Thursday, 19 January 2017

Just listen......

When did you last listen to somebody. Really listen.......

Listen without thinking what you are going say next, or waiting for your turn to speak.

Really listening is difficult to do if you are on your agenda. Have a go. The next time that you talk to somebody have a go at being on their agenda. Why are they talking to you, you specifically. Do they need something? Are they asking a question? Are they just letting of steam?

Sometimes it's usefull to be aware of their feelings, how are they feeling right now. Use your eyes and ears in terms of those cues and clues; voice (volume, speed or intensity), breathing, complexion (are they flushed, pale or red?). These clues could help you to work out what's going on for them right now.

That's where the empathy builds, the rapport.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Being present.....

I started writing this in my lunch break on Thursday, I'm not sure what the theme is, but I feel a bit frustrated :-|

I'm roughly 20 months post stroke and a year ago I would've given anything to be where I am today. But I want more! I know that I should grateful, lot's of people haven't got what I've got, stroke or not.

Maybe that's the conundrum..... my drive for getting better is a double-edged sword, the route of my frustrations.

My frustrations are ....

1. My right hip and lower back.
2. The decreased of dexterity and sensation in my right hand.
3. My speech and accompanying aphasia (or the other way round....)
4. The fatigue.

1. The pain in my right hip is always there. It doesn't stop me from doing anything, really. Although when I'm training it makes me a bit slow. The pain saps ones energy and increases the fatigue. I was doing exercises twice a day but I stopped them over Xmas as I was intense pain and discomfort (no training over Xmas), and surprisingly, the pain decreased ...... I'm still doing stretching exercises. Since going back to training, my right shoulder is in pain....   :-(

2. My dexterity seems to have got worse. I'm not sure that it has...... but I feel that I've taken a backwards step. However, my sensation seems to be .... more sensational.....  I'm reasoning that the returning sensation is heightening the sense of clumsiness and klutziness. I also haven't painted for a week, maybe that's a factor as well.......

3. My speech is better, I want it to be more fluid and faster. And to think about other threads whilst coaching.

4. I'm really, really frustrated with levels of fatigue. I got got home from work yesterday at 6pm, got changed and put my feet up for an  hour and then I did some modelling (an awesome church that Tracey got me for Christmas) for an hour and then watched teĺly with Tracey and that was that....... I feel that I want and need to do more. My energy levels can't keep up with my daily goals, so I feel unfulfilled and frustrated.

Now that I've got that off my chest, time for a bit of perspective.....

20 months ago it was a different story.

1. I needed help to transfer from the bed to the chair or wheelchair. I needed pillows in the bed to keep safe, confident and comfortable. I could barely stand, let alone walk.

2. Dexterity, don't make me laugh. My right hand would stay where I put it (using my left hand) it was a piece of useless meat. Sensation, what sensation?

3. Speech? A stream of guttural noises. Reflecting back on this as I type, it brings a tear to my eye. Verbal communication is what separates us from beasts, and that is how I felt. :-(

4. My head was so full of fog, I felt semi-conscious at best. Even thinking wore me out.

Those first 3 weeks in hospital seems a blur to me now. I was so determined to get home, doing the the stairs with the physiotherapists took on an almost mythic proportions, like Frodo casting the One True Ring down into the Crack of Doom.

Once I got home, more work. Exercises, three times a day; physio, OT and speech as well as sessions with the respective visiting therapists, and some exercises of my own devising.

Now that I compare the present and the past, it doesn't seem that bad now......

You can't change the past.

The future? That's up to me, based on what I do in the here and now, being in the present.

Being present.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Oww, it hurts ..... :-(

I went training yesterday morning, first session of the year, it felt great!!!!

It doesn't now...... it hurts! I went to bed last night in pain. Part of me wished that I hadn't pushed myself, the other part me had a word with the first part. I won't get to where I want to be unless I push myself! And that involves pain and discomfort. Physical, mental and emotional. I'm going to go training next, and the next week etc. Until the spring, when I go twice a week. My goal is to get up to three times a week.

My whole right is tingling as I write this. I tend to look on this a good thing, sensation is returning, neural pathways are re-routing as I type. I'm recalling in my mind what I did in training yesterday, emotionally as well, reinforcing the the positive feedback loop of forming good habits.

But it still hurts :-)

Saturday, 7 January 2017


I'm getting really tired again :-(    it's my first week back at work, we planned a quite Christmas, we weren't going to visit anybody and minimal visitors. So why am I so tired.....?

I came across an article explaining Neurofatigue last week, it didn't really tell me anything new, but it did allow me to reflect on what is on with my body, my brain in particular. You can read the article here on the Brain Injury Explanation web-site.

My perspective has changed, for the better, following reading that article and the reflection that I've done since.

I'm still really tired, I'm getting up in a minute to go training, I'm still not going to take easy. But I am going to give myself a break, if I need a rest, I'll take one. I don't need to beat myself up about it.

Have a great weekend!