Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mrs. Dash can suck it.

It's no secret that waking up paralysed makes one suddenly realize how much we take for granted. Apparently what I have is considered a form of paralysis. For about 3 weeks now I've been telling everyone "no, I'm not paralyzed I just can't really move." Um duh, Gellie. It wasn't until I saw a copy of my off work order that read "hemiparesis" that the light bulb went off. I'm paralysed.

Sure I'm gaining movement. I'm no Christopher Reeves but its slowly sinking in I'm the "D" word. I can move my arm - not with ease, but I can move it. I can make a fist - not to hold anything, but I can sort of clench it. I can't walk, but I can move my leg. I can stand with a walker and take very wobbly steps. Still wheelchair-bound for the most part. So that's the obvious. Those are things that scare us: not walking, writing, brushing teeth with the hand you're meant to. But what doesn't occur to you until you've lost these abilities is all the other little things taken from you.

For the past 22dys a whole team of people have been putting my things away for me, drying my hair, moving my phone charger to a "logical" place, and you know what? It blows. They put my shit where I can't reach it and don't dry my hair right so it wets my back so I can't slip on a sports bra because it bunches up and sticks to my skin which makes me short of breath which makes me dizzy so I have to stop what I'm doing even if a boob is still hanging out to catch my breath so I don't keel over. Right about the same time some unsuspecting nurse assistant waltzes in to check your blood sugar and feed you colorful meds that you don't even know the names of.

Ah hell. This wasn't supposed to be a rant. This may all sound trivial. But when this is every moment of everyday of your life you can't help but wonder when the fuck will I gain some autonomy over my own life again.

I can deal with watching local channels instead of cable, decaf instead of coffee which I learned the hard way makes me ill, and I've even learned to write with my left-hand. Not pretty or fast, but I can do it.

Funny. My carefree hippie self used to think that people who allowed themselves to be naked in front of others were so free. Now it feels like I won't be free until I can go a full 24hrs without someone seeing me naked.

Oh and salt. I must say that going 22dys with almost zero salt is enlightening. It has made me realize that I LOVE SALT! FOR FUCK'S SAKE, PASS THE DAMN SALT! Mrs. Dash can suck it. No really, this wasn't supposed to be a rant.

Monday, June 27, 2011


At 6am this morning, I was snug as a bug in my bed (which is rare when you're partially paralysed) and BAM! go the lights. Not one, dim, respectful light but all the goddamn lights. I hear a loud, boisterous, annoying voice say:

Ms. Kim! Ms. Kim! Good morning!

Me: *makes very nasty face, clenches fist, contemplates knuckle sandwich allocation*

CNA: *still too fucking loud* I'm here to check your blood sugar!

Me: *continues nasty face and slightly opens eyes*

CNA: Oh good! You're awake! Hi, I'm Comfort!

I'll let that stew for a moment. Her name...her friggin COMFORT!

I can be a patient person. Not because I'm patient on the inside, but more because I don't like confrontation and I don't like to make people feel stupid. Even if they are really, really stupid. Every morning between 5-6am, nurse assistants make the rounds for vitals. Why oh why oh why they feel it is necessary to flick on ALL the lights and announce themselves as if preparing for a public speech is beyond me. This is just about every morning by the way. Some mornings I get lucky and the CNA remembers my I'm-about-to-kick-your-ass face and proceeds with a little more discretion. Something tells me Ms. Comfort isn't too bright. Which means the lights will be. *facepalm*

On a brighter note, there's been a new patient here who's a grumpy old man who always has a scowl on his face. It makes me smile. I think because he's so damn grumpy he looks like a character in a funny movie. He throws me dirty looks whenever I make eye contact with him. Maybe being surrounded by sick people is a constant reminder that he's in a fucked up situation. Today they put me next to him at the lunch table. I left him alone. At first. By his 2nd bite he was dropping his 5th f-bomb and there, in that moment, I knew we were gonna be friends. I love mean old people who swear.

He kept eating, mumbling under his breath, and I realized he was struggling with a packet of Mrs. Dash. "Ah fuck," he muttered. I leaned towards him and said "those things are a pain in the ass, I know!" I prepared myself to be told off for not minding my business. His stern face slowly looked up at me and LAUGHED! I made Mr. Crabbypants laugh! WINNING!!

Now if I can just get Comfort to leave me the fuck alone.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


I saw my boy today. He's talking more now. It really hit home how much I'm missing. Like Rip van Winkle living in a cave, life goes on without me only I'm not sleeping. I sit in this room most of the day catching glimpses of real life thru short phone calls and tidbits shared online by friends. I don't really get to immerse myself in what's going on, but rather skim the highlights like customized Cliff Notes written on the fly. As a parent its hard to not feel like the bond with your child may be somehow compromised in a situation like this. Family crises lead to inevitable spoiling that just might be more appealing than a date with your crippled mom. I wheeled myself to the restroom and when I shut the door, I could hear my son frantically call out "Mama? Mama?" He thought I left without him. I called out to let him know I was still there and then quietly wept before coming out to join them. It was the first time I had ever heard genuine worry in my baby's voice. Oh mom guilt is a mindfuck. But I also felt empowered to know that he hasn't drifted from me at all. If anything he stuck by my side more today than ever. I'll be going home to him soon. And in the meantime I'll snuggle up to Cliff Notes if that's all I can get.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Short Bus

I just can't do it .I was invited by the activities director to go to a street fair tonight. But alas it is not shower day. I don't have my wallet. And truthfully I just can't get on the short bus.

I've been out and about many times and have seen special needs adults out on a group outing. We've all seen them. Our hearts go out to them for trying so hard and we're happy for them getting out to do something fun. I always make eye contact and smile in an effort to do my part to make them feel normal. But that's them. That's their plight. That's not me. I just can't do it. I just can't get wheeled around in a wheelchair by a stranger in public while passers by stare at me with pity and wonder how the hell I ended up on the short bus. I'm wondering the same damn thing. I'm not vain. But I'm not "special". And I'm not ready to consider myself handicapped. This is temporary. Fucking temporary.

The Low-Down

I'm 32. I'm a suburban wife and mom of an insane almost 2yr old. I work a corporate job by day and rock out at home with my  husband by night. We're a fairly typical Offbeat family.

Two weeks ago I woke up like I do every morning at 5am. I was a little dizzy and my right arm felt a  little weird. I've been diabetic since I was 8 years old so waking up feeling a little off isn't that unusual. I also have carpal tunnel so my arm feeling tingly isn't that weird. I showered, dressed and went to the dentist for my 6month cleaning. When I left, the dizziness was a bit worse. I hadn't had breakfast so naturally I figured I had to eat. Off to Subway I went for a quick English muffin and a cup o Joe. It was about 9am at this point and I had to get to the office. I got on the freeway and drove about 15 miles to work. When I got out of the car, I swayed and had to steady my balance before making the trek across the parking lot then thru the massive office building to my cubicle. I checked my blood sugar to make sure I wasn't hypoglycemic. I wasn't.

I made it to my desk and endured some friendly razzing for being late. A co-worker noticed I kept holding my forehead. I can't quite explain it but I didn't have a headache. It was more like my eyes couldn't focus. I worked for a couple of hours and as I wrote things down my right arm (yes I'm right-handed) started to feel numb and tight in different spots. Well because we're good little tools our company rewarded us with a visit from the Hot Dog on a Stick truck. Hot damn. Free corn dogs and lemonade complete with the bouncing teenage girls in those stupid Tweedle Dee get-ups. I stood up to go all the way back out to the parking lot. As I'm typing this I'm realizing how crazy this sounds. No, I don't love corn dogs that much. I just really thought my body was off from waiting too long for breakfast and then chugging coffee. So I went to grab my free corn dog in hopes of chatting with my friends before getting back to my stressful day. By the time the girl in the stupid hat gave me my order, I knew something was terribly wrong. I walked as fast as I could back thru the building all the way to my desk. I remember telling myself to not stop or slow down. I feared if I did I would topple over. I made it.

I sat down, and true to myself cracked a few lame jokes about the processed junk food the Man used to appease us. I stood up to grab something and stumbled. Then came the tears. I looked at my co-worker over the cubicle wall and she knew by my expression I just wasn't ok. She told me to call my husband and go. And I did.

I waited in the lobby for my husband to get there, as I knew I couldn't get behind the wheel again. I screwed around on Facebook to pass the time. When he got there we still didn't go to the ER. I went home first to decide what to do. When you're 32, the word "stroke" just doesn't occur to you. At least to me it didn't. Hell, other than dizzy spells and a tingly arm I was functioning fairly well. It took 3 phone calls but I got in to see my regular Dr. She couldn't figure out what is was either. She said "I don't think you're having a stroke but I think its best if I call an ambulance to take you to the hospital. They'll have the equipment to rule it out."

A WHAT?! Did she just say the "s" word! I don't even really know what a stroke is. It's some messed up shit that makes old people's faces melt and their handwriting all shaky. My face isn't melted. I can write just fine!

In the ER a CT Scan revealed "something." The medical term - I swear I'm not joking - is "non specific". Yeah. Thanks for clearing that up. I thought I had a tumor. What the hell else could it be. Double vision had set in to the point I was getting vertigo. I called my husband who by this time had taken my son home. I had asked him to go ahead and leave because our little one missed his nap and we were approaching meltdown. I let him know that we still knew nothing and I'd be admitted.

This post is already so freakin long so I'm going to give you the rest in a nutshell. I awoke the next morning in the hospital still with double vision, funny feeling but functioning arm and now a funny feeling foot. I was admitted Tues night. By Thu I couldn't walk anymore. They brought me a form to sign and I dropped the pen. I couldn't hold a fork or text on my  touch screen phone with my right hand anymore. By Fri it was realized that my stroke had never stopped.

After much bureaucracy that I won't get into, I was moved to a critical care unit and started on a Heparin drip. Heparin is an aggressive blood thinner and I was to remain on it for 5 straight days. Within 12 hours I finally stabilized. I didn't get better but I stopped getting worse. After 8 full days in the hospital I was transferred to a rehabilitation facility.

I've been here 8 days now. Still can't walk or write but the aggressive physical therapy is making a difference. I plan to blog as I make this journey. And to those of you who read along, I thank you for giving a shit. I promise my future posts won't be so damn long. Peace.