Friday, June 3, 2011

Recovering from a stroke. Or not. In fifty painful and expensive lessons.

I see its two months already since I ‘came out’ and admitted that I’d had a stroke. You might have thought that, given my measured optimism in April, I’d be on the high road to recovery now, and planning to head for Europe. Not So.
There have been hiccups. Side effects. Sequels. Pain and misery. Apparently, other ills. And, in some ways, I feel worse off now than then. Mentally as well as physical.

Part of my problem is that nobody has been able to tell me – black on white -- precisely what has happened to me, what is happening to me, and what will/can happen in the future. And, above all, what to do about it.
I’ve seen doctor, physiotherapists (two), osteopath, acupuncturists (two), masseuse, .. and I still don’t know what to do. Do they? We do this, it doesn’t work, so we do that, it doesn’t work, we do that … is my situation so very difficult? Perhaps it is.

One thing that seems clear is – yes, I had a classic stroke with classic effects – the maimed right arm, the spoiled speech, feelings of exhaustion – which should be well on the way to mended now. But they aren’t.
Oh yes, I can type now ... at about 60-70 percent. Thank goodness. When I’m not exhausted, that is. But my speech is still fallible, and, above all, I cannot use my right arm for anything more strenuous than typing. It is virtually frozen, and to try to move it out to the side, or behind my back is sickeningly painful and physically impossible. Why now? when I could wield a spade (gently), pluck a weed, brush my teeth, shave my head in April. Why now?

Well, it appears that, about 5 or 6 weeks ago, while asleep in bed, I developed a Frozen Shoulder. Don’t ask me how or why, and if its connected with the stroke or not. I awoke thinking I’d had a fifth stroke. But medical person number 4 diagnosed it firmly as Frozen, and I went off for two fearsome injections of corticosteroids in the blindingly painful shoulder joint. The last was five days ago. I await to be magically cured. So far, the results are mitigated.

At Reflect of St Albans, the clinic, the lady ultra-sounding the joint announced that I had a torn shoulder tendon. By ‘torn’ she apparently meant torn away from the bone. When? How? Since I’ve been struck, I’ve advisedly used the arm very little except to do the often painful exercises prescribed by my medics. And my shoulder was perfectly able to do windmills and dry my back in April. So, I’ve torn a tendon while sleeping? Or was it like that before, and no-one noticed? If so, I can live with it disconnected. And why can’t I move my arm?

So, you see, I’ve gone from ‘I have had a stroke’, to ‘I have had a stroke, and a frozen shoulder, and a torn tendon’. But no-one thought to tell me that before. And what will they add to the list next?

You will understand that I’m now mistrustful … … sometimes I feel that my multiple (expensive) medics seem to be working against each other, or at very best not agreeing… unbelieving, unconfident in the opinions of anyone.

Well, I give it a fortnight. If I’m not showing serious progress by then, I’m going to say farewell to all but one of my advisors and take it from there. Because in a fortnight I’m going to Australia for ten days fresh air and sunshine, and some decisions are going to be made while I’m there. Like … is it time to go home? Am I sufficiently strong to go home?
Home? You can guess of which side of the world I’m thinking.


Lisa said...

Kurt, it´s so sad to hear that.
I´m sorry, that it is so bad.
Have a relaxing time in Australia and get better soon.

All the best from Bavaria,

shanumanmohansamra said...

I have always been curious about theFrozen Shoulder Injection shot. Especially because you always hear about professional athletes getting them. Good luck with your race (and injury).
Frozen Shoulder Injection