What the Hell Does he Know?

•October 2, 2013 • 1 Comment

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

C. S. Lewis

Last week I had to go to my neurologist for my one-year checkup. I was looking forward to the appointment, not because of any confidence I have in his diagnosis, our prognosis for me in the future, but I did have a couple of issues arise in the last year that I needed a neurologists opinion on, and he was just the most convenient choice because the appointment was already made. Honestly, I don’t like the man, and feel he is disrespectful to his patients and their families. In the past year I have tried to be as upbeat as I can be and stay around optimistic and happy people because I have discovered my disposition is an important part of my caretakers’ days, and my attitude affects them more than I thought.

The day of the appointment my wife and I stopped for breakfast at one of our favorite restaurants, and discussed several errands we needed to do after my appointment. We arrived at the doctor’s office, filled out new paperwork, because it’d been a year, and we were escorted back to see the Doctor. I discussed the two issues with him at length and as I expected they were dismissed with a wave of the hand, as just a side effect of neurological damage, and nothing could be done about it. To finish the appointment I asked for recommendation for psychologist, and as he searched his iPad for a name and number my wife just for conversations sake mentioned we had bought an exercise bicycle very similar to the one I used an outpatient rehab and I was planning on doing this machine three times a week for as long as I was comfortable. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone come as unraveled as this gentleman did in the next 10 seconds. He slammed his iPad into his lap, and shouted at the both of us,” it won’t do any good, the motions are completely different, and we should find better things to waste our time and money on.”

I won’t go into detail about the aftermath of this appointment, except to repeat the title of this post and that is what the hell does he know?  Since then I have a new neurologist and although he basically tells me the same thing the other one did, he does it with a friendlier bedside manner and doesn’t appear to be a complete psycho. This is just one last pessimistic anchor I’m ridding myself of.  As always thanks for reading, and comments are always welcome.

ELEVEN REHABILITATION VISITS

•September 16, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Please take a few minutes to read this in depth article from US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT  concerning Senator Mark Kirk, his stroke, his recovery,and his revelations about how inadequate the Illinois heath care system is concerning the poor.

The Healthcare Lessons Mark Kirk Learned From His Stroke

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/leslie-marshall/2013/01/04/the-healthcare-lessons-mark-kirk-learned-from-his-stroke

SELF CONFIDENCE

•September 6, 2013 • 3 Comments

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.

Mark Twain

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

Anais Nin

Courage is grace under pressure.

Earnest Hemingway

     My stroke, like everyone’s was a life-changing event, it affected me deeply, and I started referring to my life in terms of pre-stroke VS. Post- stroke when discussing personality traits, or lifelong skill sets that changed due to the severity of the damage. The last few weeks I have been stuck in my recovery efforts, an inability to feel comfortable anywhere outside of my home, was holding me back.   My psychologist and I discussed this problem several times without any significant progress, but during our most recent  session he offhandedly asked if I had been athletic in my pre-stroke life, and I began to list the sports I participated in, and explained to him I had always been athletic, and coordinated enough to participate in most sports.  I also explained to him I was nowhere near the physical specimen I had been pre-stroke, and when I walk with my cane my balance is so precarious, if a child so much as bumped me I would fall to the floor. This lack of balance and athleticism was new to me. At the time of my stroke I was 6’1” and weighed 230 pounds, I worked out with weights a couple times a week and made the effort to keep my cardio in reasonable shape. I was positive whether it be a fight or flight situation, my body and mind would respond appropriately, and keep me safe, I no longer feel that way.  Currently my psychologist and I are implementing exercises and counseling to help me over come  these fears and insecurities.  Wish me luck, this may be one hurdle that’s to high for me to jump.   As always thanks for reading, and comments are always welcome

DOGS AS THERAPY

•August 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

pippi

This is my companion, Pippi. She is a Decker terrier, more commonly known as a “circus dog”, or a “clown dog”. She’s the little black and white dog you see wearing the party hat, preforming tricks while hanging out with the clowns. They are friendly, happy, smart, and very athletic. True to her breed, Pippi is all this, and much more. Since I’ve returned home, she has been a constant companion, and a source of comfort in every situation. It’s as if by some sixth sense she understands that I have become a weakened member of the pack, requiring special attention. Daily she lays at my feet alert for any threat, and rests beside me on the left coaxing me to use my weakened arm and hand to pet her.  Like all the dogs I have had the honor to call companion and friend, Pippi is special and filled with unconditional love.   She helps me every day with my rehabilitation and acceptance of my new reality.

TYPING

•August 7, 2013 • 4 Comments

Communication works for those who work at it.

      John Powell

 Over the last few months, I have discovered that stroke rehabilitation is more about adapting to your handicaps, then it is about fixing the handicap through repetitive motions. Creative thinking is more important than all the hand exercises you can perform over a lifetime. I’m not saying physical rehabilitation should be avoided, or is not useful to the majority of stroke survivors, I’m saying in my particular situation the exercises have not helped.

 

An excellent example of this, is what I’m doing at this very moment, typing. One of my goals in rehabilitation was to use my left hand for typing again. Due to the severity of the stroke, or my inability to correctly perform the exercises, I came to the conclusion that my left hand would never be used for typing again. I tried to adapt and learn to type with only my right hand, but I found that tedious and so slow I would lose my train of thought. What used to take me five minutes, now took an hour.

 

I began to search the Internet for speech to text software, and after much research, I decided to try a program called Dragon speak. The reviews for this particular product were excellent, and most buyers stated how easy it was to train the software to understand your voice. My personal experience was better than the written reviews, it only took 20 minutes to achieve a 93% accuracy rate. Normally I wouldn’t use this forum for advertising products, but Dragon speak has been very easy to work with and I would highly recommend it to any handicap person who needs assistance with typing, I was able to write this in less than 10 minutes, making corrections, and spell checking all without touching the keyboard once.