Continuing Limitations

Still confused by WP constantly changing menus

  You would think that after 3 and a half years of living a post-stroke life I would know much more about actually living life post-stroke.  I’m still learning and every time I learn something new, I am reminded that I still have so much more road to travel.  I compare myself to every stroke and recovery story I read, I measure my recovery by theirs and I adjust my levels of guilt, pity and even envy accordingly.  I harbor very little compassion for others and I don’t get it.  Shouldn’t I have more compassion for others because of what I went through and am still going through? I met a woman (Toto) through a Facebook support group and she is not very well off.  She feeds herself and walks with a cane and has come a long way but she is not as well off as her attitude makes her sound.  How do people do that?  How do people stay so positive? I have hope but my reserves are running low.  How do people maintain such a high level of that stuff? I just can’t do it. download    It’s very difficult for someone like myself to have a continuing flow of motivation.  I cave too easily to excuses and escapes.  I have not found a way around this.  I met this guy (Jordan) in the same FB support group and he is doing so well it makes me jealous.  He stroked at 15 and now he’s 25.  He lost one side of his body but has regained quite a bit over time.  He does an intense workout (I’ve seen pics and videos), plays basketball and travels with only one fully functioning side of his body.  I can’t do any of that stuff and it makes me sad followed by angry at myself.  I can barely leave my house without having someone with me.  I went out on the front porch alone the other day and thought I was going to die from a panic attack.  I went right back inside.  And this guy travels the country? How does this happen? Why are we so different? It took him 10 years to get where he is at so why do I compare myself to him anyway? Our situations, from having the stroke to who we are as individuals, are completely different.  They cannot be compared so why do I do it?  I have to learn to stop that.
I want to work out every day, I have a pretty decent routine that I made up myself through some research and guidance from other survivors and some professionals.123  It’s not really meant to help me improve but to help keep me from becoming weaker, or more atrophic than I already am. I think I am pretty healthy for someone in my position but I could be much better.  My left limbs are almost half the size of my right and I find that disgusting.  I don’t have equipment to actually build muscle but I have the ability to attempt to maintain where I am at until I can find a therapist I feel will actually help me achieve what and where I want to be.  The problem I face most is when my kids are home; I am limited on space and therefore I become uncomfortable and begin lacking just enough confidence to workout around them.  Without confidence, I become more spastic.   Increased spasticity is like making rigid bones.  Everything is so straight and un-bendable! How can I do one squat when my left leg becomes a solid peg from hip to toes? It feels impossible.  So I am waiting for them to give me back my days.
Speaking of which, I thought this week was going to be terrifying having both boys home alone with me.  I thought I would find, or rediscover, one limitation after the other.  I had so much to face: taking care of the house and meals and a sick 3 year-old as well as potty training said 3 year-old.  I thought my left body was going to destroy me emotionally and mentally.  I thought I was going to feel like I was sinking in quicksand all week.  But then this week happened and I just kind of dealt with it as I went and it went pretty okay.  There was some yelling, a little cussing, maybe a bit of crying ( from each of us) but I actually handled each situation on my own.  I didn’t need to wish Kasper was here to do it all instead of me.  JJ is almost potty trained after one week of actually putting in the effort.  I just stuck him in underwear and hoped for the best.  We’ve had some messes but he seems to have grasped the concept of the potty more quickly once I stuck him in those cute little undies.  Maybe pull-ups and training pants aren’t the way to go after all.
I’ve managed to keep the house cleaned too, even with all the pain in my hip from not stretching and working it out each morning.  I’ve kept up on laundry even though the washing machine sometimes backs up and shoots nasty water out of the toilet and tub like a geyser.  And I hate calling maintenance because when they come for the plumbing I know they are looking for a tampon or a baby wipe in the pipe.  I’m used to living in poorly made apartments with cheap pipes; I know what goes down and what doesn’t, what clogs a drain and how to try to prevent a clog.  All in all, this week has been quite the learning journey for me.  And to top it off, I did it sober.  I can’t take the risk of smoking while I’m alone with them.  What if I have another seizure during the day or something?  The idea makes too uncomfortable.
Maybe Toto is too hopeful in this cynic’s mind, maybe Jordan is lucky to be recovering so well but what difference does it make for me? I’m floating somewhere between the two and though I’m not “perfectly fine” with that fact, I can still change the status of my situation for the better.  I’m unsure how much time I have to create more gains but I don’t think it’s as limited as I sometimes worry.  I just have to keep going and hope to keep enough hope in my reserves to help me survive.

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