Wednesday, 14 May 2014

And then what?

As of this Sunday it is now six months after the first stroke. Yes. That is right. I had a second one exactly three weeks later. Again on a Sunday. This time I went to hospital with an ambulance wailing loudly and flashing its lights. The procedure in the hospital was basically the same.

The first one shook me up badly. The second one scared the @#$% out of me.
The fear was so overwhelming that I could not move for weeks.

I was convinced that I would have another one, and then another one. Sundays were particularly scary. I was shaking uncontrollably over my entire body. So my family doctor gave me some tablets to calm down. Turns out, the shaking was a side effect of the medication I was given to lower my cholesterol. Funny that. I stopped taking them (on orders of a cardiologist) and a few days later I felt a lot better!

After the three weeks point had been met, I started to get a bit less scared. There where still a lot of tests to be done and doctors to see. So that was my start to the new year. Tests and hospital visits. They confirmed that I did have two strokes. Both had caused brain damage. As to the reason I had the strokes:

Nothing was found. 

I will say that again.

Nothing was found.

You would think that that is good news. And it is, obviously. But think about it. It happened out of the blue. Without any reason. So what would stop it happening again?

This is what it did to me. It made me fearful.

There were other things of course. My mouth was damaged, so I was biting my lip, cheek and tongue constantly. That got infected (since I didn't feel it, and did not pay attention to it). And the slurring of course. That too. And some difficulty swallowing. All that was corrected with speech therapy. Which is a lot more fun then you would think!

My arm was weaker. No feeling (but able to move, very important that) in my hand. That means I had to be careful with hot water and knives..... It is getting better.

My behaviour had completely changed. I became mean. Really mean. And I was combative. Fighting with everyone. That was one of the nice effects of the brain damage. Luckily, that has now gone. Completely. Well. I do have some sharper edges. But that is not a bad thing, most of the time.

I am still not smoking.

So. What did I do all that time? 
I quilted. What else would I be doing? I sat, and I quilted. It was good therapy for my hand too. Bonus!

So you can see the size. And the things I made people do for me! My poor dad and my neighbour......


In the hospital the second time, I started to put together the top for my mystery quilt. It doubled as a great big handkerchief. Soaking up all the tears nicely. Turns out, quilting helps with anxiety as well. I managed to put together the entire (2,50 x 2,50 meters) top in just six days. Yay for panic. I hand quilted it in six weeks. And now I sleep under it.

My cat likes helping me with hemming the binding.....

It is hard to get a good picture of such a large quilt!

I had loads of projects in between. A quilt for my other nephew, the new mystery, gifts (to make up for my behaviour). I will share all in the next weeks. I promise.

Till then.
Lots of love,


  1. And the good news is: I see you on saturday...we will take care of the sharp edges....See you then.

  2. Dear Sister. I have walked this road with you and I am very happy that you are feeling better. I am so, so very proud to have seen you regain your trust in your own body. That said I am a little bit jealous of all the quilts you have finished in the last 6 months. You know why! Looking forward to going to the workshop with The Quilterij on Saturday with you!

  3. Heleen my sister had a stroke a year and a half ago and then again a month real reason cited. I had a very tiny one four years ago. Each one brings tiny changes to your body and/or to your mind and certainly to your emotions. I think it has made both of us live life more fully, enjoy people and activities with more enthusiasm and we are not putting off the things we want to do. You may never another one - I may never have another one. My plan is to forget about them but take care of my health and to have fun every day! blessings, marlene