A list of all the frustrating things about living as a stroke survivor would be a very long list indeed. It would go from trivial things such as having to type this blog with one finger because my left hand won't work properly, to the fairly-serious, such as the joys of having to take 12 tablets a day and make sure you have sufficient supplies of said tablets.
It would mention the constant problem of stroke-fatigue (see last week's post) and the difficulty of taking blood-thinners in December. It would mention living with the constant threat of another stroke (30% in my case, so the experts tell me) and the fact that you are supposed to avoid stressful situations (over-stimulated environments, as my neuropsychologist calls them) even though most of modern life is inherently stressful.
And this week has been a curious mixture of the frustrating and the fun. Take Sunday, for instance. Mrs Warrior and I went on an outing with our local Stroke Club to see a pantomime. Bad move, you might think. All those screaming kids, all that shouting. Yet I have to admit I really enjoyed myself. It was something out of the ordinary for us and even though a room full of screaming children normally fills me with horror, I had a good afternoon.. Must have been the Christmas spirit (a glass of red, actually) and the interval ice-creams.
So that was the fun bit. Forward to Wednesday, when I had to visit hospital to have a troublesome tooth removed. Yes, hospital; because of the aforementioned blood-thinners, my dentist was reluctant to remove it himself in case I bled uncontrollably for hours.
He referred me to the orthodontics department at the hospital and after a wait of several months, the day of the operation came. As did two deeply-painful needles in my gums, some very unpleasant-tasting painkiller and a numb mouth for most of the rest of the week. But no blood.
Well, I'm sure there was some but a nurse was able to mop it up with two small swabs. So what was all that about, then? And no, the hospital wouldn't sort me out with a denture; it's back to my dentist for that. More expense?
And Thursday brought another of those disrupted, up-and-down days which are part and parcel of life now. I had plans, but the side-effects of my tablets chose yesterday to hit me hard and I spent most of the day feeling zonked, to put it kindly. I even had to come home early from a Christmas party and retire to bed at 8pm. As a fellow strokie said to me last week after he suffered through a similar day: "When your brain's had a kicking, like ours has, sometimes it just needs a rest.' Which is undoubtedly true and something I need to be aware of more often.
But yesterday did have its' good side. Walking through town yesterday morning, before I started to feel rough, I passed a lady of a similar age to me who was obviously a stroke-survivor. She was struggling along on a stick and her left side was obviously severely affected. For some reason, I decided to get into conversation with her, saying: ''I've been where you are.''
As it happened, we were just a few yards from where I had collapsed nearly four years ago, so I told her my story and asked what help and support she was getting. Her speech was quite poor, but the look on her face told me all I needed to know.
So I gave her details of the two local support groups I am involved with and she went on hr way, obviously cheered by our encounter. I'll keep an eye out for that lady from now on.
And we did agree on one thing. However frustrating and dispiriting life as a stroke-survivor can be at times, it's a damned sight better than the alternative which we both came so close to.