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Archive for February, 2012

Salsa dancing

I only mean that in salsa dancing, you take a step forward, then backward, then to the side, etc. That is where I am now & I keep putting off posting to determine if I’m actually ahead or behind or sideways or whatever. I still don’t have the answer but I’m posting anyway. So there. 🙂

My step(s) back:

I was working in the flight simulator (a small, confined space) and had to turn my head to look behind me to check out some info. I looked over my right shoulder, to about my 5 o’clock. I lost vision. Weird, so I turned back around and got it back. No big deal, right? When, oh when will I every learn?!

I had dizziness a few days later and finally told Bob about the loss of vision thing. He wasn’t thrilled with me so I got it checked out. I scheduled a cerebral angiogram (they pump dye into the arteries and check out the health of the arteries in the brain). The procedure was a pain (ha ha) and the doc claimed that I wouldn’t remember a thing (again, ha ha). I remember all of it. I remember that, apparently Versed makes me really super chatty. They couldn’t get me to shut up – “Ma’am, I just need you to be quiet for 30 seconds while I place this wire” Me about 3 seconds later: “How long is 30 seconds anyway? Why isn’t there a clock around here? What time is it? Is that my heart on the x-ray screen?” on and on. The poor guy. It was explained later that talking makes the arteries wiggle, making his job threading the wire up from my hip, through my heart, to my carotids to inject the dye, much harder. I’m nothing if not helpful (by ‘helpful’, I mean a pain in the ass, but you know that).

A month or so later, I had a seizure. I was sitting down and told Bob that I wasn’t feeling so well. Then BLAM! I face plant on the tile and when I didn’t answer Bob’s calls to see if I was okay, he came over and saw that I was face down on the floor, stiff, and grunting. He flipped me over and kept asking if I was okay. I starting hearing sounds, not recognizing them as language, then my vision starting coming back and I saw something over me. I didn’t recognize Bob at first, but then I did and I had *no clue* what was going on. We found out later that this is normal postictal (after a seizure) confusion. This is the third seizure in a year and the fourth since I stroked.

My appointment with the cardiologist to check my heart arteries was normal and I have a follow-up with a neurologist (in April) to see what may be going on.

Other steps back:

I want to articulate the other insidious aspects of life that really blew my self-confidence and self-esteem into smithereens.

The time issue that I mentioned in previous posts. The memory issues, attention issues, inability to hustle, my nemesis – the stairs, getting dressed, walking, driving (you would *not* believe how challenged your brain is when you simply move your hand from the top outside of the steering wheel to the bottom inside – it truly threw me for a loop when I did this without considering the effects), processing speed of thinking, depression, the changes in relationships, relating to people, use of gestures, general effect of anxiety, shoes (trying to put them on, getting them to stay on, trying to get them off). This list is incomplete. These are EVERY SINGLE DAY things. They beat you to a pulp. The successes are so small and rare, that they can’t compete with the negativity of daily failures. Hmmm…I wonder why I was so depressed and angry? It is so very beyond overwhelming. I don’t think you could possibly understand unless you went for, say, just 1 hour of having to think about every single move you made – every gesture, every conversation, every step, everyfreakingthing.

Okay, the last back thing – I have discovered a sinkhole in my memory that plagues me. I haven’t found the edges yet, but I remain hopeful that I will. There are somethings that somehow make it over or around the sinkhole and I remember them. Too many things fall right in. I can never tell which it will be. For instance, I need to know acronyms for work. Yes, really. You might not believe that the government uses acronyms, but I am here to tell you differently.

I need to use RVR for my work. I cannot remember what it stands for – I know what it is, but now what the acronym stands for (runway visual, something). LiDAR (light detection and ranging)? I know what that is. I never use it. Of course not. 🙂

Blah, blah, blah – whine, bitch, and cry. No one wants to hear about the negative stuff. So…

My steps forward!:

I am no longer an anxious freak about sleep. When I found out how important to brain healing that sleep is, I beat myself up over never giving my brain time to heal. So, I became super anxious about sleep. So bad, that one time Bob & I were watching a football game and enjoying it. I looked up and saw that it was 10:30. Thirty minutes PAST my bedtime! Horrors! I actually turned off the TV, turned off the light, and rushed to bed. Poor Bob was sitting on the couch in the dark wondering what just happened. I’ve come to terms with sleep now and it is so very freeing!

Time! I’m getting time figured out! Slowly, but I am and I’m so excited about it! For instance, I would actually refuse myself something if I felt like it was too far away to walk (we are talking maybe 50-100 feet here). Now. Now! Now, I was in the grocery store and saw a half-eaten banana discarded in the bread aisle. I actually picked it up and walked it to the customer service area. On my way back, I realized that I didn’t even give it a second thought. Awesome!

That ties into my walking improvement. I still have a bad day here or there when my foot won’t fully cooperate, but look at what I did at the grocery store!

Also tied in – I’m getting stronger. Previously, I had to keep in mind that one side of my body was consistently weaker, making for uncomfortable situations (trying to get on a high van loaded with pilots without help or picking something up with my left hand when my right is occupied). I’m getting stronger. I’m getting better.

All of these successes lead to more confidence without falsity. I think my first brush with confidence (with the work discussion mentioned before) was false. I wasn’t truly confident, but I really wanted to be. I’m getting better with that. Confidence comes, for me, from knowing that I know something/can do something without needing to push it in someone’s face. It’s coming, I tell ya (ha! See what I did there?!)

Getting out of my head more lets me focus on improving other things. I can relax more and worry less which makes work that much easier. I’m not constantly questioning myself as much. I contribute more.

I love this!

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