The last time I was here I sorta promised that I would stop milking the stroke, but if email, get well cards, phone calls and inquiries on the street to Loretta are any indication, lots of folks are genuinely concerned as to how I’m doing a month after being discharged from the hospital.
So here’s an update. First of all, I feel fine as frog hair. I’m grumpy, impatient, aggravated and I’d dearly love to have my left arm working right now instead of several months down the road, but I am reasonably convinced that I will be able to eventually use it again.
In the meantime I don’t allow anybody help me do anything until I make determined effort to do it myself. I’m typing this column pretty much with the thumb and index finger of my right hand. To make capital letters, I hit the shift lock key and then unlock it after making the stroke.
I believe that I will be able to do that with my left thumb come this time next week. I can almost do it now, but in the interest of getting something to the papers in time to print, I’m not making the effort today.
Several of you have called or written and volunteered to help out with the typing. THANK YOU!
My friend, Joe Benton, a busy attorney who lives in Richmond and practices law in Lexington, even enclosed a dollar bill in his card because his granddaughter told him that money would make me smile.
Perfect timing because it made me laugh out loud at time when I really, really needed something to laugh about.
I’ve gotten to the point that I have good grip in my left hand. I can hold a soda can well enough to open it and almost anything with a twist off lid. I can even peel a banana and slice an apple using both hands even though I generally have to put stuff in my left hand with my right. I can hold a book steady enough to read it. I can now flex my shoulder, elbow and wrist without having to deeply concentrate on making the effort. I’m just not able to make my hand go where I want it too, but that is improving.
This morning I took a shower completely unassisted. We will not talk about how clean my feet and back are, but at least I don’t stink. I managed to get dried off and dressed without any help even though pulling on socks and a long-sleeved undershirt proved challenging. I managed to shave and brush my teeth, both of which required some use of my left hand. I did, however, lose a lot of religion buttoning up my shirt.
It’s difficult to tell much difference on a daily basis, but when I look at what I could do last Monday and compare it to today, the improvement is almost dramatic. When I compare it to what I could do when I got out of the hospital, it seems like a miracle and it may well be. I won’t go into the rigors of physical therapy, but I do or try to do a variety of exercises four or five times a day and they are slowly becoming much easier.
My ultimate goal is to become able to type again even though a couple of editors have told me that the stroke has made their jobs much easier because they don’t have to correct a typo or misspelling on every line these days.
It does bother my conscience that they are not really earning their pay when it comes to publishing my column. Just wait until the left hand does come back and I can fly through this thing again!