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.


  1. Every time an email arrives to let me know that you have posted again you would swear that Christmas has arrived for me. Just to have the same sensations that I have experienced in black & white before me is such a comfort if that is the appropriate word. Thank you friend.

    1. Thank you. Reading a nice comment like this feels like Christmas for me!

  2. Great post. It is so hard for people to understand that there are so many more subtle issues than what one sees at first glance. It can be so overwhelming. Nice you felt the ball's texture. way to go!

  3. It's nice to read that as long as you keep trying things will get better (feeling the exercise balls texture) however slowly. You continue to be an inspiration. Sending love & hugs!

  4. When my thumb and index finger begins to feel numb I know it is time to step up my hand exercises. If I don't I temporarily lose the ability to move these two fingers. As an OT the only treatment I am aware of that addresses sensation is Sensory Integration (SI). However, SI deals with hypersensitivity rather than a loss of sensation.

  5. I still drop things--especially very light things--because I "forget" I'm holding them. I'm getting lot more coordinated and stronger, but I still can't feel texture at all.

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