Assessing The Now: A Stroke Condition Update

A update on my physical being, near three months after my Stroke.

A quick catch-up summary for folks who might have been late for, or missed the "Andy-Show":

The TOYSREVIL blog has been active for the past 6 years (on Feb 19th, it will be "6"), and as the sole author of the blog, I was downed with Stroke late last October 2010. For two months, the TOYSREVIL-blog was non-updated, with a possibility of indefinite hiatus. But by Christmas Eve December 2010, I wheeled out of the hospital (with my family's help, of course), and came struggling back on the author's seat, and steered TOYSREVIL pass the New Year into 2011, and to the here and now!

That there's the cheery-version. People like to know, but not necessarily WANT to know, you know? I have become such a judgmental person after the Stroke, it seems, with whatever Zen notions during hospitalization currently got stuck in thought-limbo, and have given into impatient snap-judgements since being in home-care. Oh-my-god, I have become an ignorant HDB-auntie!


Past one month on, while out of hospital care, and into home care, I find myself spending more time recently walking free, while holding the 4-Walker above the floor (ie: i lift up, but walk still with Walker in hands) when in the past month, I needed it to aid my walking. This worked decently well in wide spaces, particularly familiar surroundings at home. Assured with feeling "safe", I hobble on in record speed, no joke! I'll get into trouble if the walking space is small though (smaller than my raised walker), and even a walk to the bathroom past the kitchen filled with two persons, is a challenge. But I remain optimistic to someday begin walking into the outside of the house, at the very least still with my 4-Legged-Walker.

Quick-Catch-Up: With suffering Stroke, the entire right side of my body was affected. Basically they "froze" while I was in Stroke, and had been struggling to keep active ever since. My master hand (right hand) was then non-effective, my walk a futile effort, as I had then lost my sense of balance. The two months in hospital stay was all about daily rehab and working up the muscle tone, as well as the dexterity of the limbs. In quick succession, I was able to eat and drink, then speak, then doodle, then eventually writing in that pink notebook of mine.

Seen here for the first time are quick sketches on 4A paper, as a personal exercise, as well task by my hospital therapist.


And as mentioned above, my "gait" (I hear that a lot of times these days, having become an essential aspect of my living vocabulary) and walk now is like a newborn baby's - although some would insist "bear" because of my "size" hahaha (but I would insist "monster" LOL).

Frankly, I used to walk with a better gait while in hospital, but now without daily rehab (I'm still struggling with self-habit), the walk is somewhat degraded and reverted to shuffles, dangnabbit...

Anyways, these days, the legs are better (but literally "burn" from within somewhat fierce when I exert myself), as is the ability if my Stroke-hand to feel, which ironically the non-Stroke left hand is starting to loose the feeling of … strangely I no longer feel hot nor cold on my left, while my right arm - post yesterday's rehab-regime session - aches like a motherbitch, in lieu of what I term "delayed muscle fatigue".

But as I had constantly told myself while lying in hospital bed, "pain" is not necessarily a "bad thing" - pain is good, because it meant that you can "feel". And being able to feel, is a simplistic awesome feeling people tend to overlook the virtues of (along with "seeing", "walking" etc hahaha), especially when you had earlier wet your pants uncontrollably and had sponge-baths. (No, I did not enjoy my spongebaths one bit).

Currently, wherever I go outside of the house, I am wheelchair-bound and chaperoned. The wheelchair is a rental, whose lease is finishing in another two weeks' time, and I hope to by then be able to walker-it, and not need to renew rental. Of that I am not exactly 100% optimistic, but that is the plan anyways.

One predominant reason why, is that I get physically tired easily these salad days. In the past, it was more of spinning dizziness which had my attention, especially within crowds and moving things. Even today, I had attempted to read a copy of GQ magazine in the cab (enroute to my weekly acupuncture session, with Winona Ryder going on about her acting stint in "Black Swan" ~ which I am dying to watch) and felt the headache and slight dizziness afters. Heck, even riding in a cab and starring out the window at things flashing by constantly, also most times gives me a headache hahaha.

(Sitting in front of a laptop, with a cup tea (sans regular sugar) is surprisingly a pleasant boon, now.)

So that's that. These days, there is a need to sit down and take a breather somewhen whenever, before being able to get back up and move along. Hence being seated and pushed around in a wheelchair, eliminates that need. Frankly, I both enjoy being in a w/c (who doesn't liked to be wheeled around? haha) as well hate the experience. No one likes feeling "crippled", however mild it may be.

But I know these are happenings in the short run. Given time and adequate rehab, I am told by everyone I work out with, I will walk again, just like nothing had ever happened before :)

What a nice thought, that.

What near everybody doesn't repeat to me, is that Stroke will inevitably happen again somewhen in my lifetime, if I do not toe the health line and keep on an even keel. The sheer amount of folks I have met in my 2-month hospital stay suffering their second-Stroke, as pretty astounding, and was a daily cautionary tale, besides my need to want to walk again. Bless them all, for that was what I could do.


"A stroke is a "brain attack" that happens when a part of the brain experiences a problem with blood flow. This disruption in blood flow cuts off the supply of oxygen to the cells in that part of the brain, and these cells begin to die."

Essentially, blood stopped flowing into the past of my brain that controlled balance / equilibrium, and even vision. Peeps constantly tell me it's a "Mild Stroke", and I am slowly coming in grips with that, and stop thinking "How about YOU experiencing it yourself, buddy!". I have even started a "Stroke-blog" to educate folks on what it is, as well document my experiences.

And I also admit the hesitance of going out, is "fear". Fear of people not realizing the needs of a wheelchair-bound (and explaining too much might seem "needy") and as well folks are generally not so trained to take care of wheelchair folks. There is more to carrying a person on and off a wheelchair comfortably, I have you know! (But I can get up and off a w/c just fine by myself, thanks :p). As well the general public, who has absolutely no empathy nor desire to cater to the wheelchair bound, save for the very few souls I have had the fortune to encounter on a situational basis, outside of the hospitals.

I'm not some Rambo-in-wheels! Nor does my wheelchair spout flowers and spray super-sunshine out my ass! I have my misgivings and fears too, and unfortunately I wear my heart on both my physical and cyber-sleeves, so independence is somewhat up to me and myself, regrettably so. Be that as it may, my life is no longer just about living for myself, as it encompasses folks and family who care for me, as well folks I interact with, or rather choose to interact with. Or perhaps even brave souls who choose to read posts they know is not about admiring bunnys-in-clouds. :)

Of course things would be better if I did not evoke the wheelchair (ooooohhhh) and attempt to walk on my own (with 4-legged walker, of course), and perhaps that may well be true, one day, and mayhap bring me yet another round of thoughts and impressions, no doubt!

Aside, I do not walk with a one-handed cane, because I remember one of my beloved physical therapist training me during my stay before, who had mentioned that she had refused to let me use a cane (when asked), as she did not want me to develop a certain "gait" or walking stance associated with using a cane. That made perfect sense to me , and I have been keeping that close to my heart ever since. I want to walk again, I so not want to cane-hobble :)

I can sit down on a dining table, and chat up a storm with folks sitting opposite me, but once they see me in wheelchair, or notice me squinting with my eye-patch (and this newly irritating habit of head-knodding because of my vision), they tend to get uncomfortable and uneasy, and frankly, I do not need it to be my job to placate them, and tell them everything's all right with a pinch of sugar. I used to be on the other side of the table myself, I will not lie.

("Online-Conversations", alas, has become a chore, as I may take longer to type a long reply, having uneasy to a short sentence in lieu of. But that does not necessarily mean everybody else may understand, nor have patience for).

At home, the most effort and exercise utilized about my body, is you guessed it, my fingers (and by default, forearms and wrist too), as I have been typing loads, actually loads more than I have posted on the TOYSREVIL blog. And with the fingers, comes the eyes.

Quick-Catch-Up: My eyes had contracted double-vision with the onset of my Stroke. Whereas it was near perfect 20/2 vision before (although I had suspected an ever so slight sign of old-man-cannot-read-fne-print syndrome), as of post-Stroke, I see everything double. Initially it was placed diagonal side-by-side, then it progressed to literal side-by-side, and now, most probably after constant acupuncture, the vision is clearer and less double. But I have you know the vision is always clear and never "blurred" … unless of course now when I overwork it and type til the vision is literally cloudy, then I know I have reached my limit :p

Why do I type so hard? Because I cannot reconcile with feeling (and being) crippled, however small effect as it may be. Typing, and by default "blogging", is one of the only physical anchor I have with the life I once had led (besides of course my family, who I see day-t-day, as I do stay with them, thanking God as I did and still do). It has become the measure of my abilities, besides the obvious "bringing-home the-bacon", or fathering a brood of kidlings. (The blog is not helping, and I am still single ~ in that order and excuse :p). Somedays I feel the strain of it, and most days I relish the finished task. Although admittedly I may have to rethink my strategies sometime very soon, because I am slowly coming out of my naivety, which most times I choose not to be conscious of.

But know that the rehab and acupuncture sessions, as well transport tho and fro the respective locales, are not free of charge. Nor are they subsidized in any way. As much as I may not need the cash-flow here and now, I cannot for the life of me, imagine it is not there, nor will it all go away on my whim (just like I wish I'd strike lottery, when I no longer even buy lottery tickets, you know? hahaha). Nevertheless, it is a worry I am working on now, so that the future will be a nice one to move into, and be not dragged into ~ kicking and screaming silently :)

Folks tend to focus on the physical malady, without regard for the financial status of folks involved, of which I am still in a worry-less state, compared to the myriad others who struggle with "staying alive", much less "surviving". Healthcare is so much neglected by folks, who continue to survive and thrive healthily so.

And remember Stroke is a physical situation, and not necessarily covered in Insurance deals which involve "accidents", yeh? *cough*

People now constantly tell me: "Take A Break!" and/or "Don't Work So Hard!" - which I appreciate from the bottom of my heart, and I do take breaks and sleep when I can, it's just the in-between times I find hard to not do anything! If my eyes were better, I'd be reading (which I not longer do, nether books or newspapers, as the print is too small to focus) or watching daly movies non-stop (which has turned out surprisingly well, considering my double-vision, but alas most of my DVDs are packed away now). And frankly, since I gained sentience in the hospital, my mind cannot but function at speed.

Thoughts, schemes and happenings whizz by ever so often - even now, I have near 4 articles in various stages of typing/writing now, that are as yet completed! Perhaps nothing exceptional to YOU, but somewhat ludicrous and exciting to ME. Tis the only lack of physical ability to keep up with my thoughts, that are hampering my advancement, and perhaps even ability to live on and prosper. I am brought up and through life that you will have to show your worth first, rather than just speaking about them. I can yap on forever and trumpet my own horn, and some kind folks might even fall for the false advertising, but I would be left wanting at the end of the day, and I desire so much more than just that.

I do not just want to walk again, I want to travel. But I loathed to walk thru on my "words" alone, even if others have been able to thus far. Neverhteless, as I always say; "Rehab Continues!"

I am, and will be for the rest of my life, be on medication. I have no doubt how good I may feel day to day, is because of the small myriad of pills I down every morning, afternoon and night. No biggie, just sometimes I forget my pills is all. And with that, I down plenty of water, so folks needn't worry I do not :)

(The need to wake up every once or twice every night to take a whizz is because of diabetes, and not over-drinking, as I now know after consultation).

Post-Stroke, besides the physical symptoms, I am now boggled down with Hypertension / High Blood Pressure, High Cholestral and (mild) Diabetes - which for a sweet-tooth like mine, is a criminal sentence, but I shall prevail eventually, just without ice cream … I knew I had HB pre-Stroke, and had even had pills for that too - but after completing my stock, I had not gotten new ones, and the malady festered for a few years - so be careful of what you choose NOT to take, folks! Cautionary tale here, hello!

The entire week is to be filled up with daily happenings, so much so it is like a "job", admittedly a "short" job. Monday mornings at 9am is rehab, as is Thursday morning.s Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are acupuncture sessions. The sole "off day" at this point is Wednesdays and Sundays, and hence (perhaps foolishly) I have scheduled the TOYSREVIL Weekly Roundups to be on those two days. Makes sense doesn't it? I thought so when I planned it all up, innit? Oh, foolish, naive me …

Alas, folks generally so not understand and I am most times left with late news, so hence there might be some changes to come for the blog-direction as well. Understand that I "used" to be pumping out the latest news willy-nilly, and have yet to accept the current status quo - but I'm learning fast, I'm learning quick. The days of willy-nilly are on hiatus for the time being. Nevertheless invigorating be the chase, just not the day-to-day reaching for the finishing line, is all.


Yes, I am much better off than some other folks who have suffered Stroke. Just like how my life now might well be a cake-walk compared to the suffering of others, But this is simply about me and comparisons to what I know about myself, in the past, and frankly no one else. This is in fact a very selfish post, prepared without the need to include others' sufferings, in comparison to my own.

As such an artist creates his/her signature style, folks will inevitably come along and comment about it looking like someone else's, like you're riffing off another artist, who had then been more wellknown and prolific as you might well have been, and totally neglect the notions of the creator in the frost place. All brushes are created equal. All paints remain still in their original state. It is the artists' interpretations and use of the brushes and paints that make the difference, and not "my paint color is more vibrant than yours". Or even "I paint on the canvas longer than you, so it is more valuable, compared to your kid-scrawlings" (so okay, the last one was a deviation of something I have heard of before, but am sure "designers" will recognize that hahaha).

You, as an artist and/or creator decide your evolutionary path and/or development, but it becomes the public opinion and even tastes, that affects your decisions thereof. And have the reading public decided for me the direction of my blog? That remains to be seen, as it is not words but actions, that will speak for themselves eventually.

The times, they are a'changing.

But no, I am not an "artist" per se. I dare not even deem myself a "writer" (as much as I'd like and/or want to, but there's more down the path that needs to be experienced and journeyed, than just this, IMHO), but perhaps someone who likes writing about toys, and about life, and perhaps even his Stroke.

(Disclaimer: I do not necessarily need to LIKE about writing about my Stroke, but feel it is necessary for folks who care and are interested to know. I know the pain of not knowing, and "silence" is not necessarily the way to ease the pain).

Who knows what the future might bring, when I am physically better, and cyber-alert? I know that whatever I am doing now, is ideally geared towards a future I would like to experience, just like whatever plans I may have had before Stroke happened, and how they were either crushed, or altered to fit the "new age". For whatever I dare plan now, I am learning to live with whatever happens, in time to come, just like I felt like this "personal update" post may never have been a reality, before I had experienced Stroke. I am a quiet Oriental man, with deep seated insecurities and even stronger passion paths, and posts like these do not come easy for me, pre-Stroke anyways! Now I've become such a whiney-man-biatch! LOL

Such a strange world we live in … and live in it, I still do :)

Cheers and thank for Reading,

P/S#1: Typed in a single go, after a Tuesday's afternoon session of acupuncture, with a tired but unsleepable spirit, as well as legs-on-fire. I do not type while in a wheelchair though.

P/S#2: And oh yes, this post was typed as I could not climb into head for a daily afternoon nap (that's how I roll these days), as there was mucus in my gums! I know because I burst said mucus, causing much bleeding, which is a major concern, as I am taking a pill to thin blood (not walfern) which means it will bleed constantly if unchecked. And the mucus-debacle happened because, beside all this Stroke-effects, I also had on the very top, a Gum-Infection, due to badly managed teeth. And the Gum-Infection is affecting me until this very day, as because of having the Stroke, I cannot be operated on at this time - for which it seems, a thorough gum-scraping will ease off the infection! So effectively now, my teeth has gotten crooked and mangled, and on the day I can walk free again, I might need dentures!

Do not know what is worse now - surviving Stroke, or dental hygiene!?

BLOG-NOTE: This post was written and published February 15th, 2011 on my Facebook.


  1. Hi Andy!!nice to "see" you on your blog..
    Thanks for blogging.
    btw are you free on good friday or easter sunday? thought of inviting you to my church, if you're alright with it. ;) best regards, jo-ann (your therapist)

  2. Heya Jo-Ann! Apologies for the delayed reply (havent checked my blog for a bit) - sorry but im going to have to pass on the offer for either days - but thanks for inviting anyways :)