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Stroke Survivor - male
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About PaulNash

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  • Birthday 05/18/1958

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  1. Hi Heather Thanks for the encouragement. After the discussion, the shrink gave me a script for a different anti-depressant, which I filed away in my "emergencies only" file. She also referred me to a group in the hospital who do CBT, and I am starting on etc CBT course in a few weeks. In the meantime, my mood is actually somewhat positive; I guess that the experience with the sertraline persuaded me that I needed to take control of my life, or maybe it was just tincture of time. Or a short-term boost that kick some or other part of my brain into action. Whatever the reason, mood is improving and the CBT should make it even better. Plus I'm starting to run more consistently (not far, but every little bit helps) which helps my mood.
  2. My neurologist referred me to a psychiatrist to help me deal with depression. First things that the psychiatrist did was try to put me on anti-depressants ('cos that's what they do). She prescribed a sub-therapeutic dose (25mg/day) of sertraline. Took about 2 days before my skin started to itch so much that I would scratch until I was bleeding. Stopped the meds, itching kept on for another two weeks albeit less intense. Still scratching, but more gently so no blood-stained sheets any more. I've been on sertraline before, many years ago and higher therapeutic dose, with no significant side effects. Very weird, presumably the increased serotonin levels trigger some pathways or other to cause the itching. I'm seeing the shrink tomorrow, will try to persuade her to go with CBT or talk therapy instead -- it may be difficult to remember what happens in each session, but there should be fewer side-effects :-)
  3. In Toronto, I just asked the hospital and they gave me a couple of DVDs with all the images. Cost about $5 for the physical disks, the the rest was free, One of the many joys of a nationalized health service.
  4. Yup. My left vertebral is pretty much blocked by a dissection of the artery wall. Blood flow through the others seems to make up the shortfall. The blocked artery has a bunch more blood clots waiting to zip off into my brain, so if it stays blocked, I should be safe. Problems may well come if it ever unblocks -- blood flow + blood clots + brain = bad news. The medics all say that that is unlikely. Regarding bruises -- I had a choice between rat poison and Fragmin (injectable sub-cut, twice daily). The Fragmin left me looking like a pin-cushion crossed with the Valentine's Day Massacre, blood and bruises all over my stomach and thighs. A bit off-topic, though
  5. I've had a similar experience. Stroke three years ago, massive improvement in the first three months (mostly at Sy John's Rehab, learning to walk and balance again). I'm still seeing improvements, sometimes things go backwards and then forwards, but over time there has been a net gain. Sometimes I only realize a while later that things are a whole lot better than they were in some aspect. And sometimes I realize that the improvement is just an improved work-around (for example, setting and checking reminders on my phone is getting more automatic).
  6. The Canadian tax office are nowhere as polite. Nor is my wife :-). I've been trying to decipher my books for the last year, and amt hinging of sending a copy to the NSA for decryption, as they make no sense whatsoever. Canada Revenue just send a polite little note if you are late explaining that you now owe a huge amount in penalties. I love the red earth in the background of your photo -- I lived in Canberra for 3 years while my wife was at ANU. Hated Canberra, but loved the outback when we had time to travel. Just before we left we retraced the "Priscilla" route (with lots and lots of detours, not all on purpose) -- one of my best trips of all time!
  7. >> One of my coworkers was saying how useless I was because I'm on a small route. I get accused of milking my stroke. I'm afraid that I am not very good at sympathy -- I'm an engineer because I can cope with machines and numbers better than I can cope with humans. I'd love to be able to give you a ton of sympathy and make you feel better about yourself and your situation, but my personality just doesn't work that way (and never did). Sorry. So here goes with the practical stuff instead: They obviously do not have a clue what it is like. I have been quite lucky with work, but then again I do contract and freelance stuff and the folk who are nervous or think that I am slacking off have just dumped me. It has played havoc with my income, but at least my remaining customer base is fairly sympathetic and have come to understand that I cannot work as I did before. The one thing that has helped my mood more than anything else is mindfulness meditation -- sitting quietly, listening to my thoughts, acknowledging them and asking them to give me some peace. I do this twice a day (morning and evening) as a minimum, and grab 10 minutes to find a quiet spot if I'm feeling stressed during the day or at social occasions. Try to focus on the co-workers who are sympathetic. I don't know what your work situation is like, but I spent some time with a couple of colleagues and some of my clients to explain the impact of the deficits This was mostly over coffee, away from the office. Once they understood, they were able to help by reaching out to others who were being more aggressive, and also by giving me nudges from time to time. There was at least one person who made some nasty cracks about how lucky I was to have a partial disability insurance payout while still able to work. I was able to sit down with him (a while later, when I had calmed down) and explain what the impact was on my work life, home life and general state of mind. He stopped being rude to my face, and over time came to help me a fair amount as he understood what was happening. None of this happened overnight; all of these things take time. My stroke was two years ago, and I still get the wobblies when I forget to pace myself and get too fatigued. I still take umbrage when people (even my kids) make bad jokes about my deficits. I still feel nervous that people will see through the facade and decide that I am as useless as I feel at times. I still worry about being able to bring in my (smaller) share of the family income. When that happens, I try to remember that most people mercifully have not got a clue what we are going through, and that a lot of them mean well. I try to take things one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time (whatever I think I can cope with in the moment). Or I find a quiet spot to sit down and cry for a while, and then meditate and clear my mind if I can. I hope that things improve, and that you find some peace and acceptance. Also medication or counselling to help deal with mood issues.
  8. Hi Russ With quads as well as an older child, you must really have your hands full. I also had an arterial dissection about 2 years back, some damage (mostly vision and memory), but probably not as much as you. I also found that my personality (and mood) changed significantly. In my case, I became very withdrawn and depressed. Also major anxiety and a fair amount of anger. And super super sensitive to anything that I thought was aimed at my deficits. There are a couple of things that help. First (and probably biggest) is time. Also a very supportive family. Lots of exercise. Mindfulness meditation. And continually telling myself to let it go. It's easy to say, not so easy to do. What sort of horribleness have you been getting at work? I have generally found people to be sympathetic and helpful, reminding me tactfully when I forget things. I have lost a large number of clients, though (I'm a self-employed network engineer). Have you tried talking to people about the issues that you face? I tried to cover up for my memory holes initially, as I didn't want to scare everyone off. Once they saw that I was still able to get the job done, I was able to open up and be candid about my issues (memory, fatigue). I lost about half my client base, the remained have actually been very supportive, as I am now a human being not just a task list. You'll find a whole heap of people here who can give you far better advice than I can.
  9. Two years on (two years on January 10) I am fairly stable emotionally but still have bursts of despair, rage, misery. They pass. It's not fun when they hit, but I know now that they will pass, and they happen less and less frequently. Cognitively, am still seeing improvement from time to time. This seems to come in fits and starts, and also sometimes comes and goes. There is a long road ahead, but it gets better and easier as you progress along it. There are uphills and bumps, but they get smaller and smaller and shorter and shorter. So hang in there, look after yourself, and give yourself time. You don't have to be a victim, but remember that there is no "cure", just adaptation, so you need to treat yourself with care. Never give up, never give in. You'll get there in the end
  10. Hi Betsy It does get easier with time. I've been through the same stuff recently (still do at times now). However good I may be feeling or however much I think that I will remember because this is important and simple and just one thing, I write it down in a page-a-day diary. I have several that I lug around with me, one for work, one for home, one for my wife (extra-VIP-status), one for stuff that I want to do. I'll make time several times a day to go through my notes and update my calendar with things that have to happen on specific days or reminders about stuff. It is frustrating and chews up time, but I'm getting used to it. When I don't understand my notes, I find that people are not that surprised when I call them to say "we spoke earlier and I have a reminder by I don't understand what I wrote; can you please refresh me?". Half the time _they_ don't remember either! I think that we have tendency to romanticize just how good our memories were before the stroke, which is not to say that the deficits are not real and measurable. My other strategy is to ask them to email me a summary off the conversation with any specific to-do items in a list with dates. Most people that I deal with are pleasantly surprised by quite willing to do it, and even think that it is a good idea. And this is without explaining about memory deficits. When I talk to my disability insurers, I _always_ record the conversation (speakerphone & then record with a portable dictation thing), and let them know that I am recording. Apart from helping my memory, it also stops some of the bullying as they try to persuade me that I am all better now and they can stop paying. I feel for you (for all of us); it does suck, big time. I just hope that some of these ideas help. Paul
  11. Happy birthday! And may they get happier every year/ Looks like your planner is away out, unless you used a profile picture from when you were in your twenties :-)
  12. I rage from time to time, and am resigned at others, and feel grateful that I have as much function as I have at yet others. It varies, depending on circumstances, tiredness, stress, and so on. One thing that never fails to uplift me, however, is the banter on this board. Makes me feel quite privileged to be a member of this exclusive club, even if the entry fee is rather high :-)
  13. You must have the patience of Job not to have bitten their heads off.
  14. More nervous, hesitant, withdrawn than before. Far less willing to take risks. None of this is very surprising. It's only been 22 months, and I have noticed that I am a bit less withdrawn than 6 months ago, and I'm working on improving this. Fatigue, however, is still a killer, and pushes me right back into withdrawal mode. My wife would say that my personality has diminished since the stroke. My neurologist says that things will improve over time. He also says that things will never improve, so I guess that I can take my pick :-).
  15. Contact the local medical association's disciplinary committee to have a word with him. Apart from the issues of trying get him to listen, he might kill you and might kill someone else. He needs some to give him a swift kick in the *beep*. Or needs to lose his license.