Somebody posted on WP the other day, an aspect was how people needed to laugh at themselves. So, I felt inspired…
For me, following the stroke, it was not quite learning to laugh, but learning to shrug. Things are what they are, and if I can’t manage something, I have two choices, either accept it, or think of a workaround. In that respect, thinking is key. There have been many wins, but there has also been frustration along the way.
Many things, I needed to relearn after the stroke, not least, to walk again – that started about a month post-stroke, tiny steps around my bed. It took almost a year before I left the house, aalthough I have become stronger over time.
My arm still poses problems. My hand, mostly. It’s got a flicker but not really any more usable than the day I had the stroke. So, workarounds are ongoing. Two-handed tasks are a struggle. Everyday tasks that just require two hands, that I never really used to even think about before.
Opening a jar, cutting a slice of cheese, buttering a piece of bread, for example. Even now, my wife does not realise that the spread is jammed in between those two other things, making it imnmovable, for a reason!
Another example is my socks. If you don’t believe me, try it, one handed. I once posted on here about the arguments I used to have with my socks! Not a word of a lie!
However, I mastered these battles, and I can think about them now and chuckle. I can even share tips with other survivors – just last week, how to brush their teeth one-handed! (Answer – you squeeze the toothpaste directly into your mouth.) I can’t stress enough how trivial these things are – they’re things we’ve done our whole lives and never thought twice about them.
Although I can now laugh, it was bloody frustrating at the time. Socks, I am trained – things like my teeth, I work around.
Some things are still out of reach. Gardening. I allowed my garden to
run wild flourish each year, and would spend two weekends per year chopping, making a couple of trips to the dump. So I have all the equipment – I even bought a trailer for the occasion!
But I can’t do any of that now. Most garden tools here are deliberately made two-handed, plus just lifting them, with my right hand (I was left-handed) is beyond me. I bought one of those new, lightweight, battery-operated hedge trimmers, figured out how I could rig it to work one-handed, but even that’s a struggle. These things have double-switches for a reason, too, so I’m aware that disabling safety features is probably not a good idea. I haven’t even tried using my chainsaw one-handed (yet).
I can, at least, mow the lawn – I bought a petrol mower with a turnkey ignition, otherwise I’d be stuffed. But, bloody hell, it is heavy, and I had to work out how to start it one-handed. Emptying the grass cuttings is also a knack that I mastered. Little things. Thank goodness the mower is at least self-propelled
So there are ways I contribute, things I have learned how to do. But you can imagine the frustration along the way. Even so, I acutely aware that the old me could mow both lawns in an hour, these days it is a day each. But… shrug. I’ll just have to let my wife get on with it!