31 January 2012

Mama and Babe

I am getting better and better with each week. My appetite is back and I have eased into a full-time schedule at work. I started with a couple of hours a day, then four, then six, and now eight. My job has been very accommodating, so I am fortunate.

I have had two recurrences of blurry vision but thanks to my cousin Sarah, who is a genius physical therapist, I learned that this happens when I hold my head in a certain position for an extended period of time. Specifically, looking to the left and up, as it puts pressure on the right artery. When the blurriness happens, it starts as a small ring of blur and then gradually grows into a large ring so everything inside is clear. Eventually, it gets so big that it fades out and I can see this whether my eye is open or shut (it is only the left eye). I only figured this out because Sarah advised that I pay attention to how I was maneuvering my head before the blurriness set in.  Now I finally feel a sense of control and not fear that at any moment, my vision may be blighted.

I have also figured out some compensation tactics for work that have eliminated the headaches I was getting. I am only using one monitor and keeping the windows that I use on that monitor smaller than normal so that I can take in more information without having to move my eyes around.

Last week, I went to see an optometrist to discuss vision therapy. While I was there he did the same tests that I had done two weeks before by the ophthalmologist (that is the first time I have spelled that word correctly) and when I saw the results of my field test it was clear that my peripheral vision has improved immensely. He said that I had the best vision he had ever seen from a stroke victim but I am also very young. He did not say that I was the sexiest stroke victim he had ever seen but I think that was assumed. We talked about therapy, which would be 30 minutes a week in-office, complemented by software I could buy to use at home. Unfortunately, this program is expensive and my insurance does not pay for it. I decided that since my vision seems to be doing so well on its own that I would skip the therapy.

I am processing information, both visual and auditory, much better now. I can handle going to Target and looking at the overwhelming shelves of products. I can go to meetings at work and absorb what everyone is saying. I thought I could handle all of that the first week I was home and now I realize that I could not.

Aside from minor vision deficits, my only other issue is tiredness. I have been taking naps every day but now that I am working full-time, that’s not an option. I guess I need to start going to bed before midnight but that’s hard. I hope to only be on the blood thinners for another five months and then I should get my energy back. So I can do important activities like read everything on the internet.

Last week I had an MRI and two MRAs (or maybe two MRIs and one MRA). That was one hour and forty-five minutes of so.much.fun. I was supposed to see my neurologist two weeks later but he called me the next morning at work, which was not a good sign. The MRI showed that I had bleeding in the brain and that was not evident on the first MRI I did, the day of the stroke. He had another specialist review my imaging and they determined that the bleed looked old, so it most likely happened right after I’d had the first MRI. He advised me to go off the baby aspirin and stick with the blood thinner. So now the trick is to keep my blood thin enough to not clot but thick enough that I don’t bleed. Which is why I switched to drinking Clausthaler beer, the thinking man’s O’Doul’s. A beer snob even when there is no alcohol.

The whole MRI/bleed thing brought me down a little. I was doing so much better with my anxiety and relaxing about every twitch being the start of another stroke. Now I have a NEW thing to worry about. Every twitch could be internal bleeding instead! Each day gets better, as I wake up and thank God that I am still here to experience a dead roach on the floor or my spawn telling me she likes my mom better than me.

I will try to keep this blog updated as I recover…it’s just not as fun as Little Wakka. I have so many great friends and family that have offered encouragement, meals, prayers, flowers, nail polish, money, childcare, hugs, advice, contacts to others; thank you so much. It has made this much easier.

In the meantime, I get to enjoy things like rolling my eyes anytime Oscar complains about anything, using phrases like “before I had the stroke” or “ever since the stroke” when I need to get out of something, and making stroke jokes that make everyone else uncomfortable. That last one is really my specialty. The person who created A Stroke is NOT a Joke on Facebook would not be happy. I did get back into my hygiene routine, which is a bummer.