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Archive for November, 2006

Working it

Ah…to not have the pressures of finishing a dissertation…ah… lol_2.gif

It feels nice to know that I don’t have that hanging over my head constantly. In its place, I have STROKE RECOVERY as the large block sitting on my shoulders that I will get to on a part time basis. As with the dissertation, STROKE RECOVERY is such a large task that it seems impossible to accomplish, I will probably avoid it intermittently but tackle it in the end and persevere. When I am not overwhelmed with the idea of it, I tend to think of it like a cold or the flu – something that I will work through and come out healthy on the other side of it. Obviously none of us know if this is possible or even a healthy way of thinking but I think that I can do it & that it will be done, someday.

I recognize that it is important to be happy with one’s accomplishments while being mindful and respectful of other people’s continued struggles. I mull this over often as I, too, get frustrated when someone compares their TIA or mild stroke with my stroke (especially if they have no lasting or permanent effects that I continue to work through) since every stroke is different. However, I think it is ignorant to get frustrated with those who do recover with ease or with no permanent effects of their stroke because it is important to acknowledge that they are within the realm of the stroke survivor distribution. We need to include those who have died, those whose recovery have been stunted, those who get some but not all mobility back, those who have only slight but lasting effects, and those who recover fully. Along this dimension, it is also important to include massive strokes all the way to TIAs.

I guess that I am saying that while we can’t compare, it is important to acknowledge and include. Although I cannot possibly compare my situation to that of someone who is wheelchair-bound, my feelings are and situation is all I know – I can’t compare but neither can you. You can’t possibly know of my struggles and I cannot know yours – as goes the human condition, wanting to share but unable to compare.

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Hmmm…

Bob & I went to see the cartoon movie “Happy Feet” – very cute with always-entertaining Robin Williams. The movie has a message about human waste in general (litter & over-farming of fish) but the thing that got me thinking most was wondering if I can dance again. I am almost scared to find out. I used to love to dance. Bob & I spent months learning the Tango and Cha-cha for our wedding. It was easy for me and so much fun. I will wait until I shed some pounds so that if I can dance, it is easier for me and if I can’t, I know it isn’t just because I gained weight in the last year.

We went to the local Crash-A-Rama last night or as the announcer liked to say, the Craysh-uh-rahmah. The accent really cracked me up. It was tons of fun. They have school bus figure 8 races, boat trailer and camper races, compact car demo derby, and larger car demo derby. It started at 8 pm and lasted for almost 5 hours. Even though we are in Florida, it got down to the low 60’s, high 50’s and is such a damp cold that I was fairly frozen by midnight. It turns out that I still have temperature control problems. My affected side couldn’t warm up – my good leg didn’t want to touch my bad leg because of the temp differences! I was awake until 4 am because I just couldn’t get warm. My affected side couldn’t feel the warmth of the bed whatsoever. Bob finally woke up around 3 to help warm me up and I got warm enough to sleep finally! Eh, it was still worth it – darn fun & funny!

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Crashed and Finished!

Part 1:

To get some exercise in, I have decided to ride my bike in to work 2 days a week or more. Due to doctor’s appointments last week, I rode on Thursday and Friday. Since the university was closed on Friday but I still planned to go into work, I left later than usual. Traffic was much easier to deal with. I ride from our small development along the sidewalk to a local park with a bike path. At the park, there are posts/ballards (large PVC pipe filled with concrete) to prevent cars from entering the bike path near the YMCA. They are set about 5 feet apart and I weave in between them to shorten the biking distance. At least that is the plan…

On Friday, I went to weave between the posts but noticed a car on the street coming toward me. With my attention diverted and slightly spooked, I cut it too close to the post and caught my handlebar. This throws one to the ground very quickly. I had been clipping along at a pretty good speed too. I don’t remember crashing but I know I did. A couple people asked if I was okay. I convinced them that I was but I didn’t want to get up – I just want to relax and sleep for a little while. However, I got up and checked out my bike – the chain was off the gear and stuck betweeen the gear and the bike. I called Bob & told him what had happened, he decided to pick me up for lunch so that we could figure out what to do.

He was 1/2 hour away so I had some time to assess damage and discovered a really scraped up elbow and knee and I broke my helmet (thankfully I was wearing one!!). I also started confusing reality with, well…not so much reality like my dream from the night before, thinking I had done things that I hadn’t and whatnot. I must have really shaken my brain bucket but hard, huh?!

Bob fixed my bike, took me to lunch and dropped both me and my bike off at work so I could ‘get back up on the horse’ again. My ride home was unremarkable. I even decided to weave between the posts so that I knew that I could do it again. My neck was very sore on Saturday which, of course, concerned me so we stopped by a “Doc in the box” (CentraCare). The doctor seemed completely unfazed that I had a stroke and dismissed me after listening to my neck and not hearing any problem. Whew!

Part 2:

Speaking of ‘getting back up on the horse again’ – Bob & I signed up for the race that I was in last year when I stroked & we were decked out with our strokenet wristbands & I wore my Stroke Survivor shirt. Bob ran the 10k that I was to run last year & I ran/walked the 5k since I’m not yet ready for a 10k. This means getting up at 6 am and leaving by 6:30 to get there by 7 so that Bob can warm up and stretch. We were late AND got lost – Bob didn’t have much time at all to warm up or stretch but ran a good run at 54:39 I AM SO PROUD OF HIM.

The 10k started at 7:30 and the 5k (what I ran) started at 9:15 so I napped in the car while he ran. Then, we walked to the starting line of the 5k and he ran/walked it with me – saying that I ran it is embelishing to say the least – I jogged for a few minutes until my ankle got sore and walked, then ran and walked, ran a little more and walked until the 3 mile mark – then I ran it in. While finishing up, we recognized a few of the spectators – quite a few of the spectators! Many friends met us at the end to cheer us in! This really upped my adrenaline and made me sprint to the finish line I did it! I put that race to shame (well, with horrible time at 54:54) that beat me last year – yay!!

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Fun making memories

A couple of friends, Joel & Dan, visited this last weekend – both stewardesses (at least that is how I tease them – both males) flew in on Thursday evening. I took time off on Friday to visit with them. I dragged them to work with me to show them my office and introduce both to my advisor/boss. Then I ran a few errands while they suffered with me. I don’t think they had much fun Friday but I was thankful for the company. We met up with Bob for a great sushi dinner and watched a funny movie (Drop Dead Gorgeous) and copied the midwestern accent for the remainder of the weekend (oh crayap!). On Saturday, we tooled around for a bit and went to a bourbon-inspired party. I am not a bourbon drinker but had a jigger or so out of politeness. Then I had some other drink that we brought along (Mike’s hard apple or some such thing).

It felt as though we had stayed for hours & I hinted that it was time to go – it was only 9 pm! We went home and played Cranium (a board game) with Dan & I as one team and Bob & Joel as the opposing team. I get a bit too competitive for my own good and got frustrated when we were losing but both Joel & Dan were champs – they made the game such fun, in my opinion. Dan tried his hardest and had to put up with me. While trying to draw King Kong, I kept guessing something along the lines of the Three Little Pigs…poor Dan!

Joel & I have known each other for ages (~20 years or so) and we reminisced at the expense of both Dan & Bob. Old jokes and stories were told time and again with at least Joel and I laughing loudly. We went to breakfast on Sunday with some local friends as a graduation celebration. Delicious food and interesting conversation – it was almost painful to leave I was having such a good time.

We decided that a bike ride was in order – we have a tandem bike and Bob & I have our own bikes. Joel & Dan took the tandem and I led while Bob took up the rear. For some reason, I had difficulty mounting my bike. I hope it was just nerves of trying to get on with an audience but Bob had to help me. Sometimes my affected leg doesn’t stay on the pedal all that well, but it is doing loads better lately. We had a good time joking around and getting some exercise in at the same time. Poor Dan was the front person on the tandem and Joel tried to upset the bike a few times by throwing his weight around a bit. It is such a good thing that Dan has a good sense of humor.

We went to dinner and dropped them both off at the airport. It was good to have guests that didn’t depend on or expect us to entertain and give them a tour of Florida. Great weekend.

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