Managing everything as a single person

Hello, my name is Susan, prior to my TIA less than 4 weeks ago I was a very fit and active 70 year old, never been I’ll in my life. So this was a great shock. Physically I am recovering well. Psychologically I feel it will take a lot longer. Doing my best to keep busy every day with my house and garden but feel abandoned by the medical services. No support whatsoever. So when people say don’t do too much, how do I know how much is too much? I am worried I will put weight on with not exercising but as I live alone there is no one to tell me to sit down and rest so I rarely rest. There is always a job to do. Very grateful to be making a good physical recovery though.

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Hi @12Izzyrj Susan

Welcome to the best club in town with no waiting list but very sorry you have had a reason to join

Being 4 weeks you may be feeling what many of us will recognise - the feeling of abandonment, the difference between physical, emotional/ psychological and cognitive recovery.

We have put some of the standard things in the welcome post the blue text

Maybe the first thing to say is that an awful lot of energy will be being used internally over which you have no discretion. So if you feel like having a snooze do so, if you feel that you need to sit down do so. Another point is if you had a TIA - then you will still be fit and unlikely to lose it - if you had a stroke that has removed capability then you will need to work on retaining flexibility and strength.

The medical profession really are not equal to the needs of many of us - partly from resourcing and partly understanding of what is on the boundary of medical practise - the lived experience shared and available here will stand you in good state :slight_smile:

One of the ways you will detect that you are ‘doing too much’ is that you will have feelings of fatigue which are not relieved by sleep and are often a day or three after you have done too much.

Done too much may often mean thought too hard so maybe triggered by bright lights, constant noise, talking to people, watching telly, being out somewhere busy (EG supermarkets are a real challenge for some because of the constant messaging within them), arguing with the electricity company or the council over the phone for 3 hours! Etc :slight_smile:

There is a good supportive community who have been down the stretch of road you are on ahead of you and have written it up here. Some you will find by the magnifying glass above (Search tool) and the rest we are happy to point you to or just answer directly if you share your needs, thoughts, and what we most welcome are your victories and achievements :slight_smile:

Caio
Simon

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Thank you for making me feel so welcome Simon. It helps so much and hopefully I can accept that resting isn’t something that I need to feel guilty about as other people accept it is a part of recovery. I may well join the ‘cafe’ following your advice. Thanks again, much appreciated.

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Resting is REQUIRED for optimum recovery in minimum time :

You’ll be very welcome at the cafe Thus. from 1pm uk time on https://bit.ly/StrokeCafe and Bobbi does one at 7pm on Friday & 11am Saturday - details in the zog group

Caio
Simon

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Hi @12Izzyrj & welcome to the community. Sorry you’ve had cause to join us.

Learning to rest iscan important part of recovery post TIA/stroke but what that looks like is different for everyone. I find that my brain / body tells me when I have had enough although it is usually too late by then.

You could perhaps chat to your GP about what you should/shouldn’t be doing. My GP is acgreat listener but I know not everyone has the same experience.

I think if you’re managing ok just try adding a few sit downs in during your day. If what you are doing is bringing on fatique then you need to rest more often and build activitiynlevels back up gradually.

Best wishes

Ann

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Hi Ann, thank you for your supportive advice. Unfortunately I haven’t seen my GP, no communication at all which is why I am struggling with how to manage recovery. I do feel that is sound advice to fit in regular breaks during the day, it does feel lazy though. However if it speeds up my recovery then it will be worth it. Thanks again.

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Hi @12Izzyrj welcome to the forum :people_hugging:

You can throw laziness and guilt right out the window. It’s not lazy when you’re recovering from a major life threatening trauma, which is what a TIA is, same as a stroke. And in fact you are not out of the woods yet, that was a warning! You are only 4wks into your recovery and you are at still at risk of a full blown stroke. It’s the same as any other major surgery only you can’t see the scars.

So rest frequently, it may only be 5mins here, an hour there, sometimes it can just be a change in activity…change is as good as a rest. But do take rest periods, shut your eyes so the brain doesn’t have to take in anything more to process while its repairing the damage done. Good healthy nutrition and a bit of light to moderate exercise dependant on your current abilities. Besides, at 70 you’ve nothing to feel guilty about :wink:

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Thank you, what a brilliant response. My physical recovery is going well so maybe that lulls me into a false sense of security. And there are so many books I want to read. If this sunshine lasts I maybe could be tempted out onto my garden bench. I love the idea of closing my eyes to switch my brain off as I find I am just constantly seeing jobs that need doing otherwise. Thanks again

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Hi @12Izzyrj welcome to this community (sorry you find yourself here).
I had stroke in Dec 22, out of the blue, also a fit, active person in my early 60s. Like you I live alone and understand exactly where you are coming from.
A little word of warning though! I was fit for nothing in the early weeks after my stroke but was keen to get on and back to my life and tried to carry on as normal. In July 23 I had a stroke like episode, back to hospital etc… luckily not a stroke but I have had several of these over the past year, always when I have overdone it. You are in the early days and rest is so important, be kind to yourself… the dusting etc will wait for another day. I have to manage my days very carefully factor in rest before Im exhausted. My problems are ongoing and Im sure its because I didnt allow myself enough recovery time initially.
Please do take care of yourself and this site is full of helpful and kind people with good advice. Karen

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image

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Hi Karen, thanks for this. It is that desire to have your life back to normal that drives us isn’t it? So hard to change a mindset when we have no one to encourage us to take a break and to accept that resting can be beneficial not just lazy. So sorry you have ongoing issues and sharing that with me so that I can heed your excellent advice. Thanks again, Susan

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Fabulous, thank you :pray:

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@BakersBunny see EEs post above ?
&2 make 20 chars

???

:slight_smile:

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Hi Susan
Welcome to the best place to get the info you can’t get elsewhere.

I’m 70. I had a stroke 18 months ago. Had balance issues, speech and shot emotions. Discharged after 3 days with diddly squat info from the NHS. I was in despair, no energy, emotions wrecked, terrible on my feetand it seemed no help. Then I found the Stroke association. I phoned them. They phoned me weekly. Told me it’s about practice, practice, practice. Sent me loads of info and told me about this group.

You will see from posts here that lack of energy is typical of stroke survivors. I learnt from here and the SA that as your brain builds new pathways around the dead bit, it’s using loads of energy. Do you may not be physically working hard but your body is. I find now I have loads more energy but if I push to hard I go into shutdown mode. But that’s still improving. I hope yours does too.
As for emotions, I’d blurb over anything at first. But over time this has got less and less although I confesses the d day stuff today has got me going.
I’m rambling on but
You are not alone
Stroke association phone help is great
This forum is great
You need to give it time. And…
Practice practice practice
Regards
Chris

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Hi Chris, thank you for this, it is very reassuring. I am finding that because I look ok on the outside people think I am well. They have little understanding what is happening on the inside. I find your description about the brain activity really helpful and it does help me to see the benefits of taking lots of rest. Still finding that bit hard so you have helped me find another way of looking at it. I hope you continue to recover. Thanks again, much appreciated.

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Thanks

Someone described the process ( neoplastisity) as road building.
A road (pathway) in your brain is now blocked. So your brains little road builders work hard to build new diversions round it. At first these are tracks and get jammed quickly if too many cars (energy - effort - things to do) use them. But the little builders carry on and they build b roads then a roads over time so more cars can use them before they get jammed.
So our little builders need time and energy which makes us feel at time washed out.
Hope that help

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That really does help. I am a visual learner and the way you have described it makes total sense. It gives me a different perspective on dealing with what has happened and why resting is so important to full recovery. Thank you for taking the time to explain this. Hopefully now I can sit down without feeling guilty. It will be even more enjoyable if we get some sunshine. Take care.

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Hi @Chrisfw & @12Izzyrj

The analogy is an often used one albeit with different description in detail. Be aware though that it is not quite complete.

Neuroplasticity is not your friend.

it is a neutral phenomenon. A by-standard who acts to build in adaptations to your brain injury that without effort, thought and direction will be more strongly negative than positive.

NP and brain memetics follow the path of least resistance. If that is learning to do everything with one arm or a wheelchair at the expense of retaining capability in a compromised side then on top of the stroke damage will be the habit forming NP of learnt non-use It will make acquisition of future recovery type capability more difficult the longer NP is reinforcing the short-term comprimises.

See NeuroPlasticity as the ENEMY!

A compromised side that is not communicating with the the muscles will start to lose tendon length and muscle strength within about 2 weeks post stroke. There is at least one professor of physiotherapy who advocates for FES several hours! a day!! to prevent degradation in MSK rain while the brain is recovering the NP to activate muscles

Caio
Simon

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