Posted by: dlip | March 8, 2008

Some Random Thoughts

Sleep, blessed sleep in the “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” Samuel Taylor Coleridge refers to “sleep” as being blessed from pole to pole and he wasn’t too far off the mark. For a patient recovering from a stroke having lost many of his faculties and abilities, sleep becomes a convenient and happy escape route. It is an anaesthetic and if you are lucky enough to, “sleep, perchance to dream”, there is always the possibility of being transported to another day when you were sound and normal. But, this has a downside too. It is very similar to the sense of elation you would feel if you lay down in an opium field; an overdose could be harmful if not lethal. My personal experience was that at its worst, sleep took you away from your current problems and therefore I did have a tendency to hit the sack whenever I had the opportunity. And so I would encourage all those who suffer to try and curb this tendency and limit indulgence in this ‘loser activity’.

So how do we deal with this?

My own experience in this regard was quite effective and I would recommend it to all post stroke victims. Of course, I cannot give any guarantees but then, in this, day and age who can? A cousin of mine who has a rather religious bent of mind supplied me with a thought from the bible (my own knowledge of scriptures, being very weak to put it mildly). The remedy for desolation should be what is called in psychological terms positive self talk. There is a tendency for the individual to look up to the heavens and ask God the rhetorical question (depending on the individual’s penchant for histrionics) “Dear God! Why me?” This line of thinking will get you nowhere but into more of a desolate spiral.

I say, with all your might, “stay away from this line of thinking.” Instead: look up to the heavens and you might say “Dear God, thank you for keeping me alive! With my mind and my wits intact.” If it isn’t a case of ‘mind and wits intact’ (I am aware that a stroke affects different people to different degrees and that I have been relatively blessed in that my mind and wits are intact, but my mobility is not. Some stroke vicitms I understand lose their ability to formulate words, I believe the term is “aphasia”, but perhaps they are mobile.) Whatever it is, find something to hold on to.

And yes, it sounds trite, but do count your blessings No! I am not being Christianly. Counting one’s blessings is like a bit play to a back foot stroke to a short pitched ball… in cricket. The most effective term I found is, “yes, today, life is dismal and desolate to boot, but ‘this too will pass’.

I may not ever be able to look back on these days and laugh at them (the trauma is too big for that). But, at least it clicks on a light at the end of the tunnel. At least one can hope for a brighter tomorrow and isn’t that what “hope” is all about?



  1. Your blog is one that should be read by so many people. Reading your posts bring back the not ever forgotten and saddened memories of the day my mother had a bleed in the pons area of her brain. As you have noted the world changed for us that day and continues to change three years later in a very disheartened way for my mother.

    Your description of paralysis is so poignant. During the early days afer my mother came home if the deadness of her left side was as you describe then no wonder at that dtime could she not find a way to tell me how she felt.

    Unfortunately this was not her first stroke, but the first one hat physically handicapped. Now, because of her age, her strokes and other physical problems (some caused by the strokes ) –her memory especially are truly something no one should have to endure.

    I applaud you for your courage in having this blog. I am so sorry for not being aware of it sooner. Are you listed on technorati or blogged? You really need to be. If you need info please let me know.

    I shall return again to read more and I have listed you in my blogroll. I wish you the best for all your tomorrows.


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