Updated: Feb 4, 2022
"Community is where humility and glory touch.”
-Henri J.M. Nouwen
IT TAKES A VILLAGE to Recover!
As I’m sure you’ve discovered by now, you need lots of “people” support to deal with the effects of your stroke/neurological event and to fully recover.
We survivors now possess a damaged new body and mind, whereby we're unable to function as we had before the stroke/neurological event; i.e., driving is out of the question until we’re cleared by our doctor and therapists, so we need drivers to transport us to/from therapy/doctor appointments. We aren't able to fully care for ourselves yet because our bodies and minds are not functioning fully, so we're in need of our caregivers to help us shower, brush our teeth, etc.
Additionally, performing simple tasks has become difficult or impossible to perform. Cooking for ourselves is currently unavailable until we're taught by our OT's how to return to cooking. If you’re currently one-handed, opening envelopes and packages, using zippers, buttoning buttons, opening cans and bottles, maneuvering door thresholds, opening/closing heavy doors, negotiating bed covers, and many more!
Our caregivers need assistance who are overwhelmed with their additional workload. Emotional outlets help our caregivers “vent” about their numerous stressor! Physical help is needed as well to alleviate the physical burden of the many additional tasks needed to help us. PTSD therapy is required to help us and our caregivers deal with the psychological issues that have arisen from our strokes.
My first recollection of the need for this vital support village was the encouragement and support from my family and friends. My nieces sent uplifting videos they created, as well as greeting cards and phone calls while I was still in the hospital and thereafter.
Once I returned home, one of the first challenges was our daily meals. I didn’t want my partner/caregiver, Jane, to assume the additional burden (along with having her hands full with me) of having to cook meals, not to mention grocery shopping and tidying up. I called one of our retired neighbors, Kathy McGuire, to request she assist us with meals by asking our other retired neighbors for help, arranging a schedule for food preparation and delivery. She did a great job! The home-cooked food from these wonderful cooks was a wonderful gift!
A special thanks to Kathy, Corliss, Nancy & Tom, and Linda, for preparing (or buying) and delivering hot, delicious meals nightly! And thanks to our community of friends for transporting or cooking food for us when they visited!
By the way, I knew Jane would’ve assumed these time-consuming and tiresome tasks without complaint, but she didn’t need to exhaust herself when taking care of me was exhausting enough; especially due to the fact there were all of these wonderful people who were ready and willing to help! A beautiful thing! Jane later resumed her chef’s duties when I became more independent.
A few other helpful things...
Grab bars in our two toilet rooms and showers were added prior to my returning home. Indispensable!
Rug removal is another important task that needs to be addressed, preferably before returning home; as well as your bed that may need to be lowered. Ours did, and Jane addressed both of these tasks, among others, before I returned from the acute rehab clinic.
Once home, the issue of transportation to therapy sessions and doctors’ visits arose. We are lucky that many of our friends are retired, so again, the ladies listed above pulled us through another hurdle, as well as Chris/Leslie, Cheryl, Kim/Nancy, Corliss, and many others! Once, when Corliss was driving me to one of my doctors, I couldn’t remember how to get there! She patiently waited until my memory returned and directed her! Bless her heart!
An added bonus was allowing me the opportunity to visit with these friends one-on-one, which was a real treat! We are still so grateful!
A large portion of my village are my physicians. In my case, I was already involved with most of them, except my neuro-therapists, so it was a natural transition for me to seek these physicians out post-stroke.
You’ve already heard from a few of the neuro therapists and other practitioners who have helped me greatly, or are currently helping me. In future posts, you’ll read about many other doctors and practitioners who performed wonders with my damaged body and mind. Below you will find a list.
Dr.'s Trevor Berry and Russ Teames, at their clinic, Arizona Chiropractic Neurology in Chandler, AZ. Their amazing work with a neurological-specific laser used to reduce inflammation and heal the brain, as well as stroke-specific neurological ocular exercises to improve the functioning of body and mind.
My great therapists at the former SWAN (SouthWest Advanced Neurological Rehabilitation, LLC) in Phoenix, AZ, now called “Swan Rehab A Rehab Without Walls since 2018 in Phoenix and Goodyear.
Mark Ritter at Entire Care Rehab and Sports Center in Sedona, AZ is someone I continue to see. He’s an amazing hand recovery specialist. Very few of these are around, and trust me, there’s no one like Mark! He rocks, big time!
My former psychotherapist was amazing during my recovery, as she was in my pre-stroke days, and continues to be, now as a friend! In addition to her visiting me at St. Luke’s Acute Rehab after driving from Tucson where she was belatedly celebrating her July birthday with her 3 sons and their wives, she initiated a series of sessions to resolve the PTSD caused by the trauma of the stroke, which she accomplished with great success as she does with everything she does! Additionally, she introduced me to a neuro-biofeedback and brain healing system called NeurOptimal©, which is a method that trains the brain to function at peak performance. I think we all could use some of that, right?!
Weekly acupuncture with my longtime naturopath, Dr. Kiera Lane NMD, who also increased my seriously low dopamine and serotonin levels through natural means, among other stroke-related complications.
Since Dr. Lane has such a busy practice, I enjoy weekly acupuncture treatments with the extraordinarily gifted Darin Zimmerman who owns a practice in Scottsdale, AZ and has his own private acupuncture practice as well.
Teresa Lake, an energy medicine practitioner and owner of Lake Healing, has been integral to my healing on many levels. If she hadn’t consistently worked on healing my bladder, I’d still be burdened with UTIs - just one example of her magnificent work!
Additionally, we continue to enjoy the support, love, caring and motivation from our wonderful friends and family!
On and on the recovery process goes! It’s our lifelong work!
How about your “village”? Who are they?
How are they assisting you and supporting you?
How are you showing your gratitude?
I would love to hear below!
NEXT WEEK: I write all about The Emotional Impact of having a stroke!
Thank you for reading.