Saturday, January 13, 2018

One Month On

Apparently, if you have a stroke, the most likely time for you to have another is in the month following. I've made it through that month alive. I am fighting the 'I'm tired', and the fear of what might happen every moment - but I am also very aware that 'there is only now'. I might have another stroke and die before I finish writing this or I might live for another 18 years without having another, before dying of something totally unrelated, like my father did. 

I've discovered how amazing ours bodies are, and especially the brain. There is so much that the brain does without us noticing. On Thursday I visited our local physiotherapist for some help with exercises to rehabilitate my weak and lacking in proper control arm and leg. On Friday I did some (just some) of the exercises and wiped myself out. Such simple exercises but they overwhelmed me. The arm exercises were meant to be done with 1kg dumbbells but I only had 1.5kg one: not a good idea. I nearly passed out. On Saturday we went to Otorohanga to Greg and Maggie's place to help re-clad their garage: well, Mac helped and I stayed inside and rested. Except it wasn't restful. I thought sitting and writing up a bunch of stuff that has been neglected would be restful but also good exercise as writing is one of the things that I've been having to re-learn. Seems that learning is hard work too, and uses up a lot of energy. Suddenly I was feeling faint and dizzy and then, fearing another stroke, moved in to an anxiety attack. Turns out all that sitting around writing had been such hard work my blood sugar was too low! A large glass of cold water, a couple of crackers and cheese, and I was out to it for an hour, sleeping the sleep of the innocent. Who would have thought it?

As well as my WOTY (word of the year), 'fearlessness', I have adopted a mantra: plan as if I'll live forever, but live each day as if it's my last. But living is hard work! I am trying to find small pleasures. I made a little no-sew, no-glue book and am writing in it the things I want to do 'fearlessly', but it's more a matter of facing up to, and conquering, fears. Just making the book was scary as I wasn't sure I still had the cognitive and fine motor skills to do it - in some ways it's easier to just not try things and just pretend that I'm fine, that I'm just choosing not to do things. But that doesn't really work, does it? Anyway, I made the book, with a few folds not folded as well as they could be, but it works. As I said, I'm writing in things I want to do, then adding dated tags of things I actually DO. Small things so far, but it's a way of reminding myself that I am making progress, to try to ward off too many poor-me times.

Part of my 'plan as if you'll live forever' policy means I am putting as much effort as I can manage into looking after my health (which means learning a whole new heap of stuff about bodies and the brains that run them,) learning more interesting stuff (like how to make a no-sew, no-glue book, politics, new thinking in feminism....,) and, something I've never done before, starting a bucket list, even though many things on it are pretty small.

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