When you hear of people suffering from a stroke you have no idea just how badly this has affected them. It can be totally debilitating or may not have any obvious effects at all. Consequently stroke recovery will happen over different time spans for different people.
My brother was found unconscious in the back yard by a neighbour. In hospital they did a CT scan and told him that he had suffered a stroke. Apart from the fact that he was unconscious, he had no other effects at all, even though he said he felt more tired than usual.
When finally my sister in law agreed to see a doctor because she was not well at all, they discovered that she had suffered around 200 mini strokes. She was losing the use of her brain, but her family thought this was because of the heavy dringing she did.
When I had my stroke I could not understand what was being said to me. The next day I discovered that I could not read and that was devastating for me as I was an author. However, the ‘Alexia without Agraphia’ that I suffered from enabled me to write, even though I could not read what I had written! But even worse for me was that the medical team also discovered that I had a tumour in the brain. As the tumour was life threatening, it made the stroke seem pretty insignificant.
While in hospital my husband and I set up a chart to measure my problems and successes so that I could assess just how well I was recovering. I wanted a list of all the changes as they occurred. It was important to me that I was able to assess my recovery step by step. I made other lists too: what could I still do (as opposed to what I used to be able to do) and concentrated on those skills I still had. Another list was made up of all the tasks I really wanted to be able to do and what challenges I would have to face so that I could accomplish them.
As soon as my strength came back and I did not feel so weak, I set about trying to do the things I used to do. I was somewhat slower but I was determined to do the house chore I liked to do e.g. preparing meals and let others take over the chores I did not like e.g. doing the dishes. I managed to use the computer again, but could only concentrate for a couple of hours at a time. But that was OK – I just had to train myself not to feel guilty about taking a longer lunch, or having a snooze in the middle of the day.
I had to take care of myself so that I could still do what I wanted to. I realised that I could really do anything I wanted; I just had to figure out ‘how’. It soothes the soul to know that we can achieve a life that we enjoy and feel comfortable with. Accept that your life might be different in some ways and enjoy what you can still do. Have this attitude and your stroke recovery time will be lessened.
If you would like to know more about how I coped with my disabilities and how I remained positive and highly motivated, you can read my book.
Tips and Hints
Don’t be impatient about how long you are taking to reach a goal. Keep a chart of just what you do and how you do it. Adding numbers to your achievements makes you feel as though you are achieving and getting closer to your full recovery. My husband has had a full knee replacement and he has to finally reach 130 degrees of movement in the knee. His first measurement was 50, then 70, 80 and now there is 95 degrees of movement. Slowly but surely he is getting there and so will you. Meause your progress and feel proud of your achievement.