Monday, January 17, 2011
It's My World and I'm Stuck In In
Leaving the house has been a struggle for me since my stroke 4 years. The stroke left me with right-side weakness, verbal aphasia (using the wrong word when I speak- like saying door when I mean desk), and worse of all, the need to wear an adult diaper 24/7. I know I’m fortunate to be able to walk, with assistance, and still drive. Leaving the house from December through April is just too hard – between rain, cold, snow and the general miserablness of the weather and how it all affects my body. I have to carry the 10lb. battery for my scooter out to my van because it may freeze at night. It’s now been 3 weeks since I left the house for anything other than a doctor’s appointment. I start out each day with the intention to leave the house and run an errand, pick up something the house needs from Home Depot; the usual stuff able-bodied people do every day. I’m not agoraphobic. I just can’t bring myself to do everything it takes to leave the house because it’s like planning to go to war. I bought a large and I do mean large purple shoulder bag shortly after the stroke. I figure purple and red are “I don’t give a damn” strength colors. I pack it with 2 bottles of water, 2 diapers, cell phone, note pad, several pens, a very large and heavy daybook full of doctor's addresses, day notes, business cards and anything else you can think of including tissues, medical file folders, information about medications and any other miscellaneous things that will help me feel safe out in the world. It can take up to a half-hour just to pack the bag. Then it’s time to get “me” ready. My physical difficulties cause me to go very slowly so that usually takes me 2 hours to shower, lotion up and get dressed so basically it takes about 3 hours altogether to get myself out the door and do an errand that may only take 15 minutes to go and do something. Ultimately I decide why bother? Wouldn’t you? A friend said I needed to decide what MY beliefs are. She didn’t mean religious beliefs but personal beliefs about why I think I still have do things my old able-bodied way. Why do I think I have to leave the house on a daily basis? I’m working hard on this business of reinventing myself. I’ve made it to the thinking hard about it stage.