Most of the time I don’t consciously focus on the fact that I have had a stroke. I just go about my day, but the fact that I have had a stroke hits me at different times, and in different ways. This morning as I reached my arms up to wash my hair I felt a wave of numbness/tingling that flashed over my right hand and arm and then reverted back to its normal level of numbness.
Some stroke patients experience pain, numbness or odd sensations of tingling or prickling in paralyzed or weakened limbs, a symptom known as paresthesias.
But that flash made me consciously think about my stroke, and the part of my stroke that impacts me the least. I started thinking about whether or not the numbness is different now, than it was when it happened, physically I believe it is less. How I react to the numbness is far different from when I first woke up during my stroke, or even days and months later when I would unconsciously lace my fingers together and immediately pull my hands apart because the right hand, wasn’t my hand.
Now I pay more attention working around the stove because I can burn myself very easy, I write less because my handwriting is worse and disintegrates quickly, I seldom lace my fingers together but can tolerate it when I do. I know my arm and leg fall asleep quicker and deeper, so I watch how I sit or lay. Sometimes when I casually touch my husband, his reflexes kick in and he will flinch and automatically know it is my right hand touching him because it is like ice. I don’t feel the cold in my right side, so I forget it is different. If I want to feel textures I use my left hand as the sensitivity is much better.
I have adapted and adjusted to my new normal, I still miss my old normal and wish my stroke had never happened to begin with, and that the numbness is the least of the issues from the stroke. I also know that I am very lucky compared to other stroke survivors, but wouldn’t I have been luckier not to have the stroke at all?
So while others may tell me I am lucky they also comparing me to other stroke survivors. They would never tell me I am lucky to have had a stroke, while comparing me to people who have not had a stroke. Would you?
And if I have a day when I am angry that my stroke had to happen, my friends let me be angry, because it should not have happened. If I am angry that I can’t work anymore, they don’t tell me how good I have it being retired. They listen because they know that is what I need from them, and that I hear it from them, when they need to vent or talk about things that impact them.
I see a lot of similarities between my stroke and my adoption. The stroke really doesn’t have an upside while adoption also has positives in it, but nor do I believe anyone else would want either to happen to them, but both did to me, and I have made the best of both. Yet different things trigger thoughts of each and invariably I am reminded of both by normal everyday occurrences. I also see a complete disconnect in how people in life see and react to me, they understand about my feelings about my stroke but talking about being adopted is different. And the difference is that they only want to see the positives that come from adoption, and only want to talk about the positives, because it makes them uncomfortable to think of the negatives, and to me that is the biggest disservice of all.
Just like what triggered thoughts of my stroke today, my adoption impacts me and I am reminded of the fact that I am adopted in many different ways on a daily basis, and I can’t see it ever being different. It does not mean I am always angry or upset when I think about either, they are both just a part of who I am, and who I always will be.
But if my talking here, as well as by other adult adoptee bloggers and allies, about the issues surrounding adoption and actions by those who lack ethics can make adoption more ethical, and only done when there is no other good option, then that’s a really good thing, and I am happy to be a part of that.