Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Just Catching Up

I thought I should fill in a variety of different topics that I have mentioned in my blog over the past few months in case anyone is wondering.

My adult son has recovered very well from the injuries he received when he was riding his bike to work and he got hit by a car. His tibia (bone in lower leg) was broken  but it was a good recovery. The bone had stayed in place and it is not the one that supports the weight when you stand so he was able to get to work within a couple of weeks. He still has a fair bit of discomfort, but life goes on and it really has not been all that long since the accident. He still will have to deal with the personal injury insurance and repairs to his bike.

My younger daughter has had a much harder time. She crashed our car in September and she really did in her ankle. She needed surgery and is still getting physiotherapy. She has been off work most of this time. About 6 weeks ago they started to phase her back into work. The insurance is still paying her salary and the replacement staff is still at work, but my daughter started with working 2 hours shifts a couple times during the week, and finally in the past 2 weeks, she has been able to last for a full shift on her own. She is still in a lot of pain and they are trying acupuncture now. She used to do a lot of distance walking and some running and it was a real stress reliever for her so that is an activity she still hopes to do again someday.

I got my results back from the mammogram and it is all clear. Yippee! They will contact me in two years to set up a next appointment and I really like the fact that they will call me next time. This is a good government initiative program.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Star Trek on Neurological Damage

Honest!  I am not a Trekky, but I grew up with the Star Trek shows and movies and it is frequently the background TV sound at my house on weekday afternoons. My husband gets home from work and plops on the couch to be distracted from a long day at work by the familiar fantasy of these old science fiction episodes.

I had the old Voyageur episode, "Riddles", playing in the background this afternoon, while I was blog hopping.  I found myself caught up in the episode. I was entranced and kind of upset because it hit a nerve.

Tuvok, our logical, controlled Vulcan, finds himself with neurological damage.  He comes out of a coma like state to find himself with cognitive impairment, memory loss and a loss of his former emotional control. Sound familiar yet?

As our story unfolds Tuvok starts to respond with the care and support of his friend Neelix. Tuvok deals with the fact that he is now different and then he realizes that he is free to explore other aspects of his life. He discovers a skill and joy in baking, he laughs and he has fun. They eventually find a cure but Tuvok does not want to go through with the treatment because he likes what he has become. He allows himself to be persuaded to go through with the procedure because it is in the best interests of the whole space ship.

I think it was actually a good, but strange and thought provoking, depiction of life after stroke.

I think about the many people who have gently led me in my recovery, I think of the new skills I am now exploring and I think of all the new people who have come into my life as a result of this trauma.  Would I grab at a cure? You bet ya! Would I want to go back to where I was and pretend nothing ever happened? I don't really think so. I am, in many ways that really matter, a stronger, more confident, and more compassionate woman than I was before.

I picked the following youTube clip to share because I am considering eventually working again. It is obvious that I can't go back to the kind of work I was doing before. I don't want to hit the wrong buttons at my work station or see real looks on my co-workers faces like the ones Tuvok generates from his fictional co-workers on their fictional space ship.

What else can I add besides "Live Long and Prosper"?

There are full episodes of the show on line if you are interested. Just search youTube.
Voyager, season 6 episode 6 "Riddles"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

An Important Question

"What kind of role model do you want to be?" my friend asked me recently.

We were discussing the free breast screening program we have in our province.  I had never had a mammogram and I was not really planning on it right now, even though I could have it done for free. My friend said she did not want something else to happen to me. She wants me to take care of myself. I was non-committal and trying to ignore her comments and then she pulled the "Mommy card" on me. 
"Linda! You have 3 young adult daughters. Do you want them to ignore their health care in the future? You are their role model, so just do it and set a good example.".

On my 50th birthday I received a letter from the government telling me I was now eligible for breast screening and what number to call. I thought it was rather an unpleasant birthday surprise. I have no family history of breast cancer or symptoms, so what is the rush?

Not long after that I wound up in an altogether different health crisis and all thought of breast screening dropped to the bottom of my priorities. The sad fact is that if I had watched the warning signs, and obtained proper, timely health care, it is possible that most of my horrible health issues could have been avoided. Now I stay on my medications, I go to my doctor to have my blood pressure checked and I work on dieting, and exercise. I show up at my therapy appointments and I do all I can to avoid ever having further brain damage or a heart attack.

 The reality is that avoiding something like breast screening for 3 years, was not a sign that I had learned from previous experience.  That was not being proactive about my health care! I dragged my guilty little self to the phone and called the clinic to book an appointment. I told my daughters what I had done and they indicated they were relieved that I had finally booked an appointment. It mattered to them, but yet we had never even discussed the subject.

Today I had my first ever mammogram. It took all of half an hour, and everything was very routine feeling and not really all that uncomfortable. They will send me, and my primary care physician, a letter in two weeks.

So who are you a role model for?

Manitoba Breast Screening Program
Health Canada Breast Cancer (Health Canada)
Breast Cancer Screening (US national Institute of Health)

Graphic Garden

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Learning to Dance in the Rain

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...It's about learning to dance in the rain."
— Vivian Greene

I have a binder that  I take to my rehab sessions. It includes illustrations for my physiotherapy exercises, my notes from occupational therapy, ideas from mindful meditation sessions and so much more. 
 I put our photograph of storm clouds rolling in over the lake on the binder cover with the quote above written on it. I look at it and I feel inspired to keep working right now. I can't lie around waiting for the perfect moment, or for that full recovery,  life is happening right now so just get on with it and Dance!

My binder is starting to look a bit worn and getting overstuffed,  so I think it is time for a new binder and a new photo. 
What do you think of this one?

 We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness.
          ~Author Unknown

The pictures were taken at my favorite spot in the world, my cottage.
These photos are my work so please do not copy.  linda & bob cooper @2010

This one is for Cassidy.  Keep on dancing. (Post reedited on May 20th, 2011)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Movie Day at the Stroke Recovery Association

We decided to have a Movie Day at SAM (Stroke Association of Manitoba

The decision was made to try having a movie event in the afternoon because so many of our members are free during the day. On the other hand many family members would not be able to attend at that time but we have to start somewhere. The movie Date Night was chosen because it seemed funny and like it might have an appeal to people who like an action show as well as people who enjoy romantic comedy.

We made some posters to put up around SAM, made popcorn, picked up some pop and rented the movie. Amongst other things, we learned that microwave popcorn is hard to make in an older microwave you are not used to. Next time I think would buy pre-popped popcorn and just relax at the event instead of worrying about how long to cook popcorn.

Our biggest challenge was that we had a large wall mount TV purchased recently and it was not yet installed on the wall. We went back and forth about getting a date to install it and we really appreciated Peter getting in installed on the wall for us.  The TV looks good and it we thing we will be getting more use of it with time. We don't have cable into the space so we can't actually watch TV, but we have lots of DVDs and videos.   We are hoping to get cable some time in the future. A few of us can picture the fun of Grey Cup and Super Bowl and a few of us would like together to see the Oscars and other broadcasts as a group. There is a fair bit of interest is watching curling too.

We didn't have a huge group attending our first Movie Day but everyone who did attend seemed to have a really good time. We are thinking this would make a good seasonal event and plan on doing it again perhaps in the Fall.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Origami Cranes

This crane was a project from my occupational therapist in December 2009. It was just before Christmas and my therapist thought this would be a nice change. She handed me my choice of some origami paper and an illustrated page with directions for how to make a crane. This was incredibly hard to do at that time. I have made hundreds and hundreds of these cranes in the past both with my own kids and with my Girl Guide Groups, but do you think I could do it easily even with directions?     Nope. 

The points of this exercise will have been decision making to start with  by picking the paper, following ordered directions, and some fine motors skills for my hand. I got really good at doing a lot of things one handed but paper folding wasn't one of them at that point; I actually needed to use that second hand a bit to make sharp folds.  I persevered and managed to produce this little guy and I took him home and we hung him on our tree.
 This little crane represents so much to me. It stands for peace and it is a reminder  of a positive changing point in my recovery.

Photographer Madeline Bea is joining in a movement to show signs of hope and prayers for the people of Japan.

I am joining her and linking up with her weekly creative challenge this week "The Sunday Creative"

Madeline choose this topic in support of the people of Japan. She wrote:

You can submit your images to the 1000 Cranes for Japan Flickr group. Also, I’ve decided to make this week’s Sunday Creative prompt Crane as well to try and get even more participation, even more cranes, even more hope, and even more prayers.  The Miya Company is offering to donate $5 for each of the first 1000 crane images they receive to the Save the Children for Japan’s relief and recovery.
The Miya Company page is a nice informative page with a good goal. It includes a PDF with directions to make a crane. Check it out.
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