Saturday, January 28, 2012

There is No Try, Only Do

I posted a few months back about my follow-up neurology appointment. If you don’t remember or didn’t read it, here’s a recap:

Dr. No (that’s what we’ll call him) was nice but told me I’d never walk, write or work like a normal person. I came home depressed and pissed off, hand wrote a fuck you letter which I posted to show you all what a dipshit he is, because um duh as you can see I just hand wrote a fuck you letter.

Fastforward a few months and it’s time to follow up with Dr. No. I was excited to make the appointment so I could show him that I can walk with a cane (he said I never would,) I can write so that my handwriting looks like it did before my stroke (although I still can’t feel my hand,) and I have taught myself to type 55 words per minute. I couldn’t wait to say, “BAM! IN YO’ FACE!”

Guess what happened. The hospital informed me that he doesn’t work there anymore. WHAT! Overwhelmed with mixed emotions, I quickly brought up the hospital’s website for a game of eenie-meenie-miney-moe because ah crap now I’ve got to pick a new neuro. This should be a good thing. This really could be a good thing. I get to pick one – a rare treat in the world of American HMOs. I can’t screw this up!

The girl on the phone helped me narrow down the choices, and I read their bios. Dr. #1 was a neuro who also belonged to the Board of Psychiatry (barf.) Dr. #2 was a neuro with a specialty noted only as “movement.” Dr. No had tried to push anti-depressants because he said all stroke patients suffer from depression and if I’m too sad I won’t push myself. Obviously, he’s not a golfer.

I’ve been called of a lot of things; “clinically depressed” is not one of them. Now weary of any doctor with a psych background, I chose the movement guy.

I met him last week. I love him. He was the complete opposite of the original neurologist. He heard me out, encouraged me to keep trying, and agreed that pills suck and I shouldn’t take anything that isn’t directly related to stroke prevention.

I will never be 100%. I can say that out loud, I can type it, and you know what? I’m ok with it. My stroke occurred in my brain stem. It is a bit different than other people’s strokes. Brain stem stroke survivors don’t usually have a good prognosis, and many of them never make it to where I am now. From that perspective, I’m pretty damn lucky. I will never be 100%. So what.

My new doctor knows I’ll never be back to my old self, but that was never the focus of our visit. He wanted to see what I could do, but even that wasn’t the focus. His main concern was what I want to do, and how he can help me do it. I can’t do a lot of things. It doesn’t mean I can’t do anything. I’ll continue to follow up with Dr. Do (yes that really is his name) and take it one step at a time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Sorcerer’s Stoned

I've been sick on and off for about 5 weeks now. I'm guessing that’s how long it has been because I've completely lost my concept of time. Hence, my blog has been neglected. Oh I’ve had all sorts of drug-induced material floating in my head. Of course now that I’m at the computer I can’t remember much of it. Damn shame because it was some good stuff. I did manage to read through all 7 Harry Potter books for the first time. My mind is still blown. Perhaps it’s Harry’s fault that I haven’t posted. Yeah that’s it.

I suppose some of you are expecting an update on my recovery. Well I’m pleased to announce that on Christmas morning (or maybe the next day – I was high) I suddenly felt saucy and decided to forgo the shower bench. That’s right. I took a shower like a normal person. No bench, no safety bars, no help. In retrospect I probably should have informed someone just in case it went badly but what the hell. I did it! Stepping over the wall of the tub to get in and out is tricky. I admit that while getting out I started to fall over, but thankfully there’s plenty of wall there to break my fall. I managed to ricochet like a pinball back into upright position. Then I did exactly what you’re thinking I would do: I held the towel around me half-assed, did the cabbage patch with my good arm and hobbled to the top of the stairwell to yell down to my family my glorious news! It was a Christmas miracle! OK maybe not, but it felt awesome.

The shower bench is still set aside in my room just in case I have a bad day and need it, but so far it’s become another clothes rack. I still have the wheelchair I came home with too. I haven’t used it in months. Same deal with the walker. I’m really afraid to let these things go. I feel like if I get rid of them, I’ve suddenly made this declaration that I am healed. Don’t get me wrong – I want to be healed. There is just this sense of safety in knowing that I’m not. I have this fear that if I appear to be healed, no one will understand why my body and mind betray me. It’s as if hanging on to these things is the last thing saving me from being thrown to the wolves. I hope I’m making sense. I should probably mention the Tylenol+Codeine I took a little while ago. (I’ve got a damn ear infection if you must know.)

Getting sick repeatedly over the last several weeks has knocked me off track as far as a daily routine. I went quite a while without stretching my spastic shoulder. Surprisingly, I’m not doing so badly. I’ve lost some range due to stiffness but I feel like I can move it with decent precision. It is possible that this strength and confidence is a byproduct of the codeine, but I’m ok with that. Apparently it’s 2012 now. If it wasn’t for my phone I wouldn’t know that. Well cheers. I need a nap.