Saturday, October 17, 2009

Truly Hard Workouts With the Power to Terrify

On day 2 in the ARU Renee, my PT,  showed up as promised to begin my physical therapy.  She wheeled me down the hall and stopped at the hand rail along the wall,  where she helped me transition to a stand.  I faced the wall desperately grabbing the hand rail with my right hand, for I was certain I would crash to the ground.  I looked into Renee's eyes for reassurance as I could not fathom why I could not stand without holding onto a solid object.  She looked at me and revealed Lesson #4 "It's tough to stand on a leg you can't feel."  She then asked me to turn 90 degrees so my right side was nearest the wall. As she surveyed my body position, she reported that I was leaning way over to the right side and that she wanted me me to lean to the left to "find the middle", in other words, evenly distribute my weight between each leg. Easy enough, I thought and when I confidently thought I had found the middle, I looked to her for confirmation.  She said I was still way over to the right! For the next hour, try as I might, I could not even come close to the middle as sweat poured down my back and temples. On my way back to my room I catastrophized  in my head, "If I can't even stand, how will I ever walk again??!!"  I began to dissolve emotionally when in walked Rita, my OT, no time for grief now!

  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!!

1 comment:

  1. Is this reminding you of how incredibly far you have come Marian? I hope so. Every detail reminds me of why you are my hero. xovk