Mema's Blog

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Trials, tribulations, and triumphs



I suffered my stroke on January 11, 2005 at 5:30 p.m. without warning. I was sitting at my computer when my left arm started to tingle painfully. I instantly knew what was happening so I turned my computer off and walked to the couch where my husband, Paul, was sitting. That was the last time I walked unassisted. I told him what was happening and to call 911. I could no longer walk or stand so he helped me lay on the floor until the ambulance arrived. I was in ICU for two weeks, acute rehab for a month, and in a nursing home (why are they called that?) for 5 looooong months for the therapy. I came home in August, 2005 and continued outpatient therapy for a few months until Medicare was cut off. In short, I have never recovered the use of my left arm or leg.


Now the point of this blog is to talk about some of my trials and tribulations. Today my wonderful husband decided he didn't want to cook and we would have KFC for lunch. We always have the 2-piece white meat dinner. Well, eating fried chicken with one hand is pretty messy to say the least, so I only do this at home. For me, eating out at a restaurant usually means shrimp or something I don't have to cut up. I really miss having a nice, juicy ribeye or T-bone steak that I can cut up myself, savoring each bite. :lol: Even eating hamburgers with one hand is difficult.


Another problem I have is brushing my teeth. Since I am in a wheelchair, I cannot stand at the sink. I use a battery operated toothbrush and spit into a glass of water. Right now, I'm having a little problem of "thrush" in my mouth, so I am brushing after each meal. But, I will probably have to call my GP for a prescription to get it cleared up. It's always something. I can handle the stroke. It's the little things that get me down.


And writing. I always have to anchor the paper or envelope so I can write on it. It gets frustrating at times, but I have learned to adapt.


If nothing else, this stroke has taught me humility. I used to do everything myself and wouldn't ask for help. My husband couldn't wait to get me out of the SNF because he was so lonely. He has learned how to cook and shop for groceries. We have someone come in to help me through the week, but on weekends, we wing it.


I just took a potty break and the triumph is that I don't need help in using the toilet. Our house is on one level and the bathroom, which is located across the hall from my room, is large enough to accommodate my wheelchair. We installed a handicap toilet with a fold back bar next to it, so I have no problem. I would like to take my own shower, but that is not possible, so Misti has to help me. I have a bath bench that extends over the bathtub so I can sit on it and Misti helps me put my legs into the tub and we shower away. I can get my hair washed while I am being bathed. Not ideal, but I am not complaining. At the SNF I would be put into a hoist and lowered into a deep bathtub. I really hated the procedure. And I usually got only one bath a week. There was a hairdresser there so I would have her do my hair.


So here it is, almost four years since my day of infamy, and I have blessings to count. My speech, my memory, my thinking ability and my eyesight are intact. Yesterday, the Nebraska football team beat Kansas and the Nebraska Women's Volleyball team beat Kansas State; the sun is shining and the longest election process in the history of the world is OVER. :yadayada:


Typing with one hand, it has taken me a little more than one hour to type this. Just another example of my trials.




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Vi, you are such a powerful woman, I mean that in the spiritual sense, to me you are such an overcomer. When I read this I know that as a caregiver I have very little to complain about. I guess when I get irritated with Ray I remember the same thing. I have the use of both my arms and legs, he doesn't, therefore I should be counting my blessings, not complaining about my lot in life.


I am glad you can see the good in life. We appreciate you being here.


(((hugs))) from Sue.

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I can definitely relate as I too am left side affected. It's amazing the adaptations we learn. using scissors is also an accomplishment for me. Any printer scrap paper we use as scratch paper. I cut the sheets into 4's to have for grocery lists etc. I fold the sheets in half then weigh down one side so I can cut along the fold. It takes a bit but I feel so good to accomplish. If my daughter is home, she'll try to take over to get the job done - I do it now when she's not around :nana: The next huge job to tackle will be our Thanksgiving dinner. We'll have a family get-together but always do one of our own as well. I "help" and supervise; thankfully we're a good team in the kitchen. Then Christmas decorating will be that weekend.


Anyhoo good for you on all your triumphs dear. Keep up the great work and know that we love you.

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you are amazing. reading your blog renewed my spirit to do better for myself and enjoy myself more appreciate little things I can still do. I am thankful that you blogged.




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vi, i do understand the many things you have had to overcome. i detected happiness in your blog. i am so thankful you are here with us. your humor and knowledge are a blessing to us all. you have much more than most and you inspire others with all you have accomplished. i pray you continue to gain more as time passes. as donna said we do love you. so keep up the great job you are doing. god bless you in all you do.

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Is it possible to have your husband remove cabinet doors and frame so you can get up to your bathroom sink with the wheelchair? We did that in our master bathroom without doing a major remodel on the cabinets after we struggled with getting Gary close enough to brush his teeth and spit in the sink. We kept the cabinets that we removed in the garage, so if we ever sell the house, we can re-attach them. In our town, local organizations like the American Legion, VFW, Moose or Elks Lodge have volunteers that will do those kinds of things to make your bathroom accessible.


As for the chicken dinners from KFC, I think the chicken strips are just as tasty as the regular pieces of chicken and to me a lot less greasy or fatty, and definitely less messy.


We just lost my Aunt Kay in September, but since she had moved here over 13 yrs. ago and had tremors, she was unable to eat anything other than finger foods unless someone helped her with cutting up food and sometimes even spooning it into her mouth. As frustrating as it was for her, she loved to eat and never missed a meal.


I know life is tough after stroke and I think you do an amazing job of moving forward.



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hi vi,

congratulations on figuring out so many ways to continue being independent and also learning the very hard job of asking for help. by the way, i have a rocker knife that makes cutting one handed possible....i always take it with me when i go out to eat...check it out.

you are so right; sometimes it is easier to deal with life's big stuff than the everyday trial and tribulations. hang in there and remember you are not alone. kathy

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