Rita was ready to give me my first session on an important activity of daily living: bathing. I will spare you the intimate details. Just remember at this point I needed help with anything and everything. While Rita was bathing me my tears were hidden by the water streaming down my face as I despaired thinking I would always need someone help me do this most private of things, bathing. In subsequent sessions I would begin to do specific bathing tasks on my own such as shampooing and thoroughly rinsing my hair. On this day it did feel great to shower as it had been over a week since my stroke occurred. Lesson #5 Personal hygiene is more important than ever because it requires so much effort with only 1/2 the body helpng that it is easy to neglect.
I was longing for a nap after my shower but was instructed to eat the meal presented
me as my body would need every ounce of energy I could give it. (Yum?) No rest for the weary.
After lunch, Nancy my speech therapist (ST) came to visit. Since my speech was not seriously impaired I wondered why I needed as speech therapist. Cognitive function falls under the speech therapist's purview as well as speech. I was given a diagnostic test to assess how much or what type cognitive damage might have occurred. The language/reading part of the test went ok but not great. However, the mathematics/logic part resulted in panic. I could not add 2 four digit numbers among other simple arithmetic problems! This spelled doom for my career. Terrified I would never teach again, I could hold in the tears no more. A cascade of fear and anger consumed me. I cried until overcome by sleep. I don't think I smiled again for many, many days. Lesson #6 Mental recovery from stroke can be as daunting if not more so than the physical recovery. Oh Joy!!