Monday, November 26, 2012

I Get Frustrated When...

I get frustrated when I say I can't remember something and someone says "I remember things when I was a little girl and you can't remember something from 3 years ago?"
I respond "It's not my fault. I had a stroke."
The person's response is always "There you go with the stroke."
It's not an excuse, it's MY REALITY. I get sick of people saying "There you go with the stroke." I can't remember! 

I think it's sometimes hard for people to accept that I am a changed person and that certain things don't come as easily to me as they would to others especially for those who didn't go through recovery with me. I know it can be difficult to accept that a person who you have known your whole life has gone through a brain injury but, it's just as hard for us to not have our feelings hurt when you say things like that. It's enough that I have moments of private pain from this, I don't need friends or family saying things like that to cause more.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I wish some folks were a bit more sensitive, that's all. 
This is my gripe for the night :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Staying Warm In The Cold Post Stroke

So one thing I've noticed after having the stroke and being on blood thinners is that I am very sensitive to cold temperatures. In the winter, I am slower, my right side definitely feels weaker, and the chill in the night air gets to me even more than it did before. At first I thought it was just me and maybe what I was feeling was all in my head but upon research, I found that it is actually common.

Right when I was able to walk more than a few blocks in 2010, I went to Uniqlo, a Japanese clothing store, and was just poking around window shopping. I came across clothing they had called Heattech. This thin, lightweight clothing is designed to absorb body moisture and generate heat when your bod gets cold and IT WORKS! I first bought a tank top and used that, skeptical that it wouldn't work but sure enough it did. This could be just a comfort thing and it may not work for everyone but if there's anything that brings a small bit of relief, I welcome it.

I passed by the store again this weekend after feeling kind of numb on my right side (thank you Winter) and bought a pair of Heattech leggings and a long sleeve Heattech shirt, hoping that it helps my right side to keep up with my left. I highly recommend this to anyone who has cold sensitivity due to stroke. It really makes a difference. Anyone who suffers from this problem knows that relief makes all the difference in the world, especially with this long Winter ahead of us. Uniqlo doesn't know how much of an impact it has had on me in these cold months.

I am thankful :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012


My Granny passed away last Sunday. She was a wonderful woman. I used to spend summers in the Caribbean with my Grandparents and cousins every year from when I crawled straight through to when I graduated from High School. Some of the best memories of my life are of those summers with my family. Those experiences shaped me into the person I am today. Without them, I don't know where I would be.

Something I found myself doing early on in life was replaying memories of my childhood in my head at least once a week. In that way, I thought they would always be fresh in my mind and my hippocampus would keep them there longer than it could and not kick those memories out to make room for new ones. It would not only make me laugh but keep me warm on those days when I felt blue. I would think of those wonderfully good times swimming in the waters of Grenada with my cousins and actually re-taste the meals cooked for us in my mouth. Even smells would come back. I could see myself mapping out my Granny and Papa's house in my mind knowing everything from the colors of the tiles to the exact location of bushes and coconut trees on the property.

After my stroke, one of the things I was afraid of was losing those memories I worked so hard to preserve. I found myself panicking in the hospital trying to replay every single memory from those summers to make sure everything remained intact. While I'm sure I have lost some memories, I am so grateful for having one or two of my family, of my Granny back when life seemed simpler. I remember her voice and the way she used to sing to us. I can still hear my Papa's voice and smell the smoke from his pipe. It's on days like today, when I miss her so much, I can smile at knowing I can remember that.

I may not remember certain things but in the end, I guess sometimes it doesn't matter as long as I have these little moments where I can be thankful for having the memories I do to comfort me when it matters most. My flight was canceled and I couldn't make her funeral due to inclement weather thanks to the Nor'easter and Sandy so my memories have to do. They become my pictures, my windows to the soul especially tonight when I am missing Granny so much.

Thank you brain. Keep up the good work.

R.I.P. Granny

I Am

I am feeling tired,
And can't remember
Because my brain shorts out,
Think, think, think,
To no avail,
I can't remember
That person's name,
Please don't get mad,
I forget,
And mean no harm,
It's not that you were easy to forget,
It's that you were easy to remember
At the time but
I can't recall anything,
Don't think me dumb,
I just can't put my finger on it,
Even though I try
Very very hard,
That grey cloud covers the answer,
But it's still me,
Just sometimes forgetful,
Still me,
Still here,
Still me.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Surviving Sandy

The Northeast went through the worst Superstorm in its history last week. Hurricane Sandy ripped through states leaving people without power, heat or hot water. While I was blessed to have a roof over my head, I lost all three of those for 5 days. There's only so much one can do by candlelight and by Day 2/3, I went a little stir crazy.

The darkness inside my apt. with candles lit.
People get sick, we all know this and we all have home remedies on how to get over things like colds, or coughs. Shots of rum and honey and lemon, a garlic necklace, etc. But what do you do when you're in a real medical emergency and have no way of getting through to anyone?
During Sandy, I couldn't help but think about how people in medical emergencies were faring. The pregnant Mothers, heart attacks and strokies out there who couldn't get in touch with the police or a hospital must have been terrified. What did they do? How did they get through it all being at home without access to medical professionals?

I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a first aid kit at home complete with all the fixins including ASPIRIN. I have gone on several rants regarding the power of aspirin. It saves lives. Please please keep a bottle of Bayer in the house in your first aid kit for times like these. You never know when you'll be in a situation like this. I certainly didn't expect the storm to be that bad and for it to cause as much destruction as it did. Be prepared!

Prepare for the unexpected!