As I’ve said before, I keep good company with guys who wear eye patches. Here are some others:
I spy with my little eye … the big 6-0 today. At this time in one’s life, one takes a bird’s-eye view of one’s life, turns one’s eye on their successes and milestones, and darts an eye beam on the future with … visions of years of more work? gazing at retirement? visualizing what life means in this second half?
However, I have to open my eyes to my new situation. I have to keep my eye on the ball, and an eagle eye on what my future holds. A lot of that is going to be hard to eyeball.
You see, there’s something I don’t see eye to eye with my medical situation: the damage to my left eye, which was caused during my stroke on Christmas Eve, is … permanent.
I found this out at an appointment with an ophthalmologist yesterday. For those of you who haven’t been keeping up, a stroke attacked my brain — and apparently my left eye. After my thrombectomy, most everything was all right …
In my left eye, in my retina, there is a black blob, a spot that shows where the retina lost blood. Visually, I see that spot, which covers a third of my vision. The doctor said my eye is still showing damage. The artery is getting blood at half the rate that it should be.
The stroke probably sent plaque into my brain and also into my retina, sending pieces of fatty deposits into my eye. That reduced the amount of oxygen.
According to stroke.org, “Cerebral embolism is a blood clot that forms at another location in the circulatory system, usually the heart and large arteries of the upper chest and neck. Part of the blood clot breaks loose, enters the bloodstream and travels through the brain’s blood vessels until it reaches vessels too small to let it pass. A main cause of embolism is an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation. It can cause clots to form in the heart, dislodge and travel to the brain.”
So the clot also entered the retina. The surgeons were focusing on clearing the blockage in my brain and did nothing about the eye.
There’s no need to cry one’s eye out, and the doctors don’t get a black eye — they treated me well. And without batting an eye I am carrying on, keeping my eye on the ball and my eye on the prize — learning to live with it.
With the help of Gage — the apple of my eye — we’ll get by.
Here are some general communication strategies from my rehab hospital. If someone you know is having trouble communicating, these may help:
- Eliminate distraction.
- Face-to-face is best.
- Allow extra time for a response (e.g., “What do you want to drink?”)
- If no response, try rephrasing the question to a yes/no and waiting (e.g., “Do you want a drink?”)
- Try offering a choice (e.g., “Would you like milk or tea?)
- “Mirror” back the response to ensure listener knows you have the message (e.g., “You want tea … sounds good.”)
- People with difficulty communicating may benefit from gestures and visual cues.
- Avoid rapid questions and “on command” style of communication (e.g., “What do you want? Tell me what you want? Which drink? What do you want to drink with your food?” etc.)
- It’s okay to accept a non-answer … go back it later.
Many of these answers would have helped me in recent weeks, as well as
10. Don’t try to put words in the person’s head. You don’t know what he is trying to say.
11. Have patience. Let the person attempt to get what he’s trying to say out of his mouth. He will get there.
Thanks, everyone, for caring and wondering how I’m doing. Speech therapist says I’m doing well. Gage says he has noticed an improvement in my speech.
3 weeks after my stroke (plus a few days), here’s what’s going on:
I had speech, physical and occupational therapy scheduled — 42 hours over the next two months! After a single physical therapy session, the doctor canceled the rest of the sessions — he said I passes the walking, climbing stairs, standing on one leg tricks with flying colors!
Occupational therapy has been pushed back by the weather, so I don’t have a session for a week.
Speech therapy has been challenging. I can talk to Gage and to friend and families with little impairment. But I get hung up on some words and my thought processes. The therapist is really good. She is using my experience with space and science to help along. For example, I read a NYT article about Apollo 1o the other day and then wrote a short synopsis about it. It turns out she picked that by random, then I told her to Google “space.com” and my name. I will be entertained by her reaction …
She has other exercises for me to do. For example, she shuffles a deck of cards and then I deal them out one by one. For every red card, I name an animal; for every black card I name a vegetable. It’s a classic exercise in transitive reasoning. Try it sometime!
My biggest complaint is my eye. I have retinal artery occlusion, which causes blood clots to cover the retina. So there’s a big, gray blob over one-third of my viewpoint in my left eye.
When pisses me off is that I read how important it is to check it looked at ASAP, yet my appointment is THREE WEEKS AWAY!!!
Luckily, I am okay. Just spent a few days with family, had a nice time (fir a funeral). My days are spent organizing the collectibles I’m selling, making to-do lists for Gage (lol) and napping.
I need to thank all the people who have sent over food — pot roast with potatoes and carrots, pork roast, chili, carrot cake — much more and I’m going need to try to get back to gym (which the doctor says is okay with a light load).
Silverado is a Western done right, playing its big skies and wide-open spaces. And introduces you to a cattle call of Arthurian legends — the hero with a lot to prove, the villain who was perfectly foil, the dance hall girl with a heart of gold, a gambler whose mother called him Slick.
Hear this movie: The spin of a six-shooter cylinder, the clip-clop-clip-clop-clip-clop of horse hooves, the barroom baroque of whiskey rails, card fans and the chirrup of a spittoon.
See this movie: One pivotal scene takes plays at the duel between the hero and the villain. High noon, Main Street. And the church, its high steeple peering from the street, keeps a watch over the hero’s back.
When this movie, which came out in 1985, comes on, I watch it.
I’ve been nominated to post photos from my 10 favorite films. It a hard task. And I’ll explain what I made those picks.