Bits & Pieces

A unique perspective on his survival

by Stroke Survivor and Comedian John Kawie

It’s time once again for Kawie’s Comedy Corner, the advice column that demonstrates how you can take command of your comedy writing without reducing your computer to tiny smoking shards with a hatchet.

Today we will be addressing a very important topic: The half-baked wacky idea. These are the displaced orphans that never found a forever home because they were either too weak or inconsequential to support a whole essay. Funny — at least to me — lovable mutts that Marilyn thinks should be caged in a high-kill shelter. Whereas, I just want to open the door and set them free. She says, “John, there’s a fine line between an amusing original idea and a psychological disorder, and you crossed it.” Apparently, I’ve crossed that line a lot because I’ve got a laptop full of them.

So, let’s open the door…

IDEA #7: It was 2016 when the stroke survivor reality show concept was born. Always the overachiever, I came up with not one but two of them. The first was called “I DARE YOU.” (Great name, right?) The premise? Two stroke survivors try to make it across Queens Boulevard before the light changes. (And you thought “The Voice” was exciting.) Then there was “DANCING WITH THE STROKE SURVIVORS.” Tune in every week to find out who’s toes get stomped on next!

IDEA #16: These babies just keep coming. Such as “Careers You Should and Shouldn’t See in Rehab Vocational Training.”

Race Car Driver — Awesome! Perfect for the motorized wheelchair set because they can never grasp the difference between a race track and a rehab hallway.

Shop Teacher — Seriously? Not if you want to keep all 10 fingers.

Psychic Medium — Problem with clients on this one. Sure, you can conjure up Great Aunt Closinda in a séance, but you’ll never remember what she said.

Linebacker — Wouldn’t work...too many penalty flags for “necessary slowness.”

Rain dancer — A bit limiting if you’re hemiplegic because only half the crops would get watered.

IDEA #23: I’m on fire! Here’s the “Fabulous Holiday Gift Suggestions for Stroke Survivors” list:

Motivate your disabled couch potato with the “The Electro- Shock Barcalounger.” Available in 110 and 220 volts. Guaranteed to ambulate, not stagnate.

For the outdoorsman, there’s the “4-Wheel Drive Electric Wheelchair Pickup with Cane Rack.” Irresistible in gleaming special ops camouflage.

The “Star Wars Lightsaber Cane.” It’s a twofer. You’ll not only blend in at Comic-Con, people will get out of your way on the sidewalk — or should I say, “Out of your way people will get.”

I’ll spare you the rest.

Since the stroke, I sometimes wonder if I’m able to tell the difference between a clever idea and a crazy one. But that’s okay, I’ll take whatever I can get. It’s been 20 years since my CVA. Life has been filled with the usual ups and downs, cloudy days, loss and disappointment. Yet coming up with a bit, good or bad, that can make me laugh, always swings the weathervane in my direction. And that puts me on a better track.

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Stroke Rehabilitation

Making the Best Decisions at Discharge After Stroke

The type of rehabilitation and support systems a survivor receives at discharge can strongly influence health outcomes and recovery. In this, the first part of a two-part series on stroke rehab, we offer guidance for the decision-making process required when it’s time to leave the hospital.

What to Expect from Outpatient Rehab

After stroke, about two-thirds of survivors receive some type of rehabilitation. Outpatient therapy may consist of Several types of therapy. Whether a patient is referred to inpatient or outpatient therapy depends on the level of medical care required.

What to Expect in Stroke Rehab

Following a stroke, about two-thirds of survivors receive some type rehabilitation. In this second of our two-part series, we want to alleviate some of the mystery, fear and anxiety around the inpatient rehab part of the stroke recovery journey.
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AHA-ASA Resources

The Support Network

When faced with challenges recovering from heart disease or stroke, it’s important to have emotional support. That is why we created a network to connect patients and loved ones with others during their journey.

Caregiver Guide to Stroke

The Caregiver Guide to Stroke is meant to help caregivers better navigate the recovery process and the financial and social implications of a stroke.

Stroke Support Group Finder

To find a group near you, simply enter your ZIP code and a mile radius. If your initial search does not pull up any groups, try

Tips for Daily Living Library

This volunteer-powered library gathers tips and ideas from stroke survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals all over the country who’ve created or discovered adaptive and often innovative ways to get things done!

Stroke Family Warmline

The Warmline connects stroke survivors and their families with an ASA team member who can provide support, helpful information or just a listening ear.

Let's Talk About Stroke Patient Information Sheets

Let's Talk About Stroke is a series of downloadable patient information sheets, created by the American Stroke Association, that presents information in a question-and-answer format that's brief, easy to follow and easy to read.

Request Free Stroke Information Packets

Fill out this online form to request free information about a variety of post-stroke topics.
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Stroke & Parts of the Brain

When Stroke Affects the Occipital Lobe

Our occipital lobe, the smallest of the four lobes of the cerebral cortex, controls how we visually interpret our world.

When Stroke Affects the Cerebellum

The cerebellum contains 80 percent of our neurons. Its job seems to be to make things better. We talked with neuroscientist Jeremy Schmahmann about how stroke affects the “little brain.”

When Stroke Affects the Parietal Lobe

The parietal lobe helps us make sense of sensory information, like where our bodies and body parts are in space, our sense of touch, and the part of our vision that deals with the location of objects.

When Stroke Affects the Frontal Lobe

Of the four lobes that make up the cerebral cortex, the frontal lobe is the largest. It plays a huge role in many of the functions that make us human — memory, language, movement, judgment, abstract thinking.

When Stroke Affects the Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe has several functions, mainly involved with memory, perception and language.

When Stroke Affects the Brain Stem

The brain stem serves as a bridge in the nervous system. It sits at the top of the spinal column in the center of the brain. When a stroke happens there, it can cause a few different deficits and, in the most severe cases, can lead to locked-in syndrome.

When Stroke Affects the Thalamus

The thalamus can be thought of as a "relay station," receiving signals from the brain’s outer regions (cerebral cortex), interpreting them, then sending them to other areas of the brain to complete their job.
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Stroke Notes

Stroke-related news you can use about new scientific findings, public policy, programs and resources.

Readers Room

Articles, poems and art submitted by stroke survivors and their loved ones.

Life Is Why

Everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. These stroke survivors, caregivers and others share their 'whys'. We'd love for you to share yours, too!

Everyday Survival

Practical tips and advice for day-to day living after stroke.

Life At The Curb

A unique perspective on survival by comedian and stroke survivor John Kawie.

Simple Cooking

Cooking at home can be a daunting task, but a rewarding one for your diet and lifestyle (and your wallet). Making small changes in your diet is important to your heart health. Here are simple, healthy and affordable recipes and cooking tips.

Helping Others Understand

Stroke affects people differently and many of the effects of stroke can be complicated. Helping friends and family understand how a stroke is affecting a survivor can help everyone involved.

Support Showcase

Our new department highlighting the good work being done by stroke support groups from around the nation. If you are part of a successful support group we should consider featuring, let us know!