The Road of Recovery

I’ve started back to work, as of last Friday. So that’s a good thing, right? For me, I think in some ways that’s when it gets harder.

I had a stroke July 25, which was missed by the emergency personnel, but then went back on July 28 with new symptoms and was admitted to the hospital for 10 days.

Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that I was tremendously, wondrously, gloriously lucky. The hospital’s occupational therapist and physical therapist checked me out and didn’t even think I’d need their services. So not only am I still alive, it looks like I have no permanent disability.

However, the one symptom that’s lingering is something of a problem: If I stand for more than a few minutes, I feel “woozy” — not exactly dizzy, but headachy, weak, and faint. Sitting for awhile seems to relieve it, and lying down definitely does. I haven’t yet gotten in to see a neurologist (which is a whole other annoying story that I should skip!), but I suspect that’s a leftover from my cerebellar stroke. After all, when I stand my brain needs new connections to keep my balance. I tried to step over the baby pen in the nursery on Sunday, and almost fell over. I’ve never been terribly graceful, but now I especially need to take care!

Anyway, I’m not someone who likes difficult decisions. Before the stroke, I had a headache that lasted three weeks, and every morning I had to figure out if I felt good enough to go to work or if I were just being a wimp. Then the stroke hit. Okay, now staying home was a no-brainer! Especially when I was in the hospital! But even after that, it was easy to understand I should take it easy and let myself heal.

But isn’t two weeks enough time? And how much do I need to do some standing and walking to help my brain build new connections? I did compromise by leaving early yesterday, and today I didn’t have to compromise — we got sent home early because of the earthquake! But it’s harder when there’s a decision. This is definitely not a contagious illness, so it’s all the harder to evaluate when I’m up to working and when I’m not.

Another thing is I almost felt guilty all that time off, having extra time to read and write book reviews. But since writing book reviews takes a lot more energy than reading — I’m still way behind with books I’ve read and want to review. So now my time off is up, and I am still behind. I don’t want to push myself extra. So that’s where not having energy for much more than work gets pretty frustrating.

Anyway, I already had vacation in Oregon scheduled for next week, so at least I will have next week off, decision-free! And it sounds like ALL my twelve brothers and sisters will be there with me at the end of the week for my brother’s wedding!

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