Six Months

Jun 26, 2013 7:47pm

Today, I’m EXACTLY 6 months out from my stroke. It was the 26th of December 2012, at about this time of the day, that my body was shutting down by degrees and I was struggling to find my phone to call for help.

When I woke up in hospital, I was in a bad way. I could not sit up in bed. I could not move, or feel anything on my right side, and I could not even swallow properly. That’s right, they actually gave me thickened water for the first few weeks lest I should choke.

And cognitively, I was a mess. Short term memory problems made it impossible to carry on a proper conversation as I would forget what was said to me just 5 minutes before. The physical effects of a stroke are unpleasant it’s true, but the mental effects are really terrifying. It is a horrible and frightening thing to be trapped inside a failing mind.

6 months later, I am still far from healed, my leg is still somewhat like a plank of wood and the lack of progress there is a frustration sometimes. But I have improved a lot in so many ways. My feeling is finally coming back to me. My hand becomes more limber, day by day, in fact, I can clearly see the improvements myself, and I am happy to say that my mind is sound.

Best of all, I am alive.

Speaking of which, have you not had a full physical check-up for a few years? Or, maybe you are aware of your specific medical issues but have not stayed on top of them? Do me a favor, and check into your health. Even if you had a check up in the last year it is worth bearing in mind that medical issues are dynamic and changing all the time. So get yourself checked out, will you? Thanks.

I have doctors all over me at the moment. In fact I see one tomorrow. The more cautious medicos say that at 6 months after a stroke, my best months of rehab are already behind me, and that my gains will get much tougher from now on as I head into a plateau. That is a very sobering thing to hear because the gains have been very hard won so far.

My more upbeat physical therapists simply encourage me not to impose limits on myself and to keep pushing. So far, we have not seen a plateau and that’s what matters. If we do, we will change the routine, or up the intensity to push past the plateau. I am absolutely hunkered down for the long haul.

I look forward to being able to walk around freely on my own. I am definitely not there yet but when it happens I will be able to go to the gym on my own, to the pool on my own and therefore push myself even more and make more gains.

There are two things I need; one is to be cleared for unsupervised workouts. That has till recently been an issue of blood pressure, but happily, now that is under control. The second is to be cleared for unaccompanied walks. That will only happen when I am able to stand up after a fall UNASSISTED. Currently I cannot do that due to the weakness of my calf and other muscles.

But when that does happen, and I feel it will be soon, in the next month or two, I predict that I will become a bit of a gimpy gym junkie. Far from hitting a plateau, I feel that my improvement will move ahead by leaps and bounds at that point.

Just watch!

6 thoughts on “Six Months”

  1. Jamie Baker – I had a dream last night that I ran into you at Golden Gate Park and you were walking!

    Okay the rest of that truncated dream was this:
    You were walking, talking, laughing. In recovery but way better. I was being chased by a vicious baby alligator and we had to throw it a bike light so it would bite me. Here is to hoping that at least part of that dream was prophetic (not the reptilian part).

    — Beth Segal, July 9, 2013

  2. Very happy to read you are so much better & getting better everyday , you are also looking very handsome this days, even with all those doc test cables sprouting out .
    Gambare , gambare Jamie-san !
    — s m, August 7, 2013

  3. I sense progress Jamie. I think that this threshold test of being able stand up after a fall means that Julia has a license to push you over periodically for research purposes. Testing… Testing…
    — Bill Cone, June 27, 2013

  4. HURRAHH!! You are the man!!
    Way to go James!!
    Mount Everest be damned!
    Just how big is your heart?
    So impressive!
    It’s inspirational to read your missives…..very humbling.
    I have a confession to make…..
    A month ago I dragged Lisa kicking and screaming to see Rush….her first ever pop concert. Rush are a band that I haven’t thought about or listened to for about 35 years and we went on a complete goofy whimsy….revisiting my teen years.

    The concert was great fun, these 60 year old dudes have never given up and never weakened either… and only stopped for a few years when the drummer lost his daughter and wife in quick succession in the late 90’s.
    The past few weeks I’ve gone through their immense output and found many songs that are new to me that resonate profoundly…….uplifting, lyrics…especially songs like The Garden from their latest album.
    — Philip Vallentin, June 27, 2013


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