A Unique Perspective on His Survival
by Stroke Survivor and Comedian John Kawie
The good folks here at Stroke Connection offer support and guidance through every step of your recovery. My column offers none whatsoever, but I think it might be time for a change. So let’s begin with that first exciting morning home and what you can expect.
1. What is home, exactly?
It is a place with no doctors, nurses, stethoscopes, syringes, bedpans, Ativan or nuclear powered laxatives. In other words, it’s a fun yet dangerous environment … a stroke survivor’s Six Flags minus the seatbelts or call buttons.
2. Is there anything there that can kill you?
3. Will you be confused?
Very. Okay, you’re comfy and cozy sleeping soundly in your own bed when suddenly, at 4 a.m., your eyes pop open like a ventriloquist dummy. Nobody’s sticking a needle in your arm and drawing blood so you look under your bed wondering, “Where is everyone?” No worries, this is normal. It’s known as TDH, The Dracula Hangover, and it will eventually disappear. Remember, you are now a civilian who can boldly roll over and slip back into Dreamville.
4. What happens in the bathroom?
First, oral hygiene. I’m assuming you did this daily in the hospital and discovered your own one-handed technique of applying toothpaste on a toothbrush. If not, this might be the reason nobody visited you.
For a guy, shaving is second. Again, I’m assuming you mastered the one-handed method. If you didn’t, I’d recommend going Duck Dynasty and growing a beard. Otherwise, you’ll probably Van Gogh your ear trying to get your sideburns even. On the plus side, you’ll become familiar with the Department of Plastic Surgery — and who knows what celebrities you might meet!
5. Are you really going to wear that?
Congratulations, you made it through the bathroom leg of the morning unscathed ... no small feat because the bathroom is the Death Star of the home universe. You’re one bar of soap away from a trip to the morgue.
Time for the dreaded “C” word…clothes! … a must if you plan on going outside. So take the plunge and open your closet door. Even if you don’t have a large wardrobe, the visual impact alone will make you feel like you have more options than Beyoncé figuring out what to wear to the VMA Awards. In the hospital, you had three simple choices: naked, hospital gown and sweats. (Correction, two — because naked and hospital gown are essentially the same thing.) But now? You’re a stroke survivor with the decision-making capability of an ill-trained border collie and your brain is about to explode.
So close your eyes, dive in, grab something and coordination be damned. Sure, your wife will call you Clarabell for the rest of the day, but who cares? You made your first decision.
6. Now what?
Now comes the fun part — Outpatient Therapy. This will be your day job for oh … roughly one week to three years, depending on your insurance, of course. With enough practice, you could go from wheelchair to cane and maybe even from cane to no-cane. Granted, you’ll be moving as fast as the line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, but at least you’re moving.
And that’s it!
You crushed your first morning. And you’ll do it again tomorrow and the day after that and so on. How do I know? Because you possess the kind of pioneering spirit exemplified by Stroke Connection readers.
This information is provided as a resource to our readers. The tips, products or resources listed or linked to have not been reviewed or endorsed by the American Stroke Association.