Mar 10, 2016

Can't Do's and Can Do's: A Stroke Survivor's Thoughts

I was in one of those moods recently, a gloomy day sitting by the useless sliding doors that lead out to the decent-sized balcony. That's what put me in the mood to begin with, those useless sliding doors that you need two hands to operate. My son, who is 6'1", strong as an ox, and also has two hands, had trouble opening them, even with 3-In-One Household Oil applied.

So I started making a mental list of all the things I can't and can do anymore. My depression left me 4 years ago, and it was almost 7 years post-stroke, so I wasn't in jeopardy of succumbing to depression again. My right arm is paralyzed from my hemorrhagic stroke, and I use it for a visual aid. Ergo, the can't and can.

Besides opening those sliding doors, here's the favorite list of 10 can't do's:
  • Clap at a good performance (slapping my thigh wouldn't be heard above the thunderous crowd)
  • Knit my sons scarves (even with the imperfections)
  • Play the piano (I know, I know, there are pieces for only the left hand, and I wish I had a dollar for all the people who told me that, but the piano is supposed to be played with two hands, knucklehead)
  • Run like the wind (it's all relative)
  • Cook something that isn't a sandwich (I always dropped things so I gave up)
  • Open a package or a bottle without using my teeth (my dentist would kill me)
  • Go to a buffet (it's self-explanatory))
  • Do a manicure by myself (I could paint the right hand, but the left? Smear, smear, smear....)
  • Style my hair (scary when I let it air dry)
  • Read a paperback book (the book sometimes closes involuntarily and I lose my place)
Here's the favorite list of 10 can do's:
Me with the can do's
  • Enjoy a movie (I can still hear)
  • Sing along with Pandora (my best app for music on the iPhone)
  • Drink water (I couldn't until recently because of the stroke. I coughed violently; now easy peasy because I trained my throat with diluted ginger ale, adding more and more water)
  • Ride my recumbent bike (I do 50 minutes, almost my goal of an hour)
  • Tie my shoelaces one-handed (albeit slowly but impressive)
  • Feel comfortable in my skin (I don't know when that happened, but I'm glad it did)
  • Walk through the halls (because I can)
  • Pour my own tea from a manageable pot (I have a routine that just took some practice --take the tea of the burner, and have the cup at the ready, and put the tea on another cool burner. Amazon:
  • Commune with nature (in short walks)
And this is my very favorite of all:
  • WRITE THIS BLOG (I'm not a touch typist anymore, but I'm also not in a rush)