Monday, January 20, 2014

Strokes are not funny

Today I was chatting with my mother-in-law about the people in her life who have had strokes and it made me realize once more just how many loved ones are hurt by them. Let me reiterate again (that redundancy was for my dad, one of his favorites) that there is NOTHING funny about a stroke. It kills, disables, and at the very least, scares the hell out of people. Not in the least bit funny.
That said, there are times when a good laugh is exactly what I need. As I have mentioned before, there are times when I can either cry or laugh. Take your pick. I'm not going to lie. At times I cry. A lot of times I cry. Sometimes I want to cry but I am just too busy or tired. But mostly, I choose to laugh. I mean, some things are just so absurd or ridiculous or whatever, that I really have no choice but to laugh. For example:
My cousins daughter asked her mom why Jodi talks like this, and then skewed her mouth up and only used one side. She is 3. No malice, only curiosity. How can I not laugh at the image of that?
My other cousins, Amy, has a son who has Autism and we often talk about the fact that people treat her son or me as if we are either made of glass or are contagious. Yesterday, her baby wanted a taste of my drink. Amy got him his own saying that she did not want him to share with me because he might catch my strokiness.
I recently tried playing an Xbox Kinect game with my kids You can imagine how that went.
Jain hates when I sing to her. Bedtime is fine but that is all. So I HAVE to do it to bug her.
See? Some things are just funny. Sick maybe, but still funny.
But the stroke itself? Not funny at all.
Having his mom talking about strokes made Robert start talking about some "highlights" of his memories. For example:
I was on a lot of blood thinners. Seriously, my blood was probably thinner than water. After calling him late at night to tell him I had stopped breathing so they had to put in a trach, they called him again to tell him they could not stop the bleeding from the incision. No wonder he still doesn't sleep well.
When my first feeding tube popped out, I was really nauseated, but throwing up was a problem because it could go into my trach and because I could not cough, I could aspirate and get Pneumonia. The lady in my room kept talking about the food they were serving or what candy she should get. My mom had nicely explained that I was very sick and we were doing everything (even sniffing alcohol wipes) to avoid throwing up, but she seemed incapable of shutting up. So I did some interesting finger gestures. I don't remember this and luckily there was a curtain between us, but Robert and my mom saw it. He still calls me his sailor wife.
I also flipped off a therapist who wanted me to get out of bed around this same time. That one I do remember. I could not talk and I was dizzy and sick. I did stand for her and even sat in a chair as she requested. Then my BP dropped and I remember my mom yelling for help and nurses running in and quite a bit of excited activity until I was stable. I stand by that particular gesture.
He also remembers my super fun stay in IMCU. My feeding tube had popped out of place so all my meds and food were just going randomly into my body. When they tried to place it again, they put it in my lung so another surgery was needed to move it. Then I developed an infection throughout my whole body (results of meds and food going everywhere) and they had to place a drain in my back to help drain some infected fluids. Then my stomach shut down completely. Robert asked when it might start working again and was told, "probably never". Then my muscle started to contract from lack of use, and my toe started to point down like a Barbie. That never got better and required yet another surgery to fix it. Visitors were very restricted and absolutely no kids were allowed. I was bored out of my mind but too sick to remedy that. I could not write or talk and not any of the night nurses knew sign.That was the longest 3 weeks!! 
But the nurses there were some of the best! They were kind and gentle and treated me like an actual person, not just a silent patient. We had many "Conversations" in which I learned about families, girlfriends, illnesses, accidents, etc. I never uttered a word but I felt very close to those nurses.
After reminiscing about the good old days, I needed some serious snuggle time with my critters. That and some Candy Crush Saga. Cleared another level today.
And for today: MLK

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