At first, I was explaining only as much of my challenges that were needed so the reader would understand what I was trying to convey in these posts. Now I’ve come to the decision that explaining each time I mention my disability is ludicrous. After all, as of last month, I have over 700 people reading my blog. Yes, that isn’t an enormous number but it’s enough for me to write this page explaining what life is with the disability that I have. This way I can just insert a link to this page where it is needed. Those who have already read this page can ignore the link and finish reading the post. Those who want to know what I’m talking about can follow the link and learn.
I had a stroke in 1972 when I was 17 years old. I was left completely paralyzed on the right side of my body. Through physical and occupational therapy I gained back some of what I lost. Still, I do struggle with much of what is done on a day-to-day basis.
Mobility issues: My body isn’t balanced so when I’m outside or when the air pressure of the environment is in transition, I use a four-pronged cane when I walk. Don’t ever expect me to run. I cannot do it. Inside, if I am familiar with the surroundings, I can usually get around without the cane because I never have to go more than four steps to get to something, even a wall that I can use to balance myself. Another reason for the cane is that I have what is called ‘drop-foot’. All this means is that my right ankle is too weak to completely perform right in lifting the right foot when I walk.
Dexterity issues: My right should, arm, hand, and fingers are severely paralyzed. My shoulder slouches even though I am usually practicing good posture. I, also, can’t move my arm out away from my body very far. My arm does have some good movement, although I must concentrate to have this happen. I used to be able to do the same with my fingers, but the tendons have shortened making it impossible for me to stretch my fingers out straight. The tendon in my wrist has also shortened making my wrist turned under permanently. This means that I type on a keyboard with the five fingers of one hand.
I have lost some of the peripheral vision in my right eye, but I’ve adapted to that easily so it isn’t a big issue.
Having mental limitations is awful. There isn’t anyway else to put it.
Cognitive issues: Understanding what someone is trying to tell me can be a pain in the ass every so often. When I don’t understand, I’ve learned to just ask the person to “walk me through the tulips”. Routines and schedules are my saviors. Repetition in what I do during the course of each day is how I live best.
Short-term memory loss issues: I try my best to do things as they happen if they aren’t in my routine. If I don’t do it right away, chances are that I’ll forget it completely. When having a blog, this can become a huge problem. I can forget to read blogs of people I care about. I can forget to email friends. I leave emails in my inbox until I have responded them as a way to help me remember. For the most part, it works. However, if I have forgotten you, please do not be upset. Just send me a reminder email.
Almost all information I absorb has to go through the right side of my brain before it can hit the left side. This means that I receive information through the emotional side of my brain first.
Selective memory loss: Because so much information goes through the emotional side first, if I don’t like what I’m receiving and I’m not concentrating as much as I need to, I won’t remember whatever it is. Actually, this can be funny at times. I can watch a movie I don’t like and not remember watching it. My husband has some movies on DVD that I really detest. Sometimes I’ll suggest that we watch one of them, thinking I haven’t seen it before when I have. My husband has to tell me that I don’t like the movie.
Anxiety issues: I have General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). It’s not only an emotional drawback but a physical one too. The GAD is physically part of the disability because parts of my brain do not function correctly due to the stroke. I am on medication so it isn’t much of an issue usually. During those rare times when it has me by the throat [figuratively, that is], I’ll be away from the Internet for a short time. Please don’t write me off. I will be back.
This about covers it. If I think of anything else that may be helpful to you, I’ll edit and add. If you have questions that aren’t answered here, PLEASE ask away. I will answer them.