Monday, 11 July 2016

A less than positive post......

I'm going moan, I don't normally moan, but here goes......

14 months ago, I was in hospital, not knowing if I could walk or talk 'normally' again. Yesterday I was doing a 3-hour self-defence training session and then helping out as an attacker on a 2nd dan grading. When I was waiting to attack (there was 6 of us) I was reflecting that most people couldn't do what I was doing, let alone 49 year olds who've had a stroke. I actually felt great, really great, that I got so far (and I haven't finished yet.....).

Looking back, I've realised that some people, extended family, acquaintances etc said some bizarre things.... It goes something like this..... "oh, how are you?", with a pained, sympathetic tone. I respond with, "I'm alright, getting there..", I don't like small talk, and I really don't like sympathy. They counter with "Are you going back to work?", with that same pained expression. "I'm almost full-time, I'm training once a week, I'll step it up once I'm doing full-time at work". With that, they look like I'm strangling a puppy, "Are you sure, be careful, take it slowly, take it easy etc". What!!

Help me out here, but my doctors, my therapists, my wife, my instructor, me..... know what I need, not some random person, Arrrghhh!

Why is that, why do people do us down....?

Is it because they haven't any ambition for themselves, they are afraid of looking bad?

The three people who had total faith in me, who really knew that I would get there. Tracey, my wife. Rich, my instructor and Chris, my boss.

Thank you.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Busta and LeAnn

Last week I was on holiday from work and on Friday, me and Tracey went into Nottingham for a shopping trip.

I wanted to get some more music, I wanted to fill some gaps, Death in Vegas, Aphex Twin, Tuung, Busta Rhymes and so on.....

I was looking for any Busta Rhymes (since when did the rap/hip hop section start being called "urban".....????), loads of NWA, Method Man, Public Enemy etc, no Busta!!!!

I try to challenge myself on a regular basis, particularly with speech, so I thought that I would like to have a crack at a joke....... I found a likely shop assistant, "excuse me, I'm looking for a singer, I can't remember his name, LeAnn Rimes brother....". I could see Tracey's exasperated face over the shop assistant's shoulder, "LeAnn Rimes brother.....?", I could see that she was struggling, so I decided to help her out, "you know, Busta...?". Realisation dawned, she led me back to where I came from, "I think he spells his names differently", the joke was on me....... :-)


It's been almost a week since I updated the blog, I was a bit worried/dismayed/regretful, but that soon passed.

Rewind to last Sunday, I'd just uploaded the last post, we got up and we went to lunch with our beautiful daughters to a pub just outside of Ilkeston. I wasn't really hungry, so I had something of the starter menu, Jalapeño cheesey things, 4 Jalapeño peppers stuffed with soft cheese fried in breadcrumbs, with a garlic and herb dip served with a side salad. It was passable, I ate all of the salad and 3 of the peppers, the salad was dry and the peppers were greasy. When I went to pay, the young lady asked how was everything, I chose to be honest, cheerfully honest :-)

Daughter number 2 had to go to work, me, Tracey and daughter number 1 went to Derby to see the Absolutely Fabulous film, via Galactic Models for more toy soldiers  (for a women who comments on my ever growing army(s) of soldiers, Tracey is sanguine about my purchases, nay, she actually encouraged them!).

The film was a hoot! I must say that I wasn't encouraged by the 4 trailers that preceeded the film, my faith in British film making was rewarded. I laughed out loud, on a number of occasions, there was a brilliant homage to "Some Like It Hot" at the end.

All told, it was a busy day, which turned out to be a busy week. Work was busy, I pushed myself to do more, I did more development sessions, planned and delivered. The more I  do, the more my speech gets better. After work, I get home, and then an hours lie down followed by an hours painting.

The blog posts had to take a back seat.

Choice, I had a choice. We always have a choice, sometimes we tell ourselves that we don't have a choice, but we do. Sometimes the choices are not very palatable... but we should always consciously choose. Sometimes we choose to do nothing, that's a choice, I'd prefer to be proactive rather than be reactive or, heaven forgive, inert!

I chose to do no blog posts until I was tucked up in bed, on Saturday morning following on from a good night's sleep.

Being honest with myself about my choices has been one of my lessons I've to learn following on from the stroke. My life is simpler, not necessarily easier, but simpler. The mental and emotional energy I expend is less. Sometimes I cause others to spend more energy, physical, mental or/and emotional, sometimes I believe that they be a better person because of it, if they make the right choices, for them.....

I see people everyday who haven't worked out their choices, in life. And I see people who have worked out what they want, who they want to be with, what are they working towards. They are the one's that I want to be like.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

On being whole (edited slightly)

In hospital, in the early days, in the first or second day, I was determined to fight this. I was determined to fight this, whatever 'this' was, and get back to normal.

In first few days, I had lots of assessments, physio, medical, cognition, speech etc, my physical mobility was poor (my whole right side was affected, I couldn't stand, my right arm was useless),  my speech was poor (I couldn't really communicate, other than a few words), but my cognitive ability seemed to be unaffected, phew! Apart the brain fog..... :-(

This was a really scary time, but I was determined!

I quickly realised that 'normal' wasn't the right word, even if I did get back to the physical state I was in pre-surgery, I will have changed, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And if I didn't get back to normal, physically, so be it, I needed a new word.

So the concept of 'whole' was conceived!

My goal was to get to a state of where I could carry on with my endless quest for my personal development and enjoying my life with Tracey.

My therapists were instrumental in this, I couldn't have done this without them. And Tracey, I couldn't have done this without her constant encouragement, cheer-leading, cajoling, bullying, her love for me.

However, my therapists where encouraging my efforts, but I was so far away from where I needed, wanted to be. I remember in hospital, my manual dexterity was showing signs of returning, but my dexterity was above average, above 'normal'....... I was really frustrated with people saying that I was doing well, I wasn't.......  grr!

The 13 months to date I've been living in a perpetual frustration. It's a fine line to tread, between being demoralised or being comfortable. 2 weeks ago, I had my last OT appointment, my OT admitted to me that I exceeded her expectations, because normally, people get so far and then they plateau, not living up to their full potential. I was a bit disappointed with that :-( I needed to driven, internally and externally, I didn't need mollycoddling or protection from my own unrealistic expectations.

Don't hold us back!

Saturday, 2 July 2016

My bad day

Today's training got off to a bad start :-(

I felt good about the day, the sun was shining, we talked about the upcoming knife-fighting seminar, so I suggested to Rich that we could knife defences, in readiness.....

This is where it went bad, my techniques were sloppy, my timing was off, I came close to knocking poor Imram out :-(

Rich called a stop to it, and we went back to basics, ABC. We made sure that we  cracked "A" before we moved on to "B", "C" just fell into place. This is an example of 'deep practice ', as described by Daniel Coyle in 'The Talent Code'. We went through each of the moves, in minute detail, stopping when we got anything wrong.

 I've done these drills before, but my brain is a mush, this approach to drill was really good for me and my mushy brain.

I also learned that I can have bad day, I did before my stroke, and I will in the future, I shouldn't blame it on my stroke.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Help and support

Welcome to the help and support part of the discussion I starting yesterday.

Obviously Tracey (my wife) is in the top spot. She was really frightened but didn't let me know, she just helped me to keep focused, encouraged me, helped me to keep my chin up. A true star.

The health care professionals. The therapists in and outside of the hospital were absolutely awesome!!  The Physiotherapists, the OTs and the Speech Therapists in The Nottingham City Hospital, The Royal Derby Hospital, The Derbyshire Early Supported Stroke Discharge Team and the Ilkeston Neuro-rehab Team. All of them are absolutely awesome!!!

My self-defence instructor, Rich and his girlfriend Kelly. Words fail me. They are the most generous people we know, they visited me in hospital regularly and then met my physio and OT at home. I'll talk about them in another post.

My friends. My gaming buddies, Steve and Tom. They didn't give any sympathy, they took the mick and came round moved some toy soldiers around and put some dice in my hand.

My brother Ash and his wife Gill, they were completely practical and didn't let me cope with their emotions (You really don't need other people's emotions when you're dealing with your own).

My work. I can't even begin to describe my boss and my work colleagues. So I won't, at the moment. I will write a proper post at a later date.

Our two daughters, Molly and Martha, for having the patience to deal with this as well as their studies. I'm really proud of them both!

And all of the other people that showed my kindness and patience.

I'm feeling blessed........