November 27, 2006

fine tuning

Where do I stand? Physically, the most obvious reminder of my stroke is right-sided weakness. My leg is way ahead of my arm, but I still walk only with difficulty—I need a cane and can take only one step at a time. My right arm is pretty much useless. That means writing, typing, eating are all one-handed and wrong-handed tasks. I’ve really slowed down in getting manual tasks done (though friends tell me my speech has not slowed down). I’ve got some urologic issues that I can’t figure out—don’t know why they surfaced with the stroke. My speech is OK, and most of my cognitive functions are working fine. My memory is certainly confused, and I don’t really know what or why I remember—large parts of my past are missing. I think the closer something was to the surface, the more I used it, the more likely it is that I can recall it. Most of the time if something triggers an association, I can pull stuff back, but if I don’t need it it’s gone. My short-term memory is also a problem. I have really learned to write down stuff I need to remember, but if something comes to mind when I can’t record it, it’s likely to pass out of my attention. This is hard to figure, too. Don’t know why I can read a book and remember characters, storyline, or argument from day to day, but I can’t remember everything I saw in the morning paper and want to recall later. I still have difficulty controlling emotions, and even though I try to keep busy I think I spend a lot of time feeling lonely and craving conversation or company.

I guess what I want is not to feel that I’m a burden to other people and to get my life back to what it once was, or as close to it as possible. A simple example shows how that can be a problem. I need to make my life as large as possible, but a lot of things can’t be done without the help of others. If it comes to stuff that was moved around while I was sick for instance, I can’t get upstairs or downstairs without help, and I can’t move boxes without help. While I am willing to move on, I feel that others may not be available or willing to get me going.

I find my thoughts turning quite often to books I've already read. I wonder if this is an effort to reclaim my past, too. By rereading things I've already looked at, I hope to reconstruct experiences and memories of my past.