Firsts In Recovery

What Recovery looks like.

Recapturing the ability to do a job and/or activity the first time after a stroke can’t be put into adequate words. The word exhilaration though would hint well at describing my sense of accomplishment.

Despite the desire to return to my pre stroke life I spent the Winter and Spring questioning if it was realistically possible.

I had no idea. Last week I did return to my radio show for the first time in nine months.

It felt good.

I feel triumphant!

I’ll not drag out and bore readers with the fundamental details needed both in motor skills and cognitive abilities to broadcast a live radio show, but suffice it to say that it’s a multitask balancing act, not to mention our accompanying interactive online chatroom to monitor.

I had ran a test show to suss out any software or DJ issues yet the night of my live show I was feeling a new self conscious about how my speech would broadcast. I’d need the feedback from the listeners who knew me before the stroke to know.

The stroke affected my right side, including the right side of my face. My muscle tone was damaged, including a slight droop of my mouth.

Rehabilitation therapy after a stroke begins with assessments by three different disciplines; physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. (Speech therapy really should be renamed because it encompasses far more than speech.) This discipline assesses and treats cognitive function as well.

I keep saying it, I’m a fortunate stroke survivor, compared to the severity of brain damage I could have endured, I’m in great shape.

My goals were to walk unaided, to have normal use of my right hand and to talk without sounding intoxicated. I was given exercises for all three goals.

Most of the facial exercises were a hoot to witness I’m sure, but the benefits of simply smiling was the best and most natural exercise. The speech exercises were fun, the cognitive tests I loved. My speech therapist told me on our last visit she could no longer ethically treat me, I tested above average which meant no need for this discipline. I had an exercise routine and following it was up to me.

Happily because of the exercises my face muscles regained strength, the droop lifted, my speech although I can hear differences, I think is Understandable.

The real test though would be listeners.

THE SUPPORT…amazing support… and encouragement from those listeners in their feedback touched my heart with tears of gratitude a few times. Tears in a voice can mud up the clarity of a narrative but damn that grateful sense of success was worth the awkwardness of those moments.

Stroke recovery comes in Baby Steps of Firsts.

My first radio show post stroke ✔