August 31, 2014

Fatigue is a Deal Breaker

The fatigue I felt the first year after my stroke was unlike anything I had ever experienced.  I repeatedly felt a crushing fatigue I couldn't push through.  Using a timer to force myself to rest was annoying because the timer would go off at the worst time.  I tried to rest by watching TV, but that turned me into a zombie who couldn't stop clicking the remote because nothing good was on at the moment.  I tried reading and going on the Internet, but got so absorbed in these activities that I ended up being more tired.  When I did not rest I could barely hold my head up after dinner.

I found two strategies that work for me.  (1) Lying on top of the bedspread with a towel under my shoes and a small blanket covering me doesn't feel like I'm going back to bed.  I can lie down for fifteen minutes without having to get undressed.  (2) When I listen to a CD I can stop after a few tracks and come back to it later.  Instead of staring at the clock and resenting having to rest I enjoy the music.  Even seven years after my stroke I make sure to get enough rest when I have an outing planned for the day.  I don't want to start wishing I could go home a few minutes after I arrive.  A stroke survivor I met resents having to rest but I think preventing fatigue lets me do more rather than less.

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