Saturday, March 14, 2015

Amazing Grace

Barb Polan
Barb’s Recovery
Posted 12th March 2012

Corny and predictable - People have probably referred to Grace Carpenter as "amazing" her whole life. Yesterday I had the experience of meeting her for the first time, after interacting with her online for more than a year. She and her lovely family - devoted husband, her son and her daughter - visited Tom, Turbo and me in Gloucester. While Lucy is afraid of dogs and we had sent Trouble off with a friend, Grace "had" to meet the little brat. Meeting another stroke survivor, in particular, one who is significantly younger than I am, rather than the elderly ones in the local stroke support group, pleased me. Grace had a stroke three months after I did, which means that she too recently passed the second anniversary. We briefly compared arm/hand capabilities - hers are better - she can hold the bottom of her jacket to zip it, and she can raise her arm gracefully above her head, while I am unable to do either. Our legs appeared to function about the same, although she stepped down a very tall step out the library door, when I find it much too tall to lower myself on my strong leg so the my weak can hit the step first. She has aphasia, but speaks very well, while I have been talking non-stop since having the stroke. But it was interesting that we had exactly the same delay starting to reply to someone else's comment during a conversation. And we both dropped our canes about the same number of times. Similarity: Pre-stroke, we were both writers. Difference: I have gone back to work, although many of my attempts at work have been unsuccessful. Similarity: We both have two children - an older son and a younger daughter. Difference: Mine were grown up - 25 and 22 - and living away from home when I had the stroke, while Grace's were young - they are about 11 and 7 now. That made my post-stroke life much easier, I think. Bottom line: Meeting another stroke survivor made me even more aware that we are all members of a group that faces more than our fair share of challenges, and we have a lot in common. And we can laugh at our deficits in a way no one else can.

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