Monday, September 30, 2013

Get a Grip

One thing that continues to blow my mind is how the stroke affected every part of my left-hand side — my toes, my intestines, my ear canal, even my eyeball.

My left eyeball now gets irritated easily. When I first tried to soothe it with eye drops, the drop plopped in one side of my eye and rolled out the other. I had no blink reflex because I couldn't feel the drop hitting my eye. It kept happening, so I started calling my Visine, "Eye Drop Outs." I had to learn to blink right away to "catch" the drop in my eye. Once I could feel dampness on my lids, I knew the drop had reached its target.

I remembered this lesson during my first efforts to pick up exercise balls with my fingers. The balls kept popping out of my hand. I was applying more pressure than necessary because I couldn't feel the ball against my fingertips. I had to learn to moderate my grip pressure.

I was explaining this to a friend who suffers from neuropathy. She said, "I know exactly what you mean! I was trying to pick up a bobby pin and I couldn't do it, because I couldn't feel it!" 

Wow. That was awesome not only to have my realization affirmed — that a sense of touch is important to grip — but to be reminded that if this stroke hadn't gotten me, some other thing probably would have. There is just a whole smorgasbord of difficulties out there to suffer from.

Over time, as I've practiced moving the exercise balls, I've begun to feel them. I had the clear sensation last week of the rough texture of the balls brushing my fingertips as I released them.

Next post: a formula for reawakening nerves.