Happy Anniversary, Me!

Well, I’ve survived another trip around the sun! It has now been exactly three years since my stroke. I’m doing much better, thank you for asking.

It’s still not perfect, what with the limp, and occasional bout of extreme emotionality or difficulty recalling words. But the fog has lifted. I seem to have figured out the right drug dosage for the leg spasms at night. And I’ve gotten much better at remembering to use the calendar to keep track of things I need to remember. So life is pretty good! However, I doubt I’ll ever get an office job again. Only work-from-home for me. Speaking of which, leads on legitimate flex-jobs are always appreciated!

Three years. That’s about the normal time for length of stay on an air base, so of course, as a military BRAT, it’s been high time for some sort of change. I may not have the classic “itchy feet” syndrome of BRATs, but I usually go through some sort of major(ish) change every 3 years. So, (spinning the wheel), TA-DA, pink hair it is!

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Yep, for the last couple of months, I’ve been dying most of my hair pink. I wonder how long I’m going to keep it up. But I learned how to heat set the “temporary” dye color. That shit ain’t going anywhere! At least not very fast.

And since I’m well past the “increased risk” zone of another stroke, apparently neither am I. This makes me very happy. But I can’t really explain to you all the complex emotions this makes me feel. I could be dead. Not like “I was in a fatal car crash”, but like “there are still people who DIE from strokes.” My family doesn’t get this. They tell me I’m nothing like my cousin, who was younger than I was when she died from a heart attack, less than a year after my stroke. True, I had insurance, and live less than 15 minutes from a great hospital that deals with a lot of strokes. She didn’t. And to my family, the fact that I had insurance makes all the difference. That’s a twist of fate. I’m supposed to be reassured by a twist of fate.

And it’s not like the near-death experience has made me the “live every day to the fullest” kind of person, either. If anything, most of my days feel like I’m in a terminal, waiting for a much-delayed flight. I feel like I’m trapped in molasses. It takes me days to actually get something done. I have to notice that it needs doing, then notice it again another 3 or 4 times, before I can summon the energy to actually do it. Spontaneity seems to be a thing of the past. “Hey, let’s go out for breakfast/lunch/dinner!” is no longer in my vocabulary. I can plan to do things, but frequently can’t find the energy to actually do them when the time arrives.

So I make do. I buy four tickets to events so that Phil can always take our daughter and one of her friends, and I’ll be able to go, too, if I can. I cook when I can, but take-out is always available, or the pre-made meals from the deli at the grocery around the corner, and I keep freezer meals on hand for when even that’s too much. Phil is willing to do all the freeway driving when necessary (I’m looking at you, 4-hour trip each way to Nevada City for Camp Qwest). I declutter when I can, and lower my cleaning standards when I can’t.

And I keep in mind some of the people I met at the rehabilitation center. The ones confined to wheelchairs now, and I am thankful that I don’t need someone to wheel me around and keep me cleaned up. The ones unable to form ANY short-term memories, and I am thankful that I can, and can put that calendar to good use. The ones unable to form words or recognize items or people, and I am thankful that I garble words or slur slightly only on occasion. Mostly, I am thankful that I am here, and I may just be able to see my daughter grow up.

Wow, this has gotten a lot more morose that I’d intended. But it ends on a better note. That’s my life now. Some of it sucks; some of it just makes do; and there are still bright notes in it. And that makes it all worth it. So happy anniversary to me!

I’m Still Alive

Blind as a bat

<Le sigh>

My eyes are going downhill, faster than I thought they would at this point. I mean, I’ve been wearing glasses for distance since I was 33. I kinda like being able to read road signs before I’m right up on them. And those glasses worked for over 10 years. But then I started having trouble reading. I had to hold the book farther and farther away, and then my arms simply weren’t long enough, or I could get it far enough away to focus, but then the print was too small to read. And that was the tipping point. Anyone who knows me, knows that books are important to me.

So reading glasses became de rigueur. At first, I got a pair that looked a lot like my distance glasses, all wire rim and the lowest level. Those worked well for several years. Then I had a stroke.

They warned me that my eyesight might change, and to wait at least 6 months before getting a new prescription, if needed. Well six months later, the prescription didn’t change. Or a year later. Or two years later. But recently it’s gotten worse again. And I’ve noticed a difference in vision between the eyes. Strangely, the unaffected eye’s vision is worse.

So I increased the level for the reading glasses. And I developed a wide streak of “Don’t give a shit.” I picked out more and more colorful glasses, zebra stripe, purple cheetah.

But now…

It’s gotten even worse, quickly, especially when cross-stitching. I need to try stronger glasses. But in the meantime, I’ve had to make do. I have a Gazelle floor stand that I used to use for cross stitching. It’s an articulated arm that clamps down onto your cross stitch frame. I loved it, but I had to disassemble it when we moved, and this house is too small and dark to use it. But I also had a magnifying glass on a goose-neck clamping stand. I never used it when I was younger, but boy am I glad that I have it! I’ve clamped it to a shelf next to my desk, where the light is good, and I have to wear my reading glasses AND peer through the magnifier, but it works! I really need to get stronger glasses, or find a better option for the magnifier, but until I do, I can make this work, even if I do feel like Professor Trelawny.