First off thank you to everyone who expressed their love and kept my Mom in their prayers, in person, on the phone or online (on Facebook, through Email or on this blog) during this challenging time.
A week ago, my Mom suffered a stroke. (To read more about it check out my previous post titled: The High Cost of Waiting https://relmes.wordpress.com/2008/09/24/the-high-cost-of-waiting/
But we got lucky!!!
The reason I say “we” is because instead of wondering what might have been, we are wondering what is next, and instead of thinking what we could have done in the past to help her, we are thinking of how we can help her in the future and instead of planning a funeral, we are planning her rehabilitation.
As I mentioned in the last post, when the stroke hit, she recognized she was in trouble and she called for help and getting there saved her life.
But as she realizes now, her life in the future will be different.
She is lucky that the damage of the stroke appears to have effected her vision and her memory.
At this time she has lost her right side vision from one o’clock(if you think of looking straight being twelve o’clock) to the right everywhere except on the bottom. This may or may not improve over time.
Her memory has also been effected.
I describe it this way: If all of her memories were on sheets of paper, all categorized and files for easy and quick retreaval, the stroke messed up that filing system and scattered all of the sheets on the floor.
In the first days following the stroke, she had trouble recalling her last name, her telephone number and even the names of her family members. However, she has improved this by studying her “cheat sheets” in order to re-learn these important facts.
Her short term memory has also been effected, because I can have a conversation with her and a few minutes we can be talking about the same things.
A few of things that I have taken away from this learning process;
If you want to learn and anything is possible. Mom has told me many days she will find herself waking up at night and she will invest the time in studying. She view this as a challenge and I am confident that it will pay off. (I have witnessed her improving every day)
Forced learning doesn’t stick. Mom said that when she is trying really hard to remember something it doesn’t come to her, but when she is relaxed things come much easier. Although I give her credit that her frustration level has been incredibly low. I know if I were in her situation I would be incredibly frustrated. Just think of how much you retained after cramming for exams in school.
Progress happens when it is enjoyable. Although it has been a tramatic experience for our whole family, I for one have thoroughly enjoyed the time that I have spent with Mom this week. We have laughed (Thank heavens she still has her sense of humour), and we have hugged (she instituted a new family rule that we have to hug each other everytime we see each other) and we have just appreciated the time together.
I know that in my training or coaching sessions I often use laughter as a way to open up the doors of learning, in order to help make the message stick.
As of the time of this post, my Mom is still in the Stroke wing at Grand River Hospital http://www.grandriverhospital.on.ca/ and will probably be there until at least Friday. Then hopefully she will be able to go home, where she will face a whole new set of challenges.
But if I know my Mom, she will continue to face those challenges with the same sense of adventure and humility that she has demonstrated to me this week.
I will keep you posted on her progress. But in the meantime, keep those prayers coming, because I am convinced they are the reason we are all lucky.