published: Sunday, August 05, 2012
Breakfast at stroke rehab brings a new set of challenges
Breakfast on the first day at stroke rehab.
That was a chore.
My face doesn't work right, the right side droops, and my mouth doesn't close all the way on that side. I tend to drool. Well, most people think reporters drool anyhow, so when I slur out that I am a journalist, they just nod knowingly.
No, not the main stream media who has perfected spin. But the main street media. I am a real journalist who tries to chronicle events as they happen. Neutral, as much as I can, and centered away from each side. I take pride when someone says, "You covered that fairly."
I am the local government watchdog, on guard for graft and corruption, and a champion for free speech, even for idiots. My goal is to give open access to everything government does, especially when the public would rather watch Swamp People.
Besides, who else is going to dig through the mayor's garbage?
They tell me my brain is still trying to make new paths for what was routine, so that simple things, like not drooling, does not work like it is supposed to do.
The whole right side of my body is drooping now. Right leg, right arm. Nothing is working. The stroke was caused by a blood clot and 6.37 millimeters of my brain died because of a lack of oxygen.
Hey, seems like a cruel twist of fate. They say every time you drink alcohol you can kill brain cells. Apparently I hadn't killed the key ones when I was young. Not for a lack of trying, you understand. The key ones decided they would wait until I was 46 and party like rock stars. Luckily, only a few thousand were in the Conga line when they went over the cliff.
The small kill zone just happens to be in the area where the left side of the brain communicates with the spinal fibers for right side motor control. Near the brain stem, but not in it. I could do the whole technical thing, but you can look it up on the Internet when you can take a moment from Facebook and stealing music.
One thing I can do is the John Belushi thing with my eyebrows. With the droop, the right brow hangs lower and the left one looks like it can move a foot.
While I was trying to keep the scrambled eggs from escaping, I decided I would use the new skill to do the Spock look. You know the one. Raise one brow and say "Fascinating." I find that if you can control the drool and not speak a whole lot, people think you are a genius.
I had just finished my eggs and was working the toast when my roommate started making noises like he was in pain. He did that a lot.
The toast was right. It is hard to get toast right. Not too burnt, not too soggy. Toast is an art and somewhere in the bowels of this place there was a toast artist.
I was trying to ignore other people at the moment and trying to enjoy the toast and thinking about where the call button was in case the neighbor needed help behind the curtain that separated us. Hey, I know it's mean, but I didn't want to talk to anyone for awhile. A stroke does that to you. Besides, he had quit and I could hear him eating, so I went back to self-absorption.
There was warm tea, so I decided to make some. The water was warm, not hot like advertised, but hey, I'm not picky.
I was trying to lean back and look grown up with a warm, albeit weak, beverage in my left hand. You know, like in the TV commercials, and I was working the eyebrow, when the nurse (yep, that one) came in and opened the curtains between me and the neighbor. Got to remember to order that hit man.
My neighbor was in just the hospital gown. You know it. It covers your front but your rear hangs out the open back. His face was turned right at me and his eyes were half opened.
He was sort of short and the gown hung down past his knees about six inches above his bright yellow socks.
I smiled, trying to be sociable, and sipped more tea, trying to look important. I raised the eyebrow on cue.
He smiled back, moaned and mumbled softly like he was trying to say something. I was just about to say good morning when he slipped the urinal out from under his gown. He sat it on his table next to his tray and began to eat again.
I crossed tea off my lunch menu.
Ed Baldridge is a News-Sun staff writer.
The Little Things (by: Mr. Cupcake - 8/6/2012)
Thank you for sharing that gigantically small glimpse into what you are experiencing. I hope that your breakfasts improve dramatically in the days to come. Maybe they'll even get you a freshly baked croissant. Did you know they aren't French?
Keep up the good work, Ed (by: Carol Knapp - 8/5/2012)
Health South Sarasota is the best!!!! I know what phenomenal care those wonderful people gave my husband and everyone they touch. I am in love with Dr. DeJesus, but so is everyone else. Please know there are bunches of us praying for you and Beth and families. There truly is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow when the rainbow is called Health South Sarasota. Can't wait for your next installment.
Believing it or not... (by: Ray Napper - 8/5/2012)
I'm praying for your speedy recovery. Keep up the hard work, it will pay huge dividends in the future. These last two articles of your are excellent by the way.
(by: Laura Ware - 8/5/2012)
Ed, I hope you contrinue to recover! Enjoying your columns.
Amazing (by: Pj & Joe Baldridge - 8/5/2012)
I never realized that my brother in law was so funny.....the last few articleshave really been amazing. You are such a strong willed man, a little thing like a STROKE is not going to break you!! So happy you are bouncing back so quickly- any other time I'd be for "team Jacob", but this time we are "team Edward" one million percent!! We love you Eddie!!
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