The Post-Stroke Diaries: Day 1 – Laugh And The World Laughs With You

I’m at mum’s for a “few days/week/oh I don’t know, you’d be better off talking to the external therapists.”

The length of time depends on how mum’s overly-pedantic-about-toast therapist felt during the course of two quick phone conversations.

So I’m here.

I was a condition of mum’s release. Like the fitting of one of those anklet things to ne’er-do-wells. But with a shuffling pensioner.

It’s safe to say we’re not taking this rehabilitation seriously. All we’ve done is laugh at stuff, basically. Laughter being the best medicine, as well as blood thinners and a variety of other stuff of all shapes and sizes.

And so far, after over 24 hours of freedom, no injuries have befallen my mother. There have been no accidents. There has also been no avoidance of any tasks because she’s had a stroke.

We’ve cooked a meal in the microwave. We’ve cooked a meal in the oven. We’ve made sandwiches, soups, countless cups of tea and/or coffee. We’ve showered. We’ve done washing. We’ve pottered round the garden.

I’m not saying that everything has been super easy. But there have been no mishaps. Certainly nothing that has made me cringe in fear or left me doubting that mum can survive on her own any differently to her life pre-stroke.

Which is exactly as it should be. But which seems to be something that the occupational therapists seemed reluctant to embrace, choosing instead to focus on the”correct” way to make toast and any coffee granules which may miss a cup.

We’ve spent a good portion of the day working out a method for filling cups. I don’t know if it’s solely a problem with depth perception or influenced by the therapist’s confidence that mum will shower the world in boiling water, but mum’s currently running a half-measures coffee service. So this has led to experiments involving cup volumes and the fill level of the kettle and will culminate in the use of a black marker to annotate the outside of the kettle in a way which serves to help judge volumes. Pour a bit, check the level, pour more. It’s not elegant but it’s a solution that works.

And that’s what all this is about. Mum tried to explain about her Kindle to her therapist. She said we’d got it set up for her and were using the dyslexic font. Which was instantly dismissed because what’s wrong with mum’s eyes is nothing like dyslexia. But the dyslexia font makes the letters easier for mum to recognise and read. I’ve tested it against normal fonts.

I’m not just doing stuff for shits and giggles.

If it helps someone achieve something, why not do it? Why not just at least try… look at the stuttering kid from that documentary about the school, his teacher tried a technique he’d seen on The King’s Speech more-or-less on a whim. That’s all I’m doing with mum, winging it to create solutions for problems that only she has. One size doesn’t always fit all.

I think we’ve covered more ground in the last day than had been done in hospital.

And not a slice of toast to be seen.