"How did you recover so well?"

"It's hard to believe you ever had a stroke!" After almost every performance, an audience member asks a variant of that question. And yes, I am very lucky in how dramatic my recovery has been, though I have residual defects, discussed in my shout out of 3/4/18 (see my Blog page if you missed it). Luck, hard work, abundant rehab resources, and many helping hands are in large part responsible. But studies of cognitive decline with aging are worth revewing. Factors that reduce the risk of cognitive decline may also be implicated in the ability to recover cognitive skills as well, and most worked in my favor. First, absence of cardiovascular or other chronic disease; I had none, took no meds oth

"What were the first few months after your stroke like? And rehab?"

Of the first few months after my stroke, I have mainly sense and image memories, rather than verbal ones. Some of my senses were amplified, especially light and color. I remember the sky being so bright and blue one day that it seemed vibrate and strike a complex, audible chord like an organ. I must have stood staring at the sky listening to her music for an hour. It was so vibrant, so intense, I have rarely felt so alive. It was more stirring than any art or music, the closest thing to heaven and utter peace I could imagine. But it was not always so wonderful. Noise was everywhere. I heard a dripping faucet, a lawn mower, a passing truck, children playing, birds singing all together

"Shouldn't you have gone to the hospital right away?"

"If you had another stroke, would you go to the hospital sooner?" More audience questions after performance of My Stroke of Luck. Yes, of course! I should have surrendered, and gone straight to the hospital by ambulance! And yes, this is a "Do what I say, not what I did". I knew time was of the essence, knew my best chance of survival lay in going straight to the hospital. But my thinking was already impaired by the stroke. So, as I began to reason with my damaged brain, my fear for my children, my need to take care of them, my fear of living impaired, my certainty that I would die or wish I had, and it was a toxic combination. Time is of the essence with stroke. In fact, the National

"You seem like there's nothing wrong with you."

"Thank you!" That's an observation an audience member makes at every Talkback. Then comes the question of how I am different since my stroke. About appearing normal, yes, I do, a nd I am enormously grateful to have so few souveniers of my stroke. Confess, I borrowed that word from another brain injury survivor, one much younger than I, whose injury was more severe, Suzan Z., who goes by Aneu Gal: Aneu, the first four letters of aneurysm, and a new, a play on words. (Susan made a 3 minute movie and created an extensive blog of her experience) But I love the word "souvenier", defined: 1: a thing that is kept as a reminder of a person, place, or event. synonyms: memento, keepsake, reminde

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San Rafael, California
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Website created 2017 by Diane Barnes and Mariano Diaz