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Stroke Survivor - male
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Everything posted by PaulNash

  1. PaulNash


    I try to get as much exercise as I can; it usually lifts my mood enough to make life bearable. Unfortunately, when I get down, I start to lose the motivation, and so downward spiral until I give myself a serious slap.
  2. I have a note to look him up, have not had a chance yet. Life gets hectic, and my stamina is pretty low.
  3. PaulNash

    My heart is broken

    Thank you Heather. Just watched his broadcast; very moving and hits the nail fair and square on the head. Unfortunately, bigotry is all to easy, but even so, I cannot understand what drives people to do things like this.
  4. Hey Ed I try to focus on what is happening now, rather than what will or might happen in the future. I'm not that good at it, mind you, but I have realized that it's really easy to imagine a bleak future and forgot that things are OK now. That has been part of my social problem over the past year or two. I have been making a concerted effort to focus on the moment (how good things are right now, not how bad things might be in 10 minutes). People are bad at that; we've evolved to anticipate bad things and figure out how to deal with them, which is not always good.
  5. I had a vertebral dissection three years and a few days back, left me with a quadrantanopia and a badly damaged memory. Also fatigue, low self-esteem, and the other usual suspects. I am lucky. I have a supportive wife, who has acted as my guide and advocate through the medical system, come up with DIY rehab plans, looked for help for deficits, and generally done everything that she could to help. However, elephant in the room is conversation. Because of the memory issues, I find it hard to follow a conversation, to in company I tend to site to one side, listen and nod politely, and people are really happy (because they mostly want to talk). However, in one-on-one situations (especially with my wife, and especially x2 when she is upset and need support), I just sit there are think "what should I say", "what would be appropriate here", and just block. This makes her even more upset, she sounds off at me, I try harder and am less and less able to compose a sentence, much less a conversation. I know that these sorts of things can be overcome, and one can develop strategies to respond appropriately or even start a conversation, but I have no idea where to turn. In a work context, I can discuss technical matters quite happily, albeit referring to my notes. It's the personal stuff, and ESPECIALLY with my wife, because of the social aspects and also because they are fare more emotionally laden than the mundane stuff. If anyone has ideas about how to get started, or pointers to any resources about how to get past this, I would love to hear them. I'm at my wits' end and despairing about this. paul
  6. PaulNash

    Fitness Goals

    Any exercise beats none. Even just walking round the block, pull-ups. light weights. Whatever limbs still work. It's good metabolically and makes all the difference for mood. I can't do what I did before, but I do what I can
  7. PaulNash

    My heart is broken

    This is absolutely tragic. My heart goes out to all the family and friends of those killed or injured, and to the survivors. It must share them to their very core.
  8. PaulNash

    Weight Therapy

    Heather, that's what we did when I was a conscript many many years ago -- backpack and webbing filled with wet sand, then off for a 5 mike run. A really brutal way to get the us fit.
  9. To continue the thread hijack (because that's how conversations flow ...) Ed, I hear you and I feel for you. I'm in a similar position (details are different, but was the go-to person for anything that needed doing, understanding or fixing). I won't go into the litany of issues, just they are similar. Stroke was January 2016. I'm physically able but cognitively and visually impaired. I've only recently turned a corner, and understand that my family understand the struggle that I have day-today, still love me, still respect me, still rely on my but in different ways from before. I used to be the family historian (remembered everything in excruciating detail), now I can't remember a list of three things if I have to fetch them from the basement. But I am still a husband and a father, I still love and am loved. I am still learning this, and there are times (a lot of times) when I forget this. Your son may play ball with others now (this would probably have happened anyway), but you are still his father. And you are still alive. You have another role in his life now, which is to show him that however bad things may get (and he will understand that things are difficult and get more difficult at times), it is possible to persevere. Failing is NOT a problem. No longer being able to do things (drive fast, play ball, fix stuff) is NOT a problem. Giving up IS a problem. Depression, anxiety, irritability, even despair are all normal reactions to stroke (according to my health team). Being able to keep going is not always easy, but is the best lesson that you can give your son. He will admire, respect and love you all the more for the way you deal with adversity. Keep reminding yourself of this, and come here whenever you need a shoulder to cry on, or need to vent, or need advice. This is my home whenever I feel depressed (a LOT of the time), and it always cheers me up. You have our love and support (and, I am sure, that of your family)
  10. PaulNash

    Head Cold

    Hugs from me too. Kitty hugs sound like a great idea.
  11. Hi Tracy, I can relate to your reaction to the Medicare letter. I keep waiting for the next disaster to strike, and stress out every time I get a bank statement or any sort of contact from my disability insurance. I guess it is natural -- once one life-changing disaster has hit you out of the blue, you know that it can happen, and worry about whether and when it will happen again. No magic wand, but I understand and I feel for you.
  12. Hi Janelle Thanks for the sage words. I have started to come to much the same conclusion, and I think that that acceptance it is helping. I'm looking long and hard and coldly at who I now am, what I can do, and I am grieving the person that is lost. So be it. And, of course, these things take time. My 3-year anniversary was a few months back, which has hit us both. I've found that it's easier for me to talk to Linda when I am honest with myself. I still feel like crap much of the time, but I allow myself to. I'm still bad at being a husband, partner, soul-mate, friend, whatever, but I am starting to be less guilty and defensive, which improves how I relate to her, and she is starting to respond to that. I have never been good at accepting things as they are. It's what made me a great engineer -- I would always find a way to improve things, fix things, create something better. Which has shaped how I have been trying to deal with the effects of the stroke. Now that I am starting to accept the new me, I am also starting to feel less depressed (but still down there a lot of the time), be more open, and generally a better person. It's not that easy, but it does take a load off, and lets me start to look outwards rather than inward. I just hope that I can sustain this path. I am planning to do whatever I can to sustain it. I've also just read an interesting book that has helped with this path: Mark Manson's "Subtle Art of Not Giving a *beep*". He takes a while to get to his ultimate message, which is to focus on listening to, and accepting, the people who are important to you, and making sure that you are important to yourself. He bases this on his own life experiences and discovering Stoic philosophy (which does not mean "just suck it up"). A lot of the book rambles through his life history and all the things that went wrong; the meat at the end was really worthwhile, though, and has given me new hope and a shift in direction. I need to re-read and keep re-reading.
  13. Hi Ed I feel for you, want to make you feel better somehow. All I can say is that moods ebb and flow, doctors are not always right, and things change over time. I hope and pray that things (and especially mood) pick up for you quickly. Grief is natural, and takes time, and you have lost someone who is really important in your life -- a part of yourself. I tend to wallow in it. Let myself go, feel really bad, and just let it all wash over me; dig down so that it hurts more and more. This is probably just my personality, but after some time feeling more and more sorry for myself, I exhaust all the available misery and start to come out of it, feeling paradoxically refreshed. Strokes suck. Well, more like blow goats. There is no getting any from it. Day-to-day, all that we can do is try to focus on what still works, but that misery is still there and needs to be heard. We're with you. Please keep pouring out how you feel -- it really does seem to help being able to cope. Now onto the upbeat part. I still see a significant change in my mood, my level of acceptance, and my cognitive function. Right now, I'm also on a downward path, although nothing material has really changed. Part of this is the weather -- after three months of significant snowstorms, with all the gloom and icy roads and being cooped up inside, *everyone* that I know in Toronto is gloomy to a greater or lesser extent. It sounds trite, but when the sun comes out and the weather warms up and the snow melts and our internal clocks adjust to the (RANT) ridiculously stupid bad no-good daylight saving, things will mostly improve. Some of it is acceptance. As I get used to the idea that this is what my life is now like, and as the people around me get used to it, things get better. Or maybe just less worse. It doesn't matter; the effect is the sane. As the summer starts to set in, and as I get used to the new times and start to get some sleep again, I know that things will improve a bit. Yes, I know that I will still have bad days, but they are at their worst right now. In the meantime, I cry for you.
  14. It was great having the festive Christmas theme, very cheerful and jolly for the mid-winter gloom. However, I'm glad to have the old theme back again. I found that the busy-ness and colours made me tired quite quickly -- I don't know whether this is a general stroke thing or just because of the damage to my visual pathways. Also getting used to the different icons for "read"/"unread" took a while, but that's just probably just my borked memory. And a huge "thank you" for this site. I've said before (and will say again), it is a real (and literal) life-saver.
  15. PaulNash

    Head Cold

    Ohhh! That's terrible. I'm in tears just thinking about it. You poor thing.
  16. PaulNash

    Glad to have the old theme back

    I enjoy watching amateur hockey (here in Canada, you get "hockey" and "ball hockey") . The pro stuff is a bit too fast for me, although the junior leagues are impressive. I can sort-of skate, but I doubt that Linda would let me onto anything slippery. Field hockey is too violent for me; I used to play rugby at school in SA, where at least the ball was not solid.
  17. Nothing clever on my side, just a generic brain-fart. I'm slowly getting used to it 🙂. Family not so much ...
  18. PaulNash

    Glad to have the old theme back

    I find the snow a tad distracting, but not too bad. And I understand about the dissonance of the snow effects -- I grew up in South Africa and it was weird putting up fake snowmen in really hot weather. Now that I live in Canada, it's disconcerting seeing two feet of snow in the driveway :-). Snow has its positive effects -- shovelling the driveway is a solid workout that cannot be postponed. Snow is not had for walking through (think loose sand), but when there is a thaw/freeze cycle it turns to ice and that is tricky at the best of times, brutal when your balance is not great. I end up looking for the rough bits to walk on, or shuffle very slowly. I used to coach hockey when my kids were little (ice-hockey for non-Canadians :-)), and getting onto the beautifully-groomed and smooth and slick ice while wearing normal shoes taught me a lot about balance and shuffling across slippery surfaces. Good training for post-stroke winter :-).
  19. Oops. Yet Another Brain Fart -- I forgot who has the stroke :-(. Same basic idea, though: Keep it low-key so that you can cope, give yourself breaks to recover. And I agree with Tracy about sending him off somewhere with his friends, so that they can have an energetic and noisy time while you have a rest and get back on your feet.
  20. I agree with Tracy. A party is good, but try to see it low-key so that he doesn't get totally worn out. If there are different groups of people, try to space them out to allow recovery/nap time between them. It is clear that you care enormously and have quite a good handle on his limits, so I'm sure that you'll do a wonderful job and he will enjoy it.
  21. Hey Tom Yes, having a stroke sucks (and from what I have seen, having a partner with a stroke sucks equally), but unfortunately there is nothing that we can do to alter the past. This is a good place to let your hair down, get advice and comfort, and find a way to keep going. It can be hard at times (understatement) for all involved, but at least there is a group that understands what you are going through and can offer support, sympathy, advice and a shoulder to cry on. I'm not quite where Tracy is, but I'm also starting to accept that this is just how things are now. It takes time, but can be quite a relief.
  22. Sounds like you did an amazing job. Only opens for a single day at a time? That is brutal and so unfair to people who need it. Good luck, we're waiting to hear that you have a place and to hear when you are going to move. paul
  23. PaulNash

    Head Cold

    Not too bad on the illness front (probably because I take slightly better care of myself than I did before). Bruising was a major issue, and when I was on Fragmin I looked like a serious junkie, with bruising an bleeding around the injection sites (all in my stomach and thighs). Bruising is not as big an issue now (I's also more careful), but the slightest nick just keeps bleeding.
  24. Hey Janelle, hijacking is fine, just so long as it's not at gun-point :-). And this is *much* more interesting that my whingeing and whining. I also get the sensory over-stimulation thing, and find watching TV (for example) to be exhausting. Just closing my eyes and listening works fine, but gets me into trouble at big family gatherings. Linda gets seriously upset if I'm at a table with 20 other people with my eyes closed, but that's the only way that I can keep track of a conversation among all the noise. The alternative is to sit with my eyes open and let the conversations turn into noise that just sort of washes over me, which *beep* her off just as much. The *real* solution is not to go, but that's a total non-starter. Interesting, I can cope with symphony concerts with no problem (other than finding my way back to my seat after interval), while movies exhaust me. At least no-one notices that I've go my eyes closed because it is dark 🙂 And I share Tracy's abhorrence of large crowded spaces. I avoid them where possible, and have a technique for our local supermarket that works quite well for me: I park my trolley somewhere where it does not block an aisle, choose on or two items on my list, go and find them, bring them back to the trolley, cross them off the list, the choose another one or two. Lather, rinse, repeat. When I'm feeling fresh, I may try to remember 3 items, but that often means that I end up forgetting all of them :-(. I also try to shop REALLY early on a Saturday or Sunday, when everyone else is sleeping in, or in church or synagog, or something, and the place is a little bit quieter.
  25. Hi Tom, and welcome. I'm sorry that you had a reason to find us, glad that you did find us. I'm also a "small stroke" person. As Backy said, a stroke is a stroke, and wreaks havoc on your life and self, no matter how small. This is a wonderful community; you can cry, you can vent, you can get advice and you can commiserate. No-one will judge you for "only having a small stroke", and everyone here knows what the impact of a stroke can be. So join in the conversations, start new conversations, and welcome to the club. paul