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Archive for October, 2009

Bitterly thankful

As of late, I have been processing the realization that I am still waaaay too bitter about the stroke still. Now that I have recognized it, it is time to change it. It is reflected in so many of my posts and in my life. I honestly don’t know how Bob has put up with it. I’m sure he has justified it as something he didn’t experience and that I will ‘get through it’ so to speak. Actually, I haven’t asked him about it. I don’t think I want to know the answer.

I think that some people give me far too much leeway (Bob, Friend of Suvivor, family, etc.) and some don’t give me an inch (I have experienced the ‘you must not have it too badly if you can walk/talk/whatever’). I need something in between. The place where it is okay to be scared to do some stuff, but do it anyway with encouragement. I think I am the only one who can provide that place for myself. Why would I think it is anyone else’s responsibility?

To deal with the bitterness issue, I have decided to volunteer at the local hospital. I plan to ask if I can volunteer with stroke patients. I plan to create a pamphlet/brochure with information that wasn’t given to me when I left the hospital (sleep is very important, no stroke is the same & I am not a representative of all strokers, you have the right to be respected as a patient and survivor, etc.) and to lend an ear and give encouragement by example. I think this will be a good step toward being thankful and simply accepting my situation as is. I truly haven’t accepted where I am right now and how I got here.

So, you ask, why the “Bitterly thankful” title?

I realized late last night that I am thankful for the stroke for at least one thing – I used to have a terrible, awful itch in my left foot – about 2 inches down the center and it would bother me endlessly. I no longer have that itch! Woo! A video tape exists of me scratching furiously at my foot at a phantom itch. No reason for the itch, but it was a deep, beyond bothersome itch. I used to fantasize about taking a steak knife and plunging it into my foot. The only reason I didn’t is because it would be my luck to still have the itch and top it off with pain and then being unable to scratch it!

So, I am on my way to simply being Thankful without a side of bitter. No telling how long it will take or how many mistakes I will make along the way. I do think I will get there though.

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Bob & I are getting settled really well in the new house. Bob decided this was the weekend to paint the kitchen. Somehow, I had enough other things to do that I got out of that! happy.gif

One of the tasks was to (finally) organize our bedroom closet. I attacked it with fervor! As I was finishing up with the shelf and hangers, I found the running t-shirts from the November 13, 2005 10k race. I had a TIA at the starting line of that race and stroked a few hours later. I didn’t expect to find the shirts and they were so carefully folded and my running number placed with them. It really surprised and shocked me.

Even more surprising was the onslaught of emotions that resulted after the find. The shocking difference of November 12, 2005 and November 13, 2005 really hit me hard. How I so blatantly disregarded the TIA at the starting line. How I tried to convince Bob not to call 911. The pain and utter loneliness of the first few weeks of recovery. The passive thoughts of suicide (passive thoughts of suicide = wishing I hadn’t survived; active thoughts of suicide = planning or thinking about upcoming death). A colleague really helped me through that last part. He said “I’m so glad that you survived.” Much like myself, he is rather blunt, but honest. That helped more than he knows – thanks, Thomas!

I actually just had to stop organizing the closet to get out of the confined space and sort through my feelings. I didn’t get back to it and I suspect that I won’t for awhile. I have to calm down for a little while before I can tackle it again.

Sometimes reality really smacks you upside the head, doesn’t it?

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