Stroke Update 9 – Nightmares

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Well, it’s been several days, but I haven’t heard a word back from the survey company or the rehab hospital executives yet, regarding the very disturbing letter that I sent them about my recent hospitalization. Maybe they’re afraid that I might sue them if they acknowledge it. But I hope that they are meeting/talking/doing something about what I told them. I will update you if and when I hear from them.

After three bouts of severe diarrhea, my body finally got used to taking Metformin pills, instead of insulin injections. I’ve had no side-effects for the past several days, and my blood-glucose levels have been excellent! Today, after two days in which I felt too weak, achy, and muscle-popping to do any exercises, I woke up feeling strong again, and did the whole tedious list of them this morning — plus again, later tonight! I think that may be due to a few days of taking acetominiphen, fish oil (omega 3), and vitamin B12 pills. I don’t know for sure, but, if I keep feeling like this, I’m going to keep taking them!

My wife took me to the homeless church again today. Many people called out my name, and I shook hands with my friend, Greg, who hadn’t heard that I had had a stroke, and wondered why he hadn’t seen me for the last few months. Another friend, Chris — the homeless man who had a stroke the same time that I did — is back at the church every day, working on stuff the way he always did, but they tell me that he has more trouble getting around than he used to. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. Also, being homeless, he hasn’t had the benefit of all the in-home and outpatient rehab that I’ve had.

I also saw and talked to Melissa again, and held her grandson/”son”, Mr. Peanut, again. He is 4 months old now, and gave me a big smile again. He’s huge — already twenty pounds, and nearly always hungry, drinking more than a whole container’s worth of Sam’s Club generic Enfamil powder (85+ 4-ounce bottles-worth) every week! Melissa has raised him ever since he was born (I was there). She still sends me cell-phone photos of him, grinning and growing, like the one below. In a few days, she’s going to court to get voluntary legal custody of him from his irresponsible, pregnant-again mother. Good for both of them!

Mr. Peanut!

My outpatient rehab started a few days ago. It will continue twice a week for two weeks, then once a week for several more. They evaluated my abilities this past visit, figuring out exactly which muscles and feelings of balance will need to be strengthened. With separate copayments for each type of rehab each time, it’s very expensive, despite our insurance.

At times, it’s almost effortless to stand up from a seat, and I’m teaching myself to walk at home, kind of herky-jerky so far, by pushing my wheely-walker (4-wheeled) ahead of me and walking on my own, instead of relying on it to bear any of my weight, or by holding it as lightly as possible. That’s starting to feel “more normal.” Other times, away from home, like in stores, I push a shopping cart and hang on to it normally.

Those who know me, know that I’ve always been a very emotional guy, but, since this stroke, my emotions have been hyper-sensitive, sort of “heightened.” I cry or get happy, impatient, discouraged, frustrated, or mad, at the drop of a hat, which can make things very hard on my long-suffering wife — even though I’m getting more control of it as time progresses.

I don’t know if it means anything to anybody, but my nightmares have gone back to being my normal theme of, “I’m looking for something or someone, but I can’t find them, and it’s getting dark quickly, and then it’s dark, and I get in some kind of danger that wakes me up, like accidentaly driving into a suddenly swollen and raging river that I didn’t see in the darkness — which then wakes me up.”

It’s very upsetting, and it makes perfect sense at the time, but, the next morning, it doesn’t make any sense at all, like why was I even looking for my Univerity of Minnesota Ph.D. advisor, when I left that program almost three decades ago, and I haven’t had any reason to see or hear from him since then?

At least my past (and now, my current, again) nightmares are better than the series of them that I had for several nights in a row, when I was in the rehab hospital. They always went by the theme of “There’s a serious problem that I have to solve.” Every night, it was a different problem, but, for some reason, I always thought that I had to solve it. For example, one night, there was a digit that was missing, in an important social security number. I knew what the digit was, and I had to tell someone who needed to know it, so that people who I cared about would start getting their social security benefits again. Another night, there was a computer virus that was infecting all of the rehab hospital’s computers, but I was the only one who knew about it. I’d wake up sweating and agitated, with my heart beating out of my chest, and being either unable (or maybe unwilling) to fall back to sleep for hours.

I even mentioned my nightmares to one of the hospital therapists, several times. She’s the speech rehab theapist who always gave me several things to do at the same time, while doing things near me, to try to distract me, all in attempts to “slow down” my injured, overactive, “sensitized” brain.

Those rehab hospital nightmares continued, with that same “problem to solve” theme, until, one night, I had a nightmare that, like its previous siblings, woke me up in the middle of the night. I don’t remember all of its details, but it had something to do with the rehab hospital staff itself, and, instead of waking up scared, I woke up really mad.

Awhile later, a night nurse came in the room, to take my vital signs (I always joked that they had already done that, so I didn’t have any vitals left for them to take). Anyway, she didn’t mention anything at all about the thing that I was so angry about. After a few minutes, I suddenly realized that was because she had absolutely no idea what my nightmare had been about. My brain had made it all up on its own, probably as some kine of “nighttime busy work,” to help itself heal, or something. From that point on, those nightmares stopped.

And my regular ones returned. Oh, well, at least I know that they’re not for real.

Are they? 😉

I know that many of you have been very good at reading my updates and offering me your support. Thank you very much! That means a lot to me, and I’ll remember it, and your efforts on my behalf!

And be sure to check back later, as I regularly edit, add things to, and change my posts as time goes on, as I think of new things that don’t need their own posts.

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4 Responses to Stroke Update 9 – Nightmares

  1. Linda says:

    Keep up the good work!!! Love & hugs

  2. Candy says:

    Happy to hear you’re feeling better and exercising again. Keep up all the good work, it will pay off, it already is!
    Don’t worry about not getting any reply from the rehab, you may never hear back from them but you know that they read it and prayerfully, they’ll act upon it and make some big changes.
    Love to your wife and pups,
    God Bless You All!!!

  3. ComputerBob says:

    Thanks for your love and support, Candy!

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