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I am so frustrated by that expression: “You can do anything as a stroke survivor!” So please stop. Ok?

I am an intelligent being, so I know this statement is not at all true. Permit me to list some of the things that even the most energetic and determined, like me, cannot do:

  • Play the piano (it takes two hands)
  • Go skiing (a death wish with only one hand)
  • Make a 5-course dinner (if it’s microwave able, maybe)
  • Knit with two hands (look it up on YouTube–it’s not worth the effort)
  • Drive a car (I had seizures, so no)
  • Do floor exercises (not if I can’t stand up)
  • Try on clothes (oh, the manipulation of them in a tiny dressing room)
  • Have a manicure (not on only one hand because the other is like a claw)
  • Read a book instead of Kindle (It’s fine for the first five pages…)
  • Present myself as normal (self-explanatory)

At the risk of being negative, I can still write on the keyboard, painstakingly hunting and pecking one letter at a time. But it’s fine and keeps me doing something instead of moping, which I still do, albeit seldom, 13 years later.

I’m writing a memoir now, my third book, and I take no prisoners. I tell it like I saw it, and I include everyone who made a difference, acceptable or grim. My life until now was a doozy, sometimes a very sad doozy.

I’m about halfway through the memoir, hunting and pecking, and I’m up to the part where my father was shot in the head in his North Philadelphia store at 29th and Diamond by some drug addicts.

The funeral director said to me to not let my mother lift my father’s head in a tearful goodbye with the open casket because there was nothing behind my father’s face, nothing but filler to make him look normal. But he didn’t look normal to me.

I often thought of my father’s horrific end, and thought that it was the worst event that could ever possibly happen. But now, it was my turn with the stroke.

My slightly uneven face, my halting gait, the right arm which hangs limply by my side–it’s me who’s not normal now, no matter what I do to make it so. So please add that reaction to the list above.

Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman is one of the world's top 10 stroke bloggers according to the Medical News Today. You can find the original post and other blogs Joyce wrote in Tales of a Stroke Survivor. (https://talesofastrokesurvivor.blog)
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