Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Re-entering Life and Re-visiting The Past

I had a dream last night that I could type using my left hand. It was slower than it used to be and a little bit awkward, but still reasonably fluid. I woke up this morning to find that was not the case. But I did manage to send my Dad a brief text message last week and I did use my (slow) left thumb to type part of it!

I still need to gain both strength in and control over the left arm, but we still aren't doing much with it because of the shoulder problems. I did notice in the mirror this morning that I am holding my shoulders more evenly whereas I had been carrying the right one much more tensely and higher up ever since I came home from the hospital (and maybe there too, though I couldn't see any mirror to find out). I am still holding it a bit high, and my left shoulder is slightly dropped, but the shoulders are visibly more even. I still tend to hold the left arm clawed and pulled up close to my chest unless I make a focused effort not to.

We had a big day yesterday, going to a lady's lunch with my mom's church, then surprising some friends with a visit (great hugs!), then going back and visiting the rehab hospital where I stayed last fall, then going to Bible study last night. Thanks to my mom and dad for driving me all those places! I have not had such a "normal" day of real life in nearly half a year!

I got to hug some of my favorite nurses and CNAs, see many of my therapists, talk with the medical transport guy who drove me to and from the hospital several times, and visit with my (Christian) doctor for about 1/2 hour. I still ask your prayer for T. - I did not see him yesterday, but he was a CNA who had especially touched my heart. Before I left the hospital he was expressing interest in finding a Christian church and his daughter had just broken her leg during her birth.

While there, another doctor (who had provided my weekend care) stopped by and was amazed at my progress. She kept shaking her head in disbelief and mumbling something about, "six strokes." She said when she had first seen me, she didn't expect me to recover. But she called me a "miracle" (maybe this will be a cracked open door for my regular doctor to share the Lord's power?) and said I was an example of hope for every stroke patient they have seen.

This is similar to the EMT who took me back to the regular hospital after my 4th, 5th and 6th strokes and before my stent surgeries. She had responded to the initial call when I had my first two biggest strokes and nearly die, though I was unconscious then and didn't actually meet her. I was feeling pretty rough when I headed back to the hospital this time. I explained to the EMTs that I had had 6 strokes, as most presumed from my uncontrollable head movements that I had been in a serious car accident. One of the ladies said she had responded to the first call and said I "looked so much better now." It made me realized that I must have looked truly horrible the first time around if this was "better."

We know that it is all by God's grace and to His glory that I've seen the improvement that I have! I hadn't realized how poor my prognosis  until the doctor revealed she hadn't expected to see recovery yesterday. And to think this was one of my rehab docs who didn't even meet me until over a month after the first strokes! I honestly still don't know what to think about where I had been, or why God has gifted me with such unmerited blessings in recovery! (Thank you all for your ongoing prayers!)

It seems painfully slow to me, especially when I talk to other patients who have had strokes and regained function in a matter of "days" or "weeks". But on the other side of the coin I know of others who have not regained from my extent of looses even in a year or more, if ever.

My mouth is a barometer for me as are my eyes.When I feel recovery is going, "too slowly" I remind myself that my tongue still feels burned and numb and I'm still fighting double vision - these are two areas I cannot change with any amount of therapy, so they are ongoing reminders of my brain injuries and reminders that no matter how much I fight, this is all going to take time! The weekend therapy doctor did mention yesterday that my eyes, while still not moving exactly together, are noticeably improved. Even I can see the difference in a mirror. My primary rehab doctor said it had pained her to see my eyes before.

I'm feeling stress in being in my 5th month of recovery, as several medical professional have told me that the majority of my healing will take place buy 6 months. I do not want to slow my progress forward! Many have told me that the deficits I have at one or two years will  be with me for life, but I've talked to stroke patients who are still seeing minor improvements after 10 years, so I am choosing to take their stories to heart over the "experts".

It sounds like the kids are having a blast at Disneyland. When they called me yesterday I asked J-Bear (6-year-old) if he was being a good obeyer. Instead of answering, he quickly changed the subject by saying, "I love you, Mom. Bye!" Rick said he was actually doing pretty good, so I guess the short attention span came from excitement, but it still was pretty funny. Another recent J. funny came when I was trying to talk to him about the strokes and using the experience to talk to him about the Lord. I found out how ineffective my talk had been when, at the end, he looked at me with huge, brown eyes and innocently blew my illustrations out of the water with, "But Mommy, you didn't go to Heaven after your stokes. You went to the hospital."

I'll post more, probably this afternoon or by the weekend, if I have anything to share about today's therapy or neurologist sppointmennts.

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