The Stroke, part 15: safety first in ten steps!
We move to a new stage in stroke recovery: I’ve been discharged from home nursing care and therapy, and the doctor is not recommending outpatient therapy. So the rest of the recovery is now up to me alone.Soon I’m going to be driving again – and oh, how I’ve waited for it. Over ten weeks without getting behind the wheel, and bumming rides from my family and friends for everything. But sometime in the next several days I will HAVE to drive, and in the meantime I will be going to driver rehab for at least a day – to have my reflexes, eyesight and what-all assessed. And I have been released from home care nursing and therapy in preparation for this.
That’s right: it’s up to me, and me alone now. And if there’s one thing that they hammered into me at Akron General Medical Center, Edwin Shaw Rehab Hospital, Pine Valley Care Center, and at my own pad with Accessible Home Health Care, it’s safety first! I must be safe if I am to become whole. I’ve talked to several dozen health care pros to reach this conclusion, and collected ten things that I must make sure I always know, if I want to be safe. If you ever find yourself recuperating, you must know these ten things too. Here we go.
- Know where you are and what’s around you. You must know what could cause a fall, especially. (So much of this, by the way, is just like what a leper must know, if he wants to keep his disease from eating him away slowly. I have learned this from reading the fantasy novels about Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. Good stuff, about a hero who happens to be a leper who happens to be an asshole. If a leper falls, he can kick-start his disease.)
- Know where your phone is/all the emergency numbers. Again, it’s about a fall or other injury, or if you get yourself into some other situation you can’t get out of.
- Know where the nearest light is. Because you’re most vulnerable in the dark, especially if you just woke up.
- Know the nearest support point/grab bar. Because you could get dizzy or wobbly or bump into something.
- Know what you can and cannot do. This is especially true in rehab exercises: you must fatigue yourself a bit if you want to get stronger, but you must not exhaust yourself – if you do, it’ll be harder to reach a point of safety.
- Know when you will run out of meds. A guy in my boat, who MUST watch his blood pressure, simply can’t run out. Plan ahead, and get one of those pill boxes for measuring out doses. (The one pictured is the one I have. Toni the nurse gave it to me.
- Know when you need help/where you can find it. And yeah, that means the emergency numbers. I had someone who reads this blog suggest that I tape my phone to my damn forehead (LOL), but I can’t do that so easily with the emergency numbers. Still, most of them are programmed into my cell phone now, and the rest are where I can find ‘em easily.
- Know when you’re fatigued. When it starts coming on, start looking for a place to sit or lie down.
- Know the day, know the time, know the date. If you have a problem, medical personnel may ask you questions like this over the phone to verify that you’re lucid. If you need emergency help, lucid is a very good way to be.
- Know the signs of a stroke. Especially the first three letters: S (smile), T (talk in complete sentences), R (raise your arms over your head. With a stroke, that’s how an EMS crew will figure out how bad it is.
I hope you never have a stroke of course, but safety first is one of those things that it’s better to have and not need than to need and not have. So get it down, and keep the car running!
End part 15. Soon I will rejoin the world. In the meantime, I hope you are healthy, and I also hope this series helps make a contribution to your health. This is the most friendly thing I can do for the world.