Fakers and Bakers caught my attention when a contestant who won said that her son told her to apply for the show. "Can't is just an excuse," he told her. Why did it feel so personal to me?
The struggle against “can’t” has become my life after my stroke. I endeavored to regain some semblance of what my life used to be. Can’t is an excuse for me if let it be.
I have a disability now. For years I wouldn’t say it. But after 3-1/2 years, I realized that I might not make “normal.” (You might say that I am a slow learner.) Despite that fact, I am still trying to get back to my pre-stroke self because I have the desire to keep pushing myself.
What did I get from pushing so far? I am able to walk without looking like I had an acute stroke that, at first, paralyzed my right side from my toes to the top of my head. I also had aphasia, a language disorder, that came from the stroke as well.
On my road to recovery, I had some bumps along the way. I had been a jogger before the stroke. I figured I would start jogging again post-stroke. I had been trying for almost two years. I used the Couch 2 5K app on my phone. I got to week 5 and just couldn’t get through it because the left and right sides of my body weren’t in synch. I kept trying, though.
The day was so beautiful the day I decided to jog outside it again. I started the routine of walking and jogging. I made it halfway through my jog (and was feeling quite good about myself) when I saw the sidewalk broke in uneven ways ahead of me. I hit the broken part and righted myself. I hit it again, went down like a brick, and rolled into the grass.
I laid there for a few seconds and then tried to get up. My right arm didn’t bend. I had just dislocated my right elbow. Great.
I turned around and headed home. After a couple of steps, I realized that I had my phone. I called my husband to come to pick me up and take me to the hospital. The pain had gone from nothing at the start (I must have been in shock) to excruciating by the time we got to the emergency room.
While my husband parked the car, I went in and started checking in. Oh, wait. I didn’t have an arm to do the paperwork because I held the right hand with my left. My husband came in and took care of the paperwork while I was wheeled into the emergency room. There, the staff eventually gave me morphine.
Morphine. What an interesting experience it caused. Suddenly, I could speak every word that came into my head. That was a new experience for me. Since my stroke, I had struggled with aphasia. I could think of what I wanted to say but couldn’t say it much of the time. Now I could talk a blue streak! It came into my head and went out of my mouth without any hesitation!
Excited by this phenomenon, I talked with my husband nonstop while they reset my arm. You can imagine how devastated I was when the morphine wore off. My aphasia came back.
If you go to the National Aphasia Association’s website, you will see:
“If the symptoms of aphasia last longer than two or three months after a stroke, a complete recovery is unlikely. However, it is important to note that some people continue to improve over a period of years and even decades. Improvement is a slow process that usually involves both helping the individual and family understand the nature of aphasia and learning compensatory strategies for communicating.”
I had found a way to see that aphasia might be alleviated. I just had to figure out how. Obviously, morphine was not the answer. Something else might be, though.
"Can't" vs." Can"
If "can’t" is the excuse for something, then it is a limiting factor. I will tell you that I used my experience in the emergency room to find out whether I could overcome my aphasia in my next blog.