When taking your vehicle in for repair one normally ‘shops the work around’ by asking for a quote and an estimate of the time it will take from a couple of different garages, including the dealer where you bought the vehicle in the first place. Vehicle mechanics work from an industry accepted and manufacturer approved guide to provide those estimates and those quotes. I’m not really sure what your corner garage mechanic uses these days, but in the past it used to be ‘The Michelin Guide’. Not the travel and dining guide, but one that actually documented what it took to fix various things on various vehicles. It would provide information on how long it should take and what parts were needed for just about any kind of vehicle maintenance for most brands and models. We never really question the mechanic about how long work is going to take other than to whine a bit, or give the ‘heavy sigh’, or to ask about ‘loaners, and we rarely take them to task over the parts needed. But ‘stroke’ isn’t something we get to plan for and then shop it around to get the best price and recovery time estimates.
When we consider the concept of recovery we always tend to compare it to how others have managed their recovery. Recovery then becomes a matter of ‘formula’, and when we try looking at ‘recovery’ from a formulaic point of view, as though there is a ‘Michelin Guide‘ for the human body which is an important tool in the physician’s or therapist’s tool kit. Recovery from any sort of injury, illness or medical procedure does take time and the application of best practices and procedures for a successful recovery. Recovering from a stroke is no different. Healing bones takes time; the medical profession knows how much time is rational. Healing from various types of surgery also takes time and medical practitioners of all stripes know how much time is rational based on their experience and the ‘best practices’ of their disciplines. So if you follow on with the same logical approach to Stroke rehabilitation, the assumption should be that there have been enough studies and general observation of the way stroke victims recover that the medical practitioners should know what is needed for appropriate recovery. My challenge is that my recovery is not defined by pre-established and tested formulas because I am unique. Alright, I will acknowledge that I’m sure that almost everyone considers themselves unique, and rightly so. Okay, yes, I had a massive bleed on the brain like many unfortunate folks before me, and many who who will follow. And okay, so yes there was a difference in that I had an embolization performed to stop the bleed and to prevent recurrence, which not everyone is fortunate to have had. And unlike way too many folks who have a haemorrhagic stoke, I walked away, both literally and figuratively. But seriously, it is now three months since the event and the surgical intervention and the only deficits I have are to do with a mild visual field issue, and some very minimal short term memory and attention deficit problems. I still maintain that I had the short term memory and the attention deficit before the stroke. Ask my wife; she may corroborate this.
So at this point the rehab team have suggested that physically I have no major deficits and in fact, I no longer see the Physical Therapists because I am so high functioning to be essentially normal, or at least boringly average for a male of my age and background. The Occupational Therapist and I continue to see each other, and quite honestly I am having quite a lot of fun with her. Most of our work together is vision related with some fun attempts to quantify and qualify my ‘executive functioning’. But I won’t get final sign off on some of the vision stuff until I have seen a Neuro Ophthalmologist, and I won’t be allowed back to work until I’ve had another neuro psyche evaluation.
The stuff that is most frustrating is in getting to see the neuro ophthalmologist which isn’t scheduled until the end of March, and then the neuro psyche evaluation that will let me go back to work, and theoretically back my play to get my drivers’ license recertified. Again, I believe that a big chunk of this is because of formula. The physician responsible for the neuro psyche eval and letting me get back to work doesn’t seem to be comfortable with doing the eval until a minimum four months post stroke and maybe as long as six months post stroke. Alright, I will acknowledge that not getting in to be assessed by the neuro ophthalmologist is an availability issue; there are not a lot of them in the neighbourhood. But the neuro psyche eval looks like formula, given how high functioning I am. Yes, I know that the rehab team is protecting me from being placed in a situation where I could ‘fail’ and compromise all their good work. But, really, it just seems to moving so very slowly. I so wish there were a way that I could get an interim assessment done. I don’t think that’s gonna happen. So we wait.
In the meantime I am attending therapy and counselling sessions and actually learning quite a bit, and, although I’m not sure I’m supposed to, I am enjoying most of the sessions.
This is all new to me. I have to trust that the stroke rehabilitation specialists/therapists know all the best practices and procedures for stroke rehab and have taken my unique situation into account, and are looking out for my best interests. This isn’t necessarily something that I can ‘hurry along’.
The next step here on this blog is to start a narrative about the actual sessions. Well, ya, why not? This could be fun.