Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stroke Resources

Following my conversation with Karen yesterday, I started googling stroke survivor groups this morning. On a positive note I found one fairly locally that meets Monday morning at guess where? McDonald's. So I can add to my cholesterol, salt and refined corn sugar intakes while I discuss surviving what these have helped to cause. I won't write group off yet but it is starting on shaky footing.

As I have mentioned before you start with a cardio-pulmonary problem and you are left with brain injury. Because of the vastness of the brain, this affects everyone differently. My dad lost his peripheral vision or more on one side. I lost some of the ability to speak and lost some coordination on the right side. There is no set pattern of what goes, no set treatment for what is lost and no set recommended recovery. I was besieged by Physical Therapists and Occupational
Therapists in the hospital, but I could walk a straight line, climb stairs and get a fork to my mouth.

I really couldn't tell what fine motor skills I had lost as there were no outside world tests in the hospital. The night I came home I was dying for a plate of pasta, and probably made a linguine with clam sauce, a favorite. Cooking was doable but when it came to eating, I found pasta running down my face and had a very hard time dealing with the strings in my mouth. When I finally got to have my first beer, I couldn't drink from the bottle with out some running down the side of my face.

A lot of this was helped by a few sessions with a speech therapist, something I never got in the hospital. Surprisingly this was limited. Once I was given the okay to drive I lost my in home services and coverage for them because I was mobile. I also had progressed to a point where speech therapy considered me cured enough, they wouldn't make strides, there were only subtle changes that I could see. But I didn't feel cured.

In my last appointment with my doctor, he said I had made most of the physical progress I would make with speaking and mouth control. Yes it would continue, but I was mostly healed. I understand this, the rest is mental, getting the words out, the way I eat and more. These will take longer to heal and reconnect.

Some time I am going to leave what I actually type as an entry, instead of the corrections as I go. Typing is easier than speaking sometimes but has its own set of problems. My right hand tends to miss where it is supposed to go. Some of that may be from the incident which left a scar across that hand, requiring a plastic surgeon to reattach some tendons and may have damaged more. That was close to 15 years ago so I don't think that is the cause. I learned and relearned to keyboard on a variety keyboards and laptops. (One of these days I want to get a portable typewriter just to try it again. I wonder where you find them? Ebay? But I digress.)

With the President's health care bill passing and listening to some of the fallout I have to note another problem noted with stroke care. Sadly stroke is a problem which predominately effects the African American community. Yes, upper middle class whites also get them but not on a regular basis. The way this is pointed out is sad at best. It is a disease that affects humans and each one differently. I don't even know if you can call it a disease. It is complicated and troubling and can leave a devastating aftermath. While there are known causes, it can strike anyone for no reason and leave them changed in ways they can't comprehend.

I will keep looking for stroke resources and maybe start a few of my own. It's the least I can do.

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