September 14, 2012
When I Was 26, I Had a Stroke

Before my stroke, I was a .com-er with a hip job in a downtown office painted kindergarten colors. I wore vintage clothing and stompy boots. I was cute enough: small and wimpy, pale, with very dark hair and strong eyebrows. I lived in Washington, D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood. Other generations were jealous of young professionals like me.
But when I was 26, I had a stroke. My mind went pop. I found myself in a D.C. hospital for the summer, a different person. My motor skills had been slammed. I couldn’t really move my right arm at all, which was always folded tight against my chest, as if I was defending myself. My right hand clenched itself into an angryfist that I could not open. My trunk muscles and my right leg were a little better. I could get around, for short distances. But most of the time, maybe 20 hours a day, I was asleep, gone.
When I was awake, my speech felt the most broken. I wasn’t making much sense. My words were coming out wrong, if at all. I would occasionally come up with sentences that were intact and appropriate. Hospital notes include me saying, “I like to go to obscure cultural events.” 
Other times it was like… oh… and nothing was coming out. I was particularly bad at naming things. Therapists would show me a picture — a snail, a harp, a harmonica — and ask me what it was. More than half the time, I shook my head. I would understand people without difficulty.
You know what it feels like when you can’t identify a snail?
Shitty.

Read more. [Image: craigcloutier/Flickr]

When I Was 26, I Had a Stroke

Before my stroke, I was a .com-er with a hip job in a downtown office painted kindergarten colors. I wore vintage clothing and stompy boots. I was cute enough: small and wimpy, pale, with very dark hair and strong eyebrows. I lived in Washington, D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood. Other generations were jealous of young professionals like me.

But when I was 26, I had a stroke. My mind went pop. I found myself in a D.C. hospital for the summer, a different person. My motor skills had been slammed. I couldn’t really move my right arm at all, which was always folded tight against my chest, as if I was defending myself. My right hand clenched itself into an angryfist that I could not open. My trunk muscles and my right leg were a little better. I could get around, for short distances. But most of the time, maybe 20 hours a day, I was asleep, gone.

When I was awake, my speech felt the most broken. I wasn’t making much sense. My words were coming out wrong, if at all. I would occasionally come up with sentences that were intact and appropriate. Hospital notes include me saying, “I like to go to obscure cultural events.” 

Other times it was like… oh… and nothing was coming out. I was particularly bad at naming things. Therapists would show me a picture — a snail, a harp, a harmonica — and ask me what it was. More than half the time, I shook my head. I would understand people without difficulty.

You know what it feels like when you can’t identify a snail?

Shitty.

Read more. [Image: craigcloutier/Flickr]

(Source: )

10:33am
  
Filed under: Health Longreads Medicine Stroke 
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  9. misterandre said: I was 27 when I survived mine.
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    When I Was 26, I Had a Stroke
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