It was a rough old start to last week at Warrillow Towers, which is partly why this blog is being written 48 hours later than usual.
From Saturday to Monday of the week which has just passed, I was crushed by stroke fatigue. The warning lights had started flashing on the Friday evening, when a good friend (one of those few who won't beat about the bush if they feel I need my backside kicking) told me I looked awful.
He said I looked tired and washed out. He was correct, as he always is. He asked me what I planned to do over the weekend and when I said 'nothing', he replied: "Good, because you need a rest.'' And as it always does with stroke fatigue, my body decided it needed a rest and I had no choice but to follow.
Much to Mrs Warrior's chagrin (because it was a non-football Saturday), I spent from 1pm-5pm on Saturday in bed. I got up later than normal on Sunday and repeated Saturday's afternoon nap before ensuring I got an early night. I awoke at about 10am on Monday and by the time I met a friend for beers and conversation on Monday afternoon, I just about felt something close to normal.
The best part of three days in bed feeling exhausted and unable to function. That's stroke fatigue for you. Looking back, I've probably escaped the worst of it in the last four years. Rarely does it hit me that hard. Or maybe it does and stupidly, I try to fight through it and make it worse. But this was one of the worst I've ever had and at my age, with my positive 'do-stuff' outlook, it doesn't feel nice.
But maybe I'm finally learning to live with one of the most serious of the many ways in which stroke affects your life. I rested on Tuesday and Wednesday and by Thursday, was ready to go again.
A networking meeting in Walsall on Thursday evening was productive and I even felt well enough on Friday that Mrs Warrior and I ventured to north Nottinghamshire to support a good networking friend (and fellow strokie) Maggy Jackson as she relaunched her therapy business. (www.thinkdifferently.org.uk). It was a long, cold day but I met plenty of potentially useful people, won a couple of very handy raffle prizes and even ended up sitting next to a lady from the Stroke Association on the train journey home (yes, of course I gave her my business card!).
What the week emphasised yet again (and this time, I might actually listen....) is that my life is not and never will be what it was. This is something 'new' strokies find really hard to deal with; I've been involved in a conversation this week with a lady who said: "I want to start feeling normal again (whatever normal may now be)....
Well, 'normal' is not what it used to be. Each stroke survivor is different, but for me, 'normal' now includes those bouts of stroke fatigue, occasional difficulty swallowing, inability to cope with crowds and noise, outbursts of anger (at Mrs Warrior and others), balance difficulties, incontinence problems..... The list sometimes seems endless. But as I said to a lady at Friday's event, I'd take all of that as part of being alive over not being alive if the bus had hit me.
If that means I sometimes seem to spend half my life asleep or in a daze, that'll do for me.