I'm not exactly sure why but I am very nervous about my audition tonight. Its not that I haven't been through auditions before and, as far as auditions go, this one should be a breeze as they have no male vocalist currently and I am the only one trying out! It is church, though, and I have not really sang in public, or out loud for that matter since the stroke.
I really didn't want this blog to be about the stroke so I have avoided the subject completely but recent events have made me felt I have to get some things off my chest. Since no one is reading this thing, this seems like as good a place as any...
No one understands how hard it is!
Maybe I was super-gifted before and now this is just how the general population struggles with ordinary things on a day-to-day basis. Maybe I recovered too quickly and so well that friends and family don't remember that only 9 months ago I couldn't speak or move anything on the right side of my body. Maybe I should not have tried to be so tough, listened to the doctors that told me I probably wouldn't be close to normal even a year after the event and not try to get back to a normal life as soon as possible.
I have always been a person that believed you get what you deserve. Other peoples' sense of entitlement really made me enraged. No one was holding me down or threatening my family when I made the conscious decision that I was going to work as hard as I possible could to recover as close to 100% as I was before the stroke. I didn't sue my chiropractor for (hypothetically) breaking off the piece of plaque from inside the vein in my neck causing a blood clot in my brain. I didn't suck as much as I could out of my disability insurance even though I have paid into it for over 18 years and they were still a major pain in the butt to squeeze a penny out of. (I had a bloody stroke, for God's sake! How much more disabled do you want me to be?) That's the kind of person I had always been and I didn't seem any reason to change because of this unexpected misfortune.
At the time, my wife and I didn't think we need and didn't want any special help from anyone (but we were very grateful for what we were offered and the help that was given). We felt blessed that I survived without too many complications and the struggles we had were few because the recovery went so well.
However, now I have a simple request to ask of anyone who knows me or anyone else who has survived a similar brain attack... Please understand.
Understand that I am not the same person that I was before- besides the more obvious physical challenges, my brain is still healing so mentally, although I still am as smart as I was before, it may take me a little longer to get it together, and emotionally I have different priorities than I once did and a new outlook. This was, after all, a near death experience. (At least near enough for me.)
Understand that everything (and I mean everything) is harder than it was. Staying awake is harder–sleeping is harder (which I don't understand at all). Speaking is harder. Eating, walking, reading, typing, not to mention anything physical– all harder. There are some things that I cannot or am afraid or embarrassed to do and there are some things that it just physically hurts too much.
I'm not saying this will always be the case but, as it was form the time when I started the recovery process, we can't tell when or how much we will get back. The doctors can give you information like, "your brain will heal the most in the first 3-6 months and most of the recovery process will be done in a year to a year and a half," but honestly, they are guessing too and they don't really have a clue.
I do get stronger and more coordinated every day. I just don't see the improvements like I did in the beginning because they were so drastic then. I still have faith that I am going to make a full recovery... and faith is what got me this far.
In the mean time, though, please remember to understand that everything is much harder to do than it was and, because I don't want this to be a blog about strokes, buy some T-shirts at: http://www.cafepress.com/skeetzteez