Monday, June 22, 2009

Visual Communication

My friends gathered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for the unaffiliated group of persons interested in visual communication for the 22 (or 23rd) year. In years past, I would have been there. Unlike the normal academic conference, it is small, informal, and fun. I am sad that I missed it. Friends posted pictures on Facebook of mountainscapes and mugging for cameras over beers.

Friday, June 5, 2009

my WTF moment in a wheelchair

I had an outing yesterday in my motorized wheelchair... which is no small feat. First I have to get my leg brace on. Then I have to chase my cat Chloe-- I use the term "chase" loosely because it amounts to bribing her with food to be sequestered in the bathroom before she gets out when I open the door of my apartment. I live on the second floor so I have to wait for an elevator. Then I have to find someone to help me open the door to my apartment building because the door is locked, making it non-handicapped accessible for someone in a wheelchair . Once I am out, I am relatively free. That is, unless I get run-over in traffic.

By and large, I don't complain about minor (or major) inconveniences. I have only so many words and so much energy to get through the day. BUT, when an old geezer speeds up in his car to get around my wheelchair, and he sees me, and I have the right-of-way, and he has a stop sign, and I in the middle of the street, and he looks at me like I am a criminal for crossing the street as he speeds up ... There is only one thing to say, "what the F@#$!"

Just two blocks before that one classy young man on his bicycle (13 or so), stopped on his bicycle to let me cross in front of him, I smiled, and without saying a word he waited for me to get safely across the street before catching up with his friends. There is only one thing to, "thank you!"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I don't know what I don't know

Given my penchant for being "good at education" it should come no surprise that I like testing. Over the past year or so I have been tested in all sorts of ways. The first test was surviving a stroke. The second test was convincing myself, friends, and family that I could adapt and accommodate to my new reality. It would take time. But, heck I have that!

Which brings me to my last series of tests that are the kind I am used to... tests of verbal skills, memory, visual skills, problem solving, and so on. All tests somehow test my cognitive abilities (or DISabilities.) My last report sums things up:

"This profile reflects mild left hemisphere and bilateral frontal cortical compromise, the pattern of which is most consistent with the left parietal stroke she sustained in November 2007. This profile appears stable and, if anything, may improve with further neurologic recovery."

Which gives me hope that I will recover a bit more of my 'mojo'-- whatever that is!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

golfing, a memory

I was never a very good but I loved to golf. I putted very well. I hit a driver straight and often a fairly good distance. But, I did horrible on the fairway. Nonetheless, I loved to play the game. Or, just hit a bucket of balls from a driving range. It's the season to see lush, green courses on television and more than anything it makes me sad. I've adapted pretty well to my disability but not when I see a golf course.

Monday, May 11, 2009

my friend Michael

My friend Michael came yesterday for a visit. It is always good to see him. Although it's not quite the same as it was. We were "in love" at one time. It was before before my stroke and after my divorce. Funny how time seems to be all about before and after. 

He and I coined the phrase "right brain cafe" to explain my penchant for living in a creative world, largely of my own making. He is an analytic kind of guy. He would visit the right brain cafe from time to time. But, he was more amused than comfortable there.

He broke things off a couple of years ago, and I poured myself into my work.  I worked and I worked and I worked. The pressure I felt was ridiculous and abusive but I didn't feel like I had an alternative. So, my head imploded. Not a good very solution. 

Saturday, May 2, 2009

note to self

The biggest problem with being a smart-ass when one communicates slowly is that it takes me forever to get to a punch line. I have the same sense of humor that I did before my brain imploded. Note to self: I may be misunderstood. Having had a stroke is NOT funny, but some things I have endured ARE. Like waking up from brain surgery, my head completely shaven, and my brother telling me, "My God, you look just like dad." Or, my first conscious thought when I discovered my head was bald, being pissed off because I had a new haircut and highlights which cost me a fortune and looked stunning. Now it was in a baggy on the table in the ICU.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

seeing my brain

I saw my brain the other day. I mean I saw a visualization (specifically a CT scan) of my brain. It was very cool, and also slightly frightening. My primary care physician, Dr. O'Dell, reviewed my recently taken CT scans with me. It seemed like the right thing to do to satisfy my inner-geek. I like seeing things to understand them better. I am a right-brain learner and always have been. I am a graphic designer after all. What I didn't fully realize is how much of my left-brain was damaged by my stroke. I have to admit I am impressed that I have made it as far as I have.  Who knew I was that determined? Stubborn? 

Let me explain it to you like this, when the neurologist told my loved ones to prepare for a "cataclysmic" outcome, he wasn't kidding. The only good thing was that I didn't listen. I NEVER have listened. Which did me no good at all with my colleagues (you know who are) and my husband and countless others...  But, I have to pat myself on the back, with my good hand of course, that relentless, dogged determination comes in handy sometime.