Seven Lessons I’ve Learned From My Strokes

2015 has been quite the year to say the least.  Lately, I’ve been reflecting on various ways in which I’ve begun to establish a “new normal” for myself.  The following are 7 of those ways:

1. Thank goodness for long arms.  3417c9e4d91ec9173f180293fc781b59They’ve helped me be a state rated basketball player for blocked shots in high school, and make the all-conference team, and they’ve annoyed me when I’ve gone clothes shopping.  But mostly these days, I’m ever grateful for their ability to reach…especially when taking a shower.  I currently get the opportunity to take a shower in a shower chair, which means an extendable shower sprayer had to be installed too.  Ideally, before I take a shower either I or my husband remember to take down the sprayer and set it in the tub, but there has been occasions in which it has been forgotten.  During these situations, I used my arms to get it down without having to stand up, so that I don’t fall over (falling would pretty much be the worst thing that I could do).  My arms have also helped me greatly in putting on my afo, getting dressed, and in completing other tasks that require a long reach.

 

2. The quad cane has multiple uses.  This realization really should have been something that occurred to me after watching the Pixar movie Up for the first time.  29-1But, the many uses of it are coming into full effect now that I have one and use it.  I’ve used it to reach for puzzle pieces accidentally dropped on the floor.  I’ve turned it around to use the hook end to grab my MDH rehab bag.  I’ve used it to open and close various curtains in my house.  One day I will hopefully no longer need the quad cane for walking, but I might just keep it around for its other functions.

 

3. There are added benefits to living in the South.  I returned home at the end of February, and for the first few weeks there seemed to be a direct causation between my need to go to therapy and bad weather.  Unfortunately, this put a kink in my opportunity to take walks outside.  It has since turned to spring 🙂 , and I enjoy walking around the neighborhood.  But, I did notice how envious I was of my friends living in warmer climates during the end of February and most of the month of March.  Of course, I think I would feel different if it was July/August that I was talking about…I’d probably be complaining about the heat.  I fully support all of us getting the month of February off to move to a warmer climate to heal in various ways.

 

4. Fast does not exist.  M.C. Hammer declared Hammer time, and there now exists Sarah time.  It isn’t a matter of me waking up early enough, or not trying.  It is simply that I cannot move fast.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ridiculously slow, but I take a more relaxed pace these days. slow-300x185

 

5. It is sometimes better to not have answers.  When you don’t know why something occurred, you have more time to do things like notice each day how much the spring flowers have grown, the trees have bud, and you appreciate the birds chirping.  When you know the answers to things you often have a responsibility to use those answers to inform your experience in the world, and it can cause you to not notice many things.

 

6. Living takes courage.  courage-1Prior to all of my health concerns, I don’t think I was fully aware of how much courage it took for me to live my every day life.  I certainly realize it now, and more fully appreciate the people who are giving me opportunities to live.  Yes, I look different when I’m walking, but in order for me to get better, I need to be given chances to do what I used to be able to do.  Asking for those opportunities and then taking advantage of them takes all of the courage I have left.  I get that providing me such opportunities might make some people feel uncomfortable for whatever reason, but honestly I can’t help but feel so strongly that those folks need to work on getting over it.  Those issues aren’t mine, they are the other persons and to truly be accepting of others we need to be aware of what is our stuff and what is their stuff and what they are doing to our interactions/relationships.  After all, we are in this world together.

 

7. Learning is painful.  I had a student once who coined the phrase “if you aren’t crying, you aren’t learning”.  I don’t know that crying is necessary, but pain is most certainly necessary.  Both here in Macomb and when I was in Peoria, if I shared with any of my therapists that I was feeling physical pain of any sort, their response was often “Good! Pain is the first feeling to come back, so hopefully it means it is waking up.”  This, of course, was not the response I was aiming for, yet I did notice the pattern associated with pain and physical ability improvement.

9 thoughts on “Seven Lessons I’ve Learned From My Strokes

  1. Good thoughts here, Sarah! Keep writing and sharing your experience with us. “It is better sometimes not to have the answers.” I might steal that sometime for a sermon. 🙂

  2. Sarah, you continue to be an inspiration to me and your willingness to continue to share your journey encourages me to keep things in perspective. I look forward to continuing to follow your journey!

    • Thanks, Patrick, I appreciate you reading it. Even if nobody read it, I’m sure I would still write. It needs to come out…it helps me to process through all of it and not get too overwhelmed by it all. I look forward to the next time I see you. I hope that you are well!

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