Welcome back to the “Healthy Life” podcast. Yesterday we talked about the ‘flavor’ or spice in our life having left us. Today I want to discuss how we have to pace ourselves after our stroke. You know prior to my stroke I have met with and have all kinds of friends, paraplegics, quadriplegics, friends missing arms, legs, friends with glasses, deaf, blind.... all kinds of people. They each have their own challenges and what makes them special is they all see themselves as “normal.”
After our stroke we have to adjust to a new normal. I’ll never forget when my first child was born my doctor shares... I have good news and bad news, which do you want first? Well the good of course... to which she said... the good new is things will get back to normal... and the bad I asked.... this is normal she said!
That’s what happened after our stroke.... our “normal” gage was readjusted. But many times we, family, and friends don’t acknowledge this change or readjust. We tend to do one of two things...
We either see ourselves as broken and resign ourselves to remaining at that level or convince ourselves we can recover and try our best to do that.
Reality lies somewhere in between. As a nurse I used to tell patients that for every day they spent in the hospital it would take a month to recover. Using this formula and considering that most of us spend 1-2 months in a hospital setting it will take years to feel somewhat normal.
At this same time our doctors are determining if they think we can be rehabbed. And if we can, how much can be expected and how fast! The sad thing that many are told and believe is that... after 6 weeks to 6 months not much else can be done.
How sad! Rehabilitation is not a 3 month or 6 month endeavor so we must “feel or way” through... pace ourselves because health... maintaining it and yes regaining it is a life long journey. I agree that more rapid change happens in the first year following a stroke but continued progress is ongoing and incremental. I’m over 17 years post stroke and making progress everyday.
I will tell you that after surviving my own stroke and working with thousands of stroke survivors over 17 years that we have better results at specific times. We have to acknowledge our stroke and that most of what we do needs to be thought out carefully and completely prior to being accomplished. Exercises, as an example, should be done in the morning to take advantage of our increased energy level. Slow and steady and consistent exercise is most beneficial. Daily repetition and slow increases in the number of cycles is the best. We need to think outside the box when it comes to movement. The stark reality is.... use it or loose it! Look at and consider the items you have in your home. Use what you have rather than buying some piece of equipment that will be an expensive clothes holder. The only thing I suggest getting is an elastic exercise band. It’s inexpensive and can be used daily for a multitude of simple exercises.
Establish exercise helpers from church groups, coffee clubs, friends, and the like. Make up a schedule so no one person has to be with you every day. This give you a multitude of visitors. If your stuck with finding someone go to your pastor, priest, local Y and seek help. It there if you look for it.most people want to help and just don’t know how to.
But everything we do in life needs to be paced and not rushed, enjoyed an not forced, invited and not demanded. This attitude assures progress and let it happen slowly... after all my mother used to say you eat a big meal one bite at a time and can accomplish big and seemingly unattainable journeys by taking one step at a time.
Well that’s all we have time for today ... thanks so much for joining me, and remember one step at a time ... please feel free to leave me a message at stroke.global or on Facebook.
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