Sunday, May 10, 2020

Know Yourself!


Are you a stroke survivor or a caregiver? Do you know yourself? This article by Moses Cherrington, originally posted in a Stroke Net newsletter, could be of significant help.   

Know Yourself!

When we have a stroke to whatever level, our life is transformed forever.

We cannot do what we used to do, our emotional state is different, our image is now different, fewer friends visit, our social skills become constricted or restricted; each day having its own demands. we either meet those demands or as I once did, sat in a chair and looked out the window for three months.

The view was good. As I let the day go by I would reflect, and reflect, and reflect. What can I do now? I am an ex-realtor, ex-musician, and ex-salesperson who relied upon personality and communication skills to profit financially. I must get a Doctor's certificate to receive Government support and attend interviews at the Government offices to show if I am ready for work.

I reached the conclusion that if I did not know myself and my condition. I was a prisoner of my transformed life.

Know Yourself
How I have come to know myself?

What is my Condition?
The literature from the hospital gave me information in a very clinical, sterile way. I could not understand it. Medical jargon was used. The dietician interviewed me to curb my eating. I do not remember anything that we discussed as it was two weeks into my rehabilitation. My memory was non-existent.

Why is it that Non Stroke Survivors think they understand our condition?
Yes, a heartfelt sigh goes out when we mention that we have suffered a stroke. In fact tonight when a caller rang for a donation. I told them that the family was getting back on its feet as I had suffered a stroke. The caller empathized with me and apologized for disturbing me and quickly hung up apologetically.

What is our condition?
We have changed and we need to understand our changed condition. Medically we must take a variety of pills which, WE HOPE will relieve our condition, whether it is for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or the like.

1. Know your medication and side effects
Why? This is so important and let me tell you why.

The medication to lower my blood pressure had the side effect of creating more uric acid within my blood, resulting in uric acid accumulating in my joints and causing gout. For those who don’t know the pain of gout: it is like glass shards within every joint.

The pain caused by the gout in my arms and knees and feet got so bad that I had to hire a wheel chair to get from the lounge to the toilet.

Upon changing doctors, my new doctor had pointed out the effects of medication that I had been given and he changed my medication. It was from then on I decided to research the side effects of medication using the internet.

I was prescribed medication for my moods. Yes our moods do change, but the side effect of this medication was impotence.

2. Fatigue
How fatigued do you get? How do you measure how fatigued you get? What exercises do you do to get tired? I know we get fatigued, but can we get fatigued in a good way? What gyms do you have in your area? I discovered one that catered to people with disabilities and I enjoyed attending. There was no cost and it was sponsored by a local sport’s organisation that had put together a disability committee to both seek funding as well as to organise a venue.

The physio in charge at the gym for the disabled knew about fatigue and shared some strategies to help me get fitter. She knew the limitations of a stroke sufferer and our group played sport with other disabled people. I could empathise with them, especially those in a wheel chair who were more severely disabled than I.

3. Food intake
How is your food intake? Are you overweight? If you lost 5, 10, 15 lbs would it make a difference?

I have just lost 13 lbs and I can now fit into my trousers. So what, you may ask? Down here in New Zealand there is a little button on the inside of our trousers that my stroke hand must do up for me to wear my trousers. Some days I give up, other days I persevere.

4. Build our Networks
No one tells us but, we must rely upon members of the stroke family to acquaint us with this important information because this information is vital to us to know ourselves. Build a network of people who know about areas you need to know about.

To summarise

Know Yourself

1. What medication are you taking and are there any side effects to your medication?

2. What level of fatigue are you at? Have you devised a plan to measure your fatigue? You can enjoy your sleep better by exercising your body to combat your fatigue. Are there any exercise programs for the disabled in your area? If not, initiate one by contacting your local disability club or stroke club and ask, or start one yourself. Research the internet.

3. Have you examined your food intake? I am not advocating going on a diet, but seek a weight management program to assist you to relieve yourself of any excess pounds.

I used and would recommend vitamin supplements. .

4. Think about building a network of people who are sound in knowledge in areas you desire to know. Here I would recommend which runs courses online for you to study. I have been studying law, nutrition, learning how to learn and yes, even music. All these courses are from prestigious universities in both the United States and England. The beauty of these courses is that they are FREE. Please look at the courses, there might be something you like. All are online and free.

Many thanks for your kind words for all who emailed me. Your lives and testimonies enrich my heart and may my words enrich both your hearts and your lives.

Editor’s Note: The recommendations in this article are made by the writer. The Stroke Network, United Stroke Alliance, and Retreat & Refresh Stroke Camp do not endorse products.

Copyright ©September 2014
The Stroke Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 492 Abingdon, Maryland 21009
All rights reserved.

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