In Training

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!

Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed IT systems for banks, but had a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Returned to developing from home, plus do some voluntary work. Married, with a grown-up, left-home daughter.

12 thoughts on “In Training”

  1. I’m so grateful for my body, that it works although I don’t care for it properly. Just to be able to walk and to see is something amazing!
    I often try to do things with one hand but I can’t. I also write sometimes with my other hand, to exercise in case of. I imagine a lot of things..
    Things are incredibly difficult with one hand and you need so much patience to do it! Is it easy to type posts for you? Or have you found a clever way of adapting that too if needed?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can offer some pointers, if you like 😀 But, writing? Stick to typing instead! Seriously, I have been surprised how little I need to write. Yes typing is do-able, except a very few symbols. €, for example. Here, ctrl+alt+4. Three symbols, or two which are far apart, tax me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you type with one hand? That’s got to be a challenge. I can do most of my WordPress blog typing with one finger because I’m using an iPhone, although it takes two hands — one to hold the iPhone and the other to type out the words on the screen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I do. Mostly I type on a laptop, so more compact kybd, but for my charity stuff it is full-size keyboard. It is undoubtedly slower, but I get by. If it wasn’t for the connectivity, I would have been lost at first. I prefer my laptop to both phone and tablet. I sometimes use the wp app while I’m out but it has a nasty habit of taking things off my “unread” queue before I have finished with them. I prefer the full-size web page. But I can get by with most phone apps, at a push. Those which don’t respond to your orientation can be awkward, but that’s mostly just usernames and passwords.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good god! Stay AWAY from the chainsaw! What luck to have your stroke affect the preferred arm and hand– some days you just have to look up and yell, alright already! Enough!
    I don’t know who you’d be yelling it to, but it’s worth a try. I admire your courage and no defeat attitude. Keep on✌🤗

    Liked by 1 person

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