Wheelbarrow Efforts

It's something to do

Spontaneous Improvements

Text Box: When the stroke hit me, I lost everything on my right side: face, neck, back, arm and leg. As others are, I was told that I could expect improvements “even up to two years later”, which left me feeling that I wasn’t sure whether I had been “shot, bored or counter sunk”. Gradually various muscles started to move – twitch really – and I encouraged them with special exercises. Readers of this News Letter may remember the Right Handed Biscuits. I worked on the recovery and was even aggressive about it. This was mainly because I became mesmerised about the approaching 2nd anniversary. I had it in my head that there would be no further improvement once year three started. I was – and am still far from right – so I started to become a little depressed and wondered why I was bothering.That was at the start of the spring (March is the date), and I am ecstatic to tell that spontaneous improvements do happen in the third year. So sucks boo to you doubting Thomases!How do I know? Well several steps took place this September. There are four to tell about: one step backwards; two steps forward; and a step forward too far.The first step forward came to me in the shower of an hotel in Birmingham. It was the second time that we had stayed there, the first time was very early in the year. This hotel has put shower gel in the bathrooms which are fixed to the walls. In February I could not raise my arm high enough to reach the nozzle and was not strong enough to squeeze the bottle. On the latest visit, I could do both. Now is that a result or what?The step backwards is to do with laziness. From the very start I have been forcing my left hand to tie shoelaces, and as time passed the right hand joined in. All summer, I have been wearing sandals with Velcro fasteners. Needing to put on strong shoes to visit Birmingham, I was very surprised to find that it was a real struggle to put on my socks and do up the laces. This represents a genuine step back, and now I am working on it to bring the hands back in line.The second step forward was amazing. During my morning ablutions, my right hand volunteered for toilet paper duties. Yes, think about it – not a time to be clumsy. It was good, clean, and quite like old times. My whole body moved and swung into the correct position like a well practised machine – as it had for the sixty odd years before the stroke. Leg muscles, arm and back moving in perfect harmony. I was stunned.The step too far comes from being cocky I guess.  I had taught my left hand how to put in and remove my contact lenses. As I retired for the night, suddenly and without giving me any warning the right hand approached my eye and removed the lens like old times. I came over all funny and in my excitement clumsily dropped the lens – which meant hunting for the damn thing for fifteen minutes on the floor.I think that the three steps forward are real “spontaneous improvements”. I had not been thinking about the activities (who does) - I’m still concentrating on the full glasses of beer and soup spoons.   So these came out of the blue. It was also a surprise to me that if I stop doing something then the ability to do it goes away and requires effort to get it back. I haven’t the nerve to repeat these last two “improvements” for fear of the consequences of further clumsiness, well not yet anyway.  Perhaps by Christmas.

Caption describing picture or graphic.

Reprint from Stroke Watch No: 9, 2007