January 28, 2021

Hard to carry over skills acquired during exercise

Once I had a little movement in my affected hand, I used a SaeboFlex splint for months to help me transfer thousands of balls from one crate to another.  I thought the repetition would be boring, but watching a hand open and close after being totally flaccid for 3 months was mesmerizing.  Success with this simple repetitive exercise created hope.

The transition to functional tasks can be difficult.  Clients have to divide their attention between monitoring what their body is doing and what objects are doing.  The photo below shows only my thumb and middle finger contact the tube of toothpaste.  This is a precarious grasp.  Dropping an open tube of toothpaste can produce a splatter of toothpaste on the floor.  Toothpaste is sticky so cleaning it up is not easy.  I press the end of the tube against my stomach to hold it still while my other hand removes the cap.  This is one example of why it is not easy to carry over skills acquired during exercise.  Fortunately I have a strategy for dealing with my negative emotional response to failure during functional tasks. 

Even after 17 years, trying new functional tasks can be frustrating.  The first time I try a new task, one or more steps are difficult or impossible for me to do.  This means I cannot finish what I started!  To help me persist in the face of failure I call my first attempt a rehearsal.  The purpose of a rehearsal is to discover solutions that will make my second attempt awesome.  Waiting until the next day gives me time to think of new things I can try next time.      homeafterstroke.blogspot.com

January 19, 2021

Staying in My Home is Not Easy

The independent living facility I hope to go to has a heated underground garage.  Until I move, I need 5 snow strategies because I have to park my car on the street.  When snow is forecast my 1st strategy is to go grocery shopping.  When we get a dusting of snow I use my 2nd strategy.  I use a child-size shovel to push snow onto my lawn.  I sprinkle Ice Melt on my walkway and in front of my car.  The big container is heavy so I use a funnel to pour Ice Melt into a small container sitting in my bathroom sink.  My sound hand lifts the big container.  My affected forearm under the big container controls the degree of tilt.  

New Jersey often gets above freezing after a snow storm.  When the weather forecast says this will happen I use my 3rd strategy.  I wait a few days for the sun to free my snow-covered car.  However, the street has a low spot that captures water as the sun melts the snow.  I need a 4th strategy to cross this small pond.  I place a thick rubber matt over the water so I can to get to my car safely.  

When the weather forecast says New Jersey will stay below freezing after a snow storm I use my 5th strategy.  I pay two teenage boys to clean my car, walkway, and snow that the snowplow has pushed against the side of my car.  They also shovel snow in front of and behind my car so I have a clean parking space.  Old people in my neighborhood are nasty when someone takes the parking space in front of their house.  homeafterstroke.blogspot.com

January 10, 2021

Darkness Did Me In

I was out of milk and bread but the next day was Saturday - the busiest day of the week at grocery stores.  I planned to go at 6:30 a.m. to avoid the people who fill their carts to the brim and take forever to check out.  I had forgotten the sun comes up later at this time of year because I never go out this early.  When I started driving I remembered why I no longer drive in the dark.  After cataract surgery I could ignore the tiny concentric circles around every light (halos) that the lens in my left eye creates at night.  However, when I got a 2nd lens in my right eye, the halos became too distracting.  On the way to the store I vowed to order groceries on-line.  This creates 2 challenges.

My 1st challenge is that Shoprite recently changed their pick-up procedure for on-line shopping.  Instead of calling when I drive up for my groceries at my reseved time, I must now text.  I have used a computer for 25 years and an iphone for 10 years, but I have never texted someone who is not in my contacts list.  In desperation I went into the store and showed an employee the e-mail that confirmed my order.  Thankfully she pulled the bags for my order and put it in a cart.  She had to follow me 4 stores away because the parking lot was filled to the max.  Christmas was only        4 days away.  I have since learned how to text a stranger so I will try on-line ordering again.

My 2nd challenge is that 1 loaf of bread and 1 half gallon of milk does not last a week.  I use lots of milk in my cereal and coffee.  I use a lots of bread because I make a peanut butter sandwich for lunch every day, a meat sandwich for dinner many nights, and wrap each pill in a small piece of bread to prevent it from going down my windpipe.  I eat thinly sliced bread that has only 40 calories per slice.  I am going to order 2 loaves and 2 cartons one week and 1 loaf and 1 carton the next week to see if it prevents midweek trips to the store.  homeafterstroke.blogspot.com

January 2, 2021


Opening my blinds to let in sunshine improves my mood.  It may be one reason I am sleeping better.    My last home had windows on only one side of the house so I love that my current home has windows on both sides.  I usually keep my curtains closed in winter to save heat, but this year I need the sunlight.  Different windows create different light patterns.