Archive for February, 2008

Hello again from the land of frozen tundra, a.k.a. Central Illinois!

I have been here for 2 months now and have experienced an ice storm (not so much fun, especially on these seemingly new legs of mine), a snow storm (brrr!!), a thunderstorm (in the winter?!!), 65 degrees (short lived but enjoyed immensely), 17 degrees below zero (yuck. what else is there to say than that?), and tornadoes (again…in the winter?!!). Everyone here keeps saying that the weather isn’t “normal”. I’ve heard that so much that now I just roll my eyes at them and say “yeah, right”.

Bittersweet news:

I was on business travel to Birmingham, Alabama where the weather was fine (75 degrees, thank you very much!). I assisted in a study with people over the age of 75 using a computer and the internet to download a program. I met with very, VERY flirtatious 75 year old men that really made my day. I felt pretty darn good about myself – my swelled ego barely fit in the plane for the trip back. The bitter part was all the awkward situations that arise during travel that makes my stroke symptoms really stand out to me. Examples: taking off and putting on shoes for airport security; trying to manage a large step up into the Hertz bus while holding luggage; stowing luggage in the overhead bin with a weak arm & leg.

More on the bittersweet front:

I had an EMG done at my new neurologists office & wondered why my Orlando neurologist didn’t suggest it.

Procedure for a leg EMG:

(1) take off your snazzy slacks and shrug into a ridiculous pair of paper shorts.
(2) sit on an awkwardly short padded bench somehow comfortably and with some dignity in the cold office (good luck with that!).
(3) greet the technician while wearing nifty paper shorts.
(4) lie down on the short bench while your legs practically dangle off the end.
(5) have no worries while the technician applies little stickers to your foot and ankle.
(6) start to get a little concerned when the technician pulls out a 2-pronged device and cackles menacingly.
(7) try valiantly to keep from screeching as the technician shocks the heck out of your leg muscles…on your good leg.
(8) actually follow the technicians orders to switch sides so that he can shock your affected leg (gluttons for punishment apply here).
(9) continue to keep from yelping at each shock applied to the muscles of the leg (15-25 shocks per leg).
(10) sigh with relief when the technician says he is done and the neurologist will be in shortly.
(11) enjoy a reprieve of pain.
(12) greet the neurologist warmly now that the tough stuff is over.
(13) brace yourself when the neurologist and technician tell you to lay down again so that they can “hear” the electrical activity of your affected leg muscles.
(14) sweat profusely when the neurologist jabs a needle (thicker than an acupuncture needle but not a full sized injection needle) into your leg in 6 places and has you flex while the needle is stuck in your muscle.
(15) swear like a sailor at both the technician and neurologist.
(16) catch very little of what the neurologist is telling you while you recover from the torture.
(17) replay the conversation while putting on your business clothes and straightening out your new curly hairdo (thanks to the shocks).
(18) figure out that the neurologist said that the electrical activity in the affected side is good so recovery looks promising.
(19) smile in spite of the torture.
(20) enjoy the bittersweet office visit to your brand new neurologist.

I have met a wonderful woman here who owns a Pilates studio. I have a standing appointment with her on Saturdays so that I can strengthen my core which should increase my balance and confidence in my affected side. I am actually excited about life right now. I’m sure the feeling will fade but I am reveling in it right now!


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