I got the why’s of a stroke affecting the brain and cutting off signals to the right side of my body – there’s a lot of learning to do after a stroke. But I thought you could, over time, rewire the brain – train it to do the same things it used to.
Or least that’s what I was told: “You’ll be back ‘normal’ after some rehab” from nurses and physios and consultants. It’s a litany people who have strokes are told. They are all lies – well-intentioned lies, but lies all the same.
Like I said at the beginning of this blog adventure, strokes are a bespoke affliction – it’s a one-off designed just for you. It’s kind of like ordering from a Chinese restaurant in that you can one from column A, and three from column B, or the other way around, or different amounts. Not that you have much of a choice during a stroke – the end result depends on how many brain cells die during a stroke from not getting life-sustaining oxygen. That result is your Chinese takeaway order. It includes death.
Coming up on year three of stroke in my life and I have made some progress with what I got in my takeaway order. I can walk a straight line, and pick up a cup, and get dressed, and chop vegetables, and sort of type now (look at me blogging!). But it’s a far cry from ‘normal’. I think that’s why I’m suddenly interested in research. I think it will somehow speed up the recovery, or the very least come up with a reasonable explanation of why it is not.
I yearn for the normalcy that I used to have – to type out a story at warp speed; to drive; to speak normally; to know a day without fatigue or tiredness.
They are looking for stroke survivors to take part in research on fatigue and tiredness. That sounds like my kind of research.
I can tell them about that. Since my stroke I have to take a nap about noon every day. About then I look like an extra in The Walking Dead (Zombie TV series) I am that tired. I sleep for about an hour and that revives me.
BS (Before Stroke) I would never entertain the thought of a nap as it would take valuable awake time (read creative time – photography, writing) from me. And BS, should I ever fall asleep accidentally from just being exhausted, I was a bear to be around. Now a power nap is essential to my post-stroke rehab. I shall apply for that research and they tell me:
“The reason behind development of fatigue is not clear but previous research suggests that it could be due to changes within the areas of brain that control movement. In this study, we use brain stimulation, questionnaires and brain scans to gain information about the area in the brain that contribute to development of fatigue following a stroke.”