I was having a little think in the bath yesterday at how jarring stroke can be. It’s quite staggering how it affects our personality, not just the physical and mental, but sense of character. Before stroke, I was a fairly windswept individual. I had a rugged mindset. I could weather most elements in life, be they literal or figurative. If I were lost, I could agreeably wander for hours until finding my bearings, I could shelter anywhere I pleased, and would agreeably put up with any estrangement. I could suffer a cold bath, wet socks, prolonged queuing, domestic calamities, periods of hunger, and anything else life wanted throw at me. I feel a bit like going from Indiana Jones to Gandalf in a matter of years. Or I’ve suddenly reincarnated from Tom Baker to William Hartnell in the blink of an eye. Please don’t get the wrong impression, I was no action man before having a stroke, in fact, I was fairly risk adverse and a comfort seeker, but my mind was always ready to adapt to circumstance should any situation require it.
I feel this stroke hangover, where my once gritted resilience and propensity to handle life in a ductile manner has been reduced to an overly prudent and self-preserving way of life. It’s not necessarily a negative, but what a change. No more traipsing around in that nonchalant manner I had become accustomed to. I plan every move now. I’ve gone from Hungry Hippo to Chess. I do feel a bit of pressure to keep up with the Joneses. I sometimes wonder how much more people around me will endure of my limitations, and I am always finding fresh ways to be indispensable, mostly for my own peace of mind.
Recently, in a moment of sincerity, my partner admitted that she had hated my shuffling. I had acquired hypometria after stroke which lasted for about a year. At first I was a bit disheartened by such a strong word, but then I understood that I was a mess, and no one likes to look at a mess. She would have witnessed her capable and active partner become a mere shadow of his former self. Perhaps, also, dismay of her own mortality might have been gnawing at the back of her mind. There’s the length of a Hadrian’s wall between acceptance and lumping something. If someone is frustrated by something someone else does that cannot be helped, imagine how the person suffering it feels.
So, I lay in the bath, weighing up the pros ands cons of post stroke, some cancelled each other out, but some were blatantly at odds with each other. But there is certainly a stroke hangover that I feel day to day, especially when I am drunk on feeling capable and pushing myself only to be afflicted by days of disability.
On other matters … I have finally reached a great accord with my pet circle. Much to my chagrin, the other evening, when I went to sit down to have some “animal free” time, and found myself sitting like this.