National Stroke Awareness Month – Caregiver Perspective

Doug at the Rose Garden in Portland last fall.

Doug at the Rose Garden in Portland last fall.

May is not just bike month, it’s also National Stroke Awareness Month. As the wife and caregiver of a stroke survivor, it seemed like a good time to talk a little bit about what it’s like to be a caregiver.

Our situation is not common – Doug is young (43 when he had his stroke) and had no risk factors commonly associated with strokes. Quite the opposite – he is very fit, eats well, low cholesterol and blood pressure, and never smoked. This has been one of ways we’re more fortunate than many stroke survivors. Although Doug’s stroke was severe with full left-side paralysis (his non-dominant side), his age, fitness and strength allowed him to regain the ability to walk fairly quickly. His stroke didn’t result in as many cognitive or language problems (aphasia) as someone who has a stroke on the left side of the brain. Doug is also highly motivated and really works hard to keep improving, something that proves challenging for many survivors and their caregivers. Continue reading

Pizza Friday

We usually have pizza every Friday. I make a batch of dough from my favorite bread cookbook, Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast and then we put it together and cook it on a stone in the grill. This week I was too tired on Thursday to make dough, so we’re having pizza Saturday instead, meeting our friends at one of the neighborhood spots. We’ll get to see how our friend Tess does eating with her left hand only – she broke her ELBOW of all things on Thursday when she fell while running. Since Doug’s stroke affected his left side and he still has little use of that hand, we joked that if we joined him and Tess side by side, they’d be a person with two working hands! Oh, man. She’ll be having surgery this week to put a pin in the bone that is 2 inches away from where it’s supposed to be. Gruesome. Continue reading