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scottm

Back in a class

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I set myself a challenge to take the advanced navigation class I hadn't had a chance to take before the stroke. I'm on my 3rd week and struggling but moving fprward. It's all based on basic math, no trig or advanced math but I'm having the hardest time framing the problem before I start solving it. 90 - 22 turns into 5 minutes of refreshing myself what the numbers mean and how to apply the -. Then I can start.

 

It's hard to explain to someone how hard it is...well also knowing I used to do some pretty advanced calculations. I was just working a time distance dead reckoning plot and I came away feeling like an idiot, it is a trivial problem. I think I need a dunce cap.

 

 

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I can relate to what kind of math problems you must be facing, Scott.  I was an aerospace engineer and probably have had to face a gazillion types of math problems while I was in school.  One thing I learned early on is solving for most math problems follow a similar format. . . first, identify all your variables then, solve for what is unknown.   I'm sure you already knew that!  Good luck in your class!  

 

(Did you know a gazillion is actually a number?  It means a lot!) 

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Instead of a dunce cap,how about a :bravo:round of applause for stepping out of your comfort zone, and meeting your challenges head-on? 

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What I found to be very useful is keeping a good journal. By Journal, it is very descriptive especially including how medication affecting me as well as keeping track of long term changes which is difficult to track on a daily basis.  For all my issues, it has been primarily sensory (vision, vestibular, auditory, balance, touch) ; however to my amazement, there is a memory issue especially heavily dense story lines on TV series.  I am surprised how much memory gap that I have after rewatching these shows 1 year after as though I am watching for the first time.  Now, you bring an important measure in evaluating my cognition via math problems. I know that there are resources like Luminosity but I can also pull my Physics and Math books from the garage.  So, my plan is to test myself at least 3 times a year to monitor whether any changes to cognition as well as memory tests.  The key parameter is how to objectively self evaluate. 

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I have so much admiration for you. Going back to school or a class after a stroke is something I only wish but I'm not confident enough to go for it.  So it may take you a few more minutes to get on the right path, so what, you are doing twice the effort. You are amazing!!

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In the end I had to drop the class due to my inability to process numbers, it is a form of acalcula, in my case I have acquired dyslexia specific to numbers and loss of placeholding. Essentially I can't read more that 2 digits in a row because they keep changing position, and understand where they fit value wise. But it has a name and from what I have read there is therapy for it, some people even return to high-school level math. So I won's be doing differential equations again but I can perhaps relearn how to do navigational chart work eventually. No number is larger than 360 and there is only +, - and fractions and decimal points involved.

 

We have to learn to compensate for and sometimes just plain accept our limitations. Doesn't mean we have to like it, but getting upset is pointless. Having an emotional outburst and anger about some deficit isn't going to change anything, it is still there. Accept it for what it is and you can start to recover and find new ways to cope. Not better or worse, just different. Be that person your friends and acquaintances talk about because you never give up, not because you did.

 

Now, where did I put my slide rule...:oops:

 

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"We have to learn to compensate for and sometimes just plain accept our limitations. Doesn't mean we have to like it, but getting upset is pointless. Having an emotional outburst and anger about some deficit isn't going to change anything, it is still there. Accept it for what it is and you can start to recover and find new ways to cope. Not better or worse, just different. Be that person your friends and acquaintances talk about because you never give up, not because you did." 

 

Scott, that is a beautiful quote!  I feel inspired!  (Hope you find your slide rule....)

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Scott I am intensely empathetic because I had to drop out of classes And quit my job. I hate the pity surrounding it but I appreciate the caring st the same time. I am jealous of how others progressed in life now years later and how people still say how young I am. I have problems with words jumping around and numbers. I read with one eye best and up close. When I color I have my nose in the book. 

I miss reading novels for pleasure.and the current best seller. and working at a job I loved and being in an enviable position with dreams of doing something building upon something that was meaningful and creating myself along the way. I feel like a block tower that was toppled over. I just watched everything go. My books. My work tools. my perfect desk. I use a simple tablet now or my phone. one eye is tiring.

 

But yes we survivors can endure this. We watch ourselves come back from the black hole. Tiny improvements are reason to celebrate. The shock of it in the beginning is like being on another planet. Who am I. But we discover with all that is stripped away WE are still here. Moments Alive are precious. Celebrate what we can still do because we know how easily it can just be gone.

 

And know you are not alone in this unjustness of the universe. It is unnatural to witness our brains unlearning things.

 

Watch the movie Brain on Fire.

 

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Realising your limitations is different to dropping out.

 

Glad you realised your limits before the course you were doing swallowed you whole.

 

One thing about having a go, well two things really:

 

1. You now know, instead of wondering if you should have a go.

 

2.  You had a go.

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I was in school full time when this stroke hit a month ago, I too kept going for 2 weeks, took the midterms and then dropped all but one class (the one I had the highest points in) hoping to at least PASS this one, when in the past I have been on the deans list every semester.  I do ok with the "right here and now" questions, but have to keep referring to the essay or question the I am supposed to be answering, because I forget what I'm doing all the time.  As far as the tests go....I failed all of them.  I just can't remember, or learn new things anymore.  I'm still hoping to get my degree, and still pushing. But I was supposed to graduate in May of 2019, and now....who knows.  I'd hate to think that I acquired all this debt to have nothing to show for it, and not be able to work in my field when I am done.  But know I'm early in the process (of recovery) so I'm still forging ahead, just much more slowly than I wanted to.  If I take one class each semester and really, REALLY work at it and pass with at least a C....I can graduate in December of 2019.

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Rest, sleep and speech therapy are probably your best assets to use. Speech therapy is more of a cognitive therapy, it helped me a lot with my math deficit. I asked the therapist why it was called speech instead of cognitive therapy and she said it was because speech is the basis of a great deal of our cognitive ability's. Slow and steady...

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I can't agree with Scott more! Tarina I am looking forward to your progress. It will be a triumph and you will have a cheering section! 🙂

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I admire anyone who goes back to school after a stroke.  I don't have any cognitive damage, and I've thought about it, but I have way too much physical damage, I think. I'd be so exhausted by the time I got to class, I'd probably fall asleep. Talk about a waste of money and time!

Tarina, if that's really what you want to do, make that your goal, and start working on what you think will hold you back. Maybe try going for a semester of non-credit course(s) first, so you can find out where your problem areas will be.   Becky

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Scott- I don't get any therapies at all at this point.  I don't have insurance, and now that I have lost my job no money to pay for any either.  But...I do what I can.  I know when "my brain is tired" often way before my body ever is, I am barely understandable, monotone, stuttering, cant find words...its so frustrating.  I can type WAY better than I can talk.  That's why I am so glad to have found this support group.  I can actually "say" things...be heard and get some questions answered.

Tracy- thank you so much, your always so encouraging!

Becky- I'm almost done with school, I had been working (part time, to avoid paying for childcare-which was HALF of my check when I worked full time) and going to school full time, some of my classes are on-line.  The one I'm in now is...thank god. Because you are right, I get tired and overstimulated just going to my corner store these days.  I have made many adjustments to stay in school, for example, I write in a completely quiet room, that means at night when my kids are in bed (I used to like to listen to music while I worked).  I use an e-reader and headphones to read my texts to me, I hate the electronic voice but...modifications, right? I can't read more than a sentence or two before visually things bounce around and letters look sunk into the page or pop out in weird ways, and I get a horrible headache.  I even use the reader while I type to you guys, which is funny because when I misspell something it tries to pronounce it, gotta laugh...  I also work in the dark or very dim light with the computer screen blocking all blue light and turned way down, if I don't do that I see horizontal zigzags on the screen.  But my biggest issue is memory problems.  I failed both of my midterms- the one I did better in is the one class I stayed in.  I have to make sure that I get 100% on every assignment, because they are less overall points than the tests and I know I won't get a decent (or even passing) grade on any test I take until my brain heals.  I hope I can make it through.

Then, if the universe is willing, and I heal (and can drive again), I hope to be able to go back to work and make it worth it all.

I think I am being stubborn about this for emotional reasons.  I have lost so much of what I identify as "me", and I need to see a future where even a little part of "me" can exist in.  Someday I will do those recreational things that make me feel more like myself, but right now, I am worried about keeping a roof over my head, the heat on and food in my kids belly.... and that means staying in school, so that I can access student loans.  Disability takes so long to get...and I don't even know if I would qualify..... or even want to go that route, because I am damned determined to get back to being outside my house, doing things I love again!

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Dyslexia is more than a visual problem. It also applies to auditory and language stuff. Yes I feel your pain. I continued even when I learned how my brain stem stroke had caused visual and language problems.

 

My speech therapist recommended a big cognitive puzzle book that exercises our grey and white muscle. There are good ones online too.

I got hooked on online scrabble.

We need to retrain that is tough. Harder to do than the first time.

 

It is harder to be challenged with those baby steps than the bigger stuff we really want to do.

 

Take steps back breathe deliberate how what we exert our energies on.

 

I am stunned at what stroke robbed from me and amazed what my brain was capable of back in the day...shoot proud it was better than i thought. And every now and then I do a puzzle in a book. 

Did you know my podiatrist has a few kinds of those big puzzle books in his office with a a pencil tied to them with sticket that says DO NOT REMOVE. Isnt that neeto?

 

Well cherish what else our amazing brains can do...

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Tarina I suggest going to the disability services at school for accommodations such as extra time on tests and be encouraged. I too was identified by my degrees and cars. I still miss them. I am more tha n those things.

Be encouraged stay stubborn. It is different for everyone. Hold onto hope.

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Tarina I was thinking the same kind of thing I think as Pam (SassyBetsy). Look into the ADA provisions. I think they are proactive in other settings besides legal disability. My daughter has issues she sees a Psychiatrist for and I believe the ADA helps with her schooling...i.e. when she can't make it there or needs to leave or have less hours due to her issues. I'm not positive how it works but worth looking into.

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