Unmasked

I must admit that sometimes I don’t like the person that the stroke has turned me into. I resent having to apply a “filter” when dealing with other people. Two examples from just this morning:

My wife had left an empty cardboard box next to the kitchen doorway. I mean, that’s where we keep stuff ready to go into the recycling bin, so not a particularly surprising place to choose. As I walked past, I’m not as precise as I used to be and I knocked this box onto the floor. So just to get it out of the way I gave it a kick, but only really succeeded in kicking it into the middle of the doorway, where it was well-and-truly in everyone’s way. I got past it and went into the kitchen to continue making breakfast, and when I came back out, the box was gone. Clearly my wife had decided to take it out to the bin there and then, lest it get in the way again. I wasn’t really happy that I’d made her take it out there and then.

Again, whilst preparing breakfast, I went to boil the kettle, there was no water in it so before I even started boiling the water, I had to fill it again – my wife had used the last of the boiling water. This shouldn’t be a big deal – between us all we probably fill kettles a zillion times a day. But it seems to happen on most days so I was grumbling under my breathat the extra effort – would you believe that when someone has had a stroke, it is an extra effort? I’m ashamed to have thought those thoughts over something so trivial.

I mean, I’m sure I had my foibles before the stroke, but I hate how I need to apply a mask these days in order to stop the unreasonable thoughts from poking through.

Old Timer

We’re at a loss, many of us patients. No matter how much we might research our own health, that still only amounts to one person. I’ve spoken in the past to people in the medical profession who I’d generally rate as quite silly, but they do have some usefulness because they’ve experienced multiple cases, not just one.

So I suppose what I’m trying to say is that even my vast knowledge has limits . (Although some people may argue about its vastness anyway 😀).

After a stroke, a common approach seems to be to put people onto a drug which supposedly stops the blood from clotting, and therefore prevents clots from forming. An anticoagulant, to use the parlance. The one I’m on is called Clopidogrel (75mg), which from my small soundings, seems pretty standard. Look this one up on the web, and you’ll see all sorts of danger signs – basically, if you’re taking this drug and you cut yourself, your blood won’t clot back again like a “normal” person’s, and you bleed out. In reality I found the stroke nurses to be somewhat more bullish. If I look back, this was really the only treatment I received after the stroke, other of course than people reviewing and changing the meds I was already on. But this was the only “anti-stroke” drug. There was lots and lots of nursing, but that was the limit of the actual treatment.

So, bearing in mind that I’m already on what appears to be the standard anti-stroke drug, I was wondering the other day, what if I have another stroke? I mean, I’d like to believe that’s very much behind me now, but…. Statistically, I believe that there’s a slightly higher probability of going from Stroke #1 to Stroke #2, rather than just going from 0 to #1. So the thought did cross my mind. Is it just a case of saying, “keep taking the medicine, but there’s nothing more we can do”? Certainly, when I look in the EMC (my wife’s nursey handbook), 75mg seems like the only dose for this drug. Perhaps there is another drug? Perhaps, because my stroke buddies and I are all first-timers, we just haven’t come across it yet?

Anyway, up at the hospital the other day, one of the other volunteers is a guy who’s had seven strokes. I mean, I don’t know whether they were all strokes, or whether some were TIAs – in any case, the treatment is the same so in practical terms I don’t see a lot of difference. So I asked him. Unfortunately, other than getting a response that yes, there was some treatment, and then getting full details of the events behind the second stroke, I was still left a bit unsure. I can’t really blame the guy – if I’d had seven of anything, I’d struggle to work out which one was which. So I’m still on the lookout for someone who’s had two strokes, so they can tell me how they were treated second time around. I must ask one of my ward-friends, next time I’m up there.