I just had a follow-up appointment with my stroke specialist. It was at her clinic, on the same floor I resided on for the first two weeks after my stroke, and it was a bit more traumatic than I expected.
DH was with me, and we were struck with a very medicinal smell as we got off the elevator on the 7th floor and we both were also struck with not very fond memories of the place. It’s amazing how much a certain smell can invoke a whole host of memories and feelings.
I felt okay, but when I had my appointment I fell back into the “patient” role. I felt like I couldn’t articulate how well I’ve been doing, or that maybe I wasn’t doing as well as I thought. She asked me what things I still can’t do (always the focus at the hospital — what I CAN’T do.). She seemed very concerned about my moods, and warned me that going back to school might be harder than I expect.
I guess it’s part of her job to talk of the negative things, but I just felt so down and a bit demoralized coming out of the appointment. I mean, I just put together this awesome (I think!) scholarship application this week, and am getting excited about our upcoming cottage vacation, but now I wonder if I can handle things as well as I thought.
Then, since I had Carter with me, I decided to do a lap of the floor (just like I used to to test/work my legs when I was there). There were more familiar smells, sounds, and sights that brought me back. It was almost too much when I walked by the high acuity ward and saw a younger women trying to walk with the help of two nurses.
On my way out, I passed the nurses station and ran into the social worker who worked with me there. It took a couple seconds for her to recognize me, but she came over, hugged me, and we had a nice chat. She told me how great it was to see how well I was doing – so at least the visit ended on a positive note.
I couldn’t get out of there fast enough though. But, then I got outside, drove home, played with Carter, went to the post office and grocery store, and started to feel normal again.
Sure, I’ll always be a stroke patient, I guess…but the doctors never knew how strong, resilient, and smart I am. I can do anything I did before, and will do anything I want to. Yes, school might be stressful, but it’s nothing I can’t handle.