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15 Mar 2008

Post number 26: Peter and Imogen Lee to the rescue

Good morning/afternoon/whenever everyone. First up I want to dedicate this post to my good friends the lees (Peter and Imogen) because when I finally managed to get on the computer this morning I immediately noticed that the mouse had broken. One quick panic phonecall to Peter and he rocks up 45minutes later with a new much better mouse. You can always rely on Peter. At his recent wedding to the lovelyImogen in Northern Ireland which for Obvious reasons I was sadly unable to make I made sure my message to them contained the words’reliable’ and ‘loyal’ to describe Pete. That’s exactly what I thought of when I dialled his number earlier. This sentiment has not changed. Imogen has chosen well.
Anyway, It’s the end of another tough week in the world of the stroke survivor. I am learning or rather have learnt that one of the greatest challenges is to try and keep occupied. Otherwise we start to question our value as humans which internal discussion leads to one thing, depression. I think it’s one of the key reasons we, as humans, work. I have no idea how some people can do nothing and live off handouts and benefits, maybe it’s just me but the thought of doing nothing with my time fills me with dread, it’s one of the reasons I write this blog, which is I’m sure the world over why blogs or even diaries get written, there’s also the therapy angle, despite not really knowing who reads this you do get this feeling that you are sharing things. That sounds a bit AA, m’kay… I’m desperately trying not to make this too self indulgent because I don’t want people to get (too) bored and switch off.
I feel awful getting help now from the state/my parents and my friends despite not being able to survive without them (and also feeling unbelievably grateful). Before my stroke I had spent the best part of 30 years getting independent (however chaotic my finances were!) and I finally felt that approaching my 30s I’d finally made it and suddenly, boom I’m back to square one. A lot of this feels a bit like starting again without the advantage of being a kid. Speaking of what it’s like to be a kid Someone (I think it was a friend of mine called Annabel actually) shared an interesting pearl of wisdom with me, Simply put, the reason why kids always appear happy is because they’re always thinking in the present. It suddenly struck me (it seems so obvious now) that every time I thought about the future is when I get depressed. Sure, thinking about the present for me is no picnic either! I had/still have lost count of the number of times people have told me to ‘take each day as it comes’. In fact it was getting to the stage where I was considering running over the toes of the next person who said it to me, probably the worst sanction I can muster! At least now I can appreciate why people say it rather than my initial internal reaction, which was that it was any old nonsense taken out of one of those bloody awful little booklets ’50 things to say to people in hospital’ that they flog on the counters of WHSmith next too ’50 of the greatest chat-up lines’ which funnily enough got given to me the other day. There really are some gems.
Back to the subject of work,I’m afraid. Not only do we work for the obvious things, money, intellectual stimulation, social interaction or that rarest of things that seems to go with work unless we’re extremely lucky, fun. Apart from money , most things to do with work are designed to give you the feeling of self-worth from turning up everyday and making an impact on something, which is why I hated working in the city because what impact was I actually making? (OK, so I may have 1 or 2 friends/even family who are wedded to the worlds biggest paper shredder but it’ll take an act of god to make me change my mind!) and I think it is the lack of this self-worth that has hit me hardest, it has been why the situation with Natasha has been so hard. What’s made it so hard for me is that she has done nothing wrong at all. She is perfectly within her rights to get on with her life, it has just left me feeling like I’m the type of guy that just isn’t suitable for anyone to get on with their life with if the one person who knew me best wasn’t prepared to do it, what chance do I have with anyone else? I had better stop this chat because it’s all a bit soap opera. Overacted melodrama (which I hate) a bit like Holyoaks. So, moving onwards and upwards that is why I am trying to meet people who have been in my situation and come through it. Today (Friday when I first wrote this, now Saturday)) I met a guy called Bobby who was sitting almost exactly in my position, his stroke on the right side of his brain had caused enough damage to knock out his left side but he said to me thank god he could speak and that he basically retained most of his cognitive functions (ie the ability to think and remember which I think is roughly what I retained), He now lives on his own at home in a power wheelchair and has daily visits from a carer. Like Lucy (another stroke survivor who I met afew weeks ago the message I’ve taken away from both of them is ‘it’s hard but not as bad as you think it’s going to be’.

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