Dec 30, 2013

David Letterman, New Year's Resolutions for a Stroke Survivor, and Other Things

It's New Year's Eve, for cryin' out loud. It seems I'm all over the place, but wait a minute. I promise focus.

David Letterman is a funny man. And "The Top Ten" lists don't hurt his image. Beginning in 1985 with "The Top Ten Things That Almost Rhyme With Peas," the lists still go on today. I'll wait for a promo of "The Top Ten," and if they're going to be on the show, I'll plan to watch them, but fatigue overtakes me sometimes and sleep is my go-to activity.

Anyway, almost 30 years later from "The Top Ten" inception, I decided to do my own, and these are my "Top Ten New Year's Resolutions for 2014," from this stroke survivor, in reverse order, inspired by Letterman:

10. I will accept the re-birthday expression that a lot of stroke survivors say even though I don't get it.
  9. I won't demean doctors in front of other people, but when I get them alone, watch out if they deserve it.
  8. I won't even think about going to Black Friday again.
  7. I will argue endlessly with therapists if they say my window for improvement closed after the first year.
  6. I promise to laugh at least once a day, because sadness all the time is counterproductive.
  5. I will support medical marijuana for pain always even though I don't use it.
  4. I won't abandon my pantiliners, just in case.
  3. I will never say "I had a fuckin'stroke" again, even when I'm frustrated.
  2. I will endorse people writing their stroke stories, too, even though it means competition.

And here's the number one of my stroke resolutions:
  1. I will always be grateful when I wake up to a new day.

So at the year's end, here's where I am, recovery-wise, after almost five years. I take bigger strides than I did before, using my lifeline, my quad cane. My arm is hemiplegic --paralyzed-- but I am getting back some shoulder movement that I didn't have before. I don't want to kill myself as I did right after the stroke that lasted, on the self-extermination issue, for one year. I don't have PLC --pathological laughing and crying-- anymore. All told, I'm better. But I have a long way to go. On the other hand, where am I going anyway?

Right before the year's end, I want to give a shout out to Ricky Brown for his blog, Even though his first name doesn't look like it, from an American's point of view, Ricky is Scottish and currently resides in Edinborough. He is very committed to stroke and recovery. If he ever returns to the states, I'll go to Brooklyn, his old haunt, to meet him. Thank you, Ricky, for sharing. And last but not least, I want to give kudos for Amy Shissler's blog, She offers many useful insights to stroke recovery. There are many more stroke blogs too numerous to mention. Google "stroke blog" and see what comes up!

And one last announcement: This is from Dr. Mario Trucillo of the American Recall Center, a brand new medical information site aimed at bringing consumers the most up-to-date FDA information in easy to understand, plain language terms.

"After suffering a stroke, one can easily become overwhelmed with questions about what comes next. From types of care are to prescription safety, caregivers and survivors are tasked with the responsibility of finding answers, without a clear solution on where to go first. The American Recall Center aims to make that easier.

"Our site provides news and safety alerts covering an expansive variety, from prescription drugs to hip replacements. Our goal is to take the wordy news and breakthroughs from the FDA and put them in plain-language, giving patients necessary information before they visit the doctor about their health and prescription drugs. It is our mission to empower individuals with trustworthy and easily-accessible information.

"A new feature that I’m especially proud to introduce is Patient Safety Alerts, a customizable notification system that sends updates to your inbox on the drugs that directly affect you. With this feature, you can check off the drug or medical device categories taken by you or someone you care for, and whenever the FDA issues a safety update on a drug/device in that category we will send you an update in our signature easy-to-understand terms. Save time and stress by signing up for Patient Safety Alerts and never worry about finding out about a recalled or unsafe drug too late again."

And this announcement is from me: Be safe and don't drink and drive in close proximity to each other. Happy New Year to all!