Updated: Sep 18, 2019
"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 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. People are needed to assist our caregivers who are overwhelmed with her/his additional workload. Emotional support is required to help us deal with PTSD and other psychological issues that have arisen due to the trauma we've experienced; and the list goes on.
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.
My first recollection of this vital support village was the encouragement and support from my family and friends. My nieces sent creative videos they created, as well as greeting cards and phone calls while I was still in the hospital and thereafter. One of my two brothers, Greg, flew down from Austin twice to help as well.
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 assume 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 with all of these wonderful people who were ready and willing to help! A beautiful thing! She later resumed her chef’s duties when I became more independent.
A few other helpful things...
Grab bars in our two bathrooms and showers were added prior to my returning home. Indispensable! Then came the issue of transportation to therapy sessions and doctors’ visits. 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, my brother, and 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!
You’ve already heard from a few of the neuro-therapists and others 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 SWAN (South West Advanced Neurological Rehabilitation, LLC) in Phoenix, AZ.
My excellent therapists at Entire Care Rehab and Sports Center in Sedona, AZ
My in-home OT, Sharon Buchanan, who also works at Honor Health in Scottsdale, AZ. They’ve all made my therapy sessions enjoyable, challenging and practical. For instance, Sharon visited once a week and would go through the house, teaching me ways to function in the kitchen shower, and any location I’d be using during my recovery.
My psychotherapist, Kathleen Todd, was amazing during my recovery, as she was in my pre-stroke days, and continues to be! In addition to her visiting me at St. Luke’s on her birthday celebration weekend with her 3 sons and their wives in Tucson, she initiated a series of sessions to resolve my PTSD, which she accomplished with great success! Additionally, she introduced me to a neuro-biofeedback and brain healing system called NeurOptimal©, which she continues to use with me during our sessions.
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 works in Dr. Lane’s office, as well as Find Your Chi in Scottsdale, AZ and has his own private acupuncture practice as well.
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.