb ppl feel like?!?” Then my short term memory came back, focus came back, etc. It did take a year.

    As for my speech, I also was monotone. I remember my mom saying “now your voice goes up and down! It was always so high before. You sound more like how you used to!”

    Are we chronic? “Chronic?” 2 aneurysms and a stroke in the cerebellum. Am I considered chronic, then?

    • There’s certainly nothing that says. “After 2 weeks, 6 months, 2 years whatever you’re chronic. I call myself chronic but I agree with Grace, I kinda don’t like that term.

      • Sara, I get that. After 4 weeks a moronic neurologist gave me a psych test, which measured my IQ as 99. (My pre-stroke was quite high) I was feeling particularly stupid at the time I got the results. i was horrified and I thought,”so this is what the average person feels like? No wonder others find easy things to be difficult.” I was horrified, but my physiatrist told me to ignore the result – that the other doc had no sense if he thought it wasn’t far too early to measure anything.

        • Omg! I would be upset with that number, too! That is moronic. Well, the way u can look at that is how that number has grown. Four weeks out is so little time – actually, I still had tubes in me and was told I asked about the cat that was walking on the ceiling at 4 weeks out! I was a crazy person! am SO different now. I am certain that number will (has) grow and grow and grow….

    • At least your short term memory came back. I’m still waiting on that. Seeing how I’ve tested out for MENSA, I didn’t consider myself dumb, but normal. Of all the things I lost with my stroke, I miss my mind the most.

      I hate the word chronic too but it fits.

  8. Let’s come up with a word instead of chronic. It implies unremitting and unchangeable which is why I think we all hate it.

  9. I like “in recovery” but it’s a bit 12-steppy. Sort of like Stroke Survivors Anonymous.

  10. I thought I had posted a response to this days ago, apparently not. Technology fail, or human fail? We’ll never know because I have a terrible memory! Anywho…For the first time in many, many months, Amy, I am finally-maybe beginning to see this in Zack. He is in there…before I hoped he was and saw glimpses of him every now and again…now I am seeing him everyday. I am beginning to actually believe that a lot (definitely not all…because he does have some personality/cognitive side effects) of what I am seeing in him has to do with his physical side-effects. Thanks for the hope that you and the tribe bring to us everyday. ❤

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