My Stroke-Stories Inked for #Inktober

My main mode of transportation for the first few months after surviving Stroke, was the wheelchair. For at least 4-6 months (I am not 100% certain of the timeline) I moved around sat being pushed - from the 2 months in Changi General to outside at home ... I even visited the 2010 Singapore toycon in a wheelchair, viewing the world in a different eyeline, a different POV hahahaha! Funny thing tho, for a few good months, twice a week, I'd wait at the side of the road down my flat (along with my late Dad), to flag taxis to bring us to my rehab sessions, but only ever ONCE did someone actually let me have the cab, while everyone else who walked out and stood in front of me (further down the road) just went and grabbed the cabs, Even though they saw a dude in wheelchair (they are not THAT far up the roadside hahahaha). So much for "humanity" on the east side of Singapore, yeah? LOL #inktober Day 11 prompt: "Transport". #inktober2016 #hengdraw #toysrevilart

A photo posted by TOYSREVIL (@toysrevil) on

I’ve been sharing a few personal stories through my Inktober-sketches*, with a select few regaling my post-Stroke tales. I’ve been thinking of drawing out my “Stroke-story” for years now, but have yet to find the right style or voice … this is just an experiment/start, of hopefully something that I’d like to be doing “soon”…

The images here are of the first 11 Days, and here’s quite a few more days to go before the month of October ends! haha

One of the main hurdles I'd faced attempting to regain my mobility post-Stroke, was "balance", where standing on one leg, was ever the challenge that took harder to conquer than "walking". In the beginning I could not even last 2 seconds without falling ... Which was tricky whenever I needed to step over a hump... Learning to not shuffle and lifting my legs to take my steps, is still a constant effort, 5 odd years after :p I have not taken to "run" but more manic fast-walking hahah but I have not ever "jumped" since Stroke. #Inktober Day 10 prompt theme is "JUMP", and I will always be reminded of my lack of physical ability, but it's okay, at least I can stand on one leg for longer time s now :) #inktober2016 #drawlife #hengdraw #toysrevilart

A photo posted by TOYSREVIL (@toysrevil) on

Even before getting Stroke in 2010, I'd thought I was "broken". In the sense that as a grownassadult, I was still not the typical successful male Singaporean, with a stable job, with m own family Wife and kids, dressed in long pants (sometimes with tie, sometimes not) ... When instead I was "living large" working ungodly hours in the local media, ignoring m family and living selfishly like a kidult! The "normality machine" broke down somewhen for my reality hahaha THEN I had Stroke! And now I was "physically" broken too! I mustered enough to get myself in my feet walking again, but has since slide into get fatter than I have ever been, AND end up wearing Crocs (which I used to HATE, but they cover my toes from knocking into stuff, so...), and I realise I am still wearing "film crew"-clothes like years before! Still prefer Bermudas and tees (always black becoz I lie to myself it is "slimming"), and still feeling "not quite right" ... And no, it is not about "being special" - just don't want to become "special needs", ya know? But LIFE still goes on, and I can still doodle a bit here and there .... Also one thing that's NOT broken, is my lack of drawing skills! Still sucks after all these years, dammit! Hahahaha This is my #inktober2016 Day 9 prompt: "Broken" :) #henglife #hengdraw #toysrevilart #inktober

A photo posted by TOYSREVIL (@toysrevil) on

My #inktober2016 sketch for Day 5, with the prompt theme being "SAD". "Sad" because, the fact was, when I was recovering in the hospital for Stroke back in 2010, I also had at the same time, dental problems! But due to me taking blood-thinner medication, I could not visit the Dentist. And here I laid in hospital, with half my body paralysed AND a massive toothache, which eventually led to my teeth growing out of place, to my current state of mangled teeth that I not longer smile with an open mouth for pictures. The big GAP in the drawing is for when I go take my middle bottom tooth out (This week perhaps)... Not only am I physically altered due to Stroke, now my teeth are failing me! I have made do with my eye-patch and getting fat as a hog, but my teeth? Don't be expecting me to greet the world at large too often when I pull out that damn shaking tooth... "Sad", right? #truestorybro #inktober #hengdraw #toysrevilart

A photo posted by TOYSREVIL (@toysrevil) on

Some folks are "scared" of being in the dark, scared of spiders, scared of being alone, scared of dying ... But the most thing I am scared of, especially after surviving Stroke (in 2010), is having a "headache". And not just any headache - but a headache from the back of my head. Because that is just one of the symptoms leading to possible Stroke, where the blood vessel situated at the back of your noggin' is having problems carrying blood up to your brains, it's either clogged (my type of Stroke) or the vessel bursts and you get pretty f**ked up afters. I experienced a severe headache prior to falling to Stroke, and even 5-6 years later, whenever I have a headache (at the back, everywhere else I'm not worried much), I'd be scared for my life, no b.s. These days I try not to take Panadol for the headaches too, as I'd rather know the pain exists, rather than be oblivious to what my body is trying to tell me otherwise. This is Day 13 of #inktober2016 with the prompt being "SCARED". #inktober #hengdraw #roysrevilart

A post shared by TOYSREVIL (@toysrevil) on

The roots I've grown are tied in to my own immediate self and family, and continues to grow as the days go by, moreso than it had pre-Stroke, when "growing roots" meant "achieving in my own career" rather than notions of family or even friends, self centered that I had been... And now I wonder If I've become a tree worthy to shelter my own love ones, with my leaves of abundance, or even grown strong enough branches to strap a swing around myself to let my own offspring play on, and depend on...? I honestly do not think I am, or have, for I am just a sapling trying to grow, and not let myself wither on more than I had, as the days go by... And this is one reality I cannot blame on my Stroke :( My #inktober Day 14 prompt theme "TREE". #hengdraw #toysrevilart #inktober2016

A post shared by TOYSREVIL (@toysrevil) on

I really struggled to come up for something for #inktober Day 15's prompt: "RELAX", and had wanted to depict myself in my fav "relaxed" moment, and realising i do not have many! I Guess I've always been uptight. And being a workaholic also meant I did not know what to do when it is time to "relax", or when I go on a holiday. The closest I remembered was being in Bandung in 2009 actually, and even then my mind was in constant movement. One would imagine being in SLEEP to be relaxing, but that has hardly been the case for some time now, as every night I am filled with frenzied dreams - sometimes good, not as often bad, but always in a "hurry", and near always am doing stuff and getting tired doing them - like mountain trekking, for the entire dream! Anyways, I wouldn't know how to relax in the waking world anyways ... Sometimes I might feel a glimmer of it, but it is always fleeting ... And here I stand, back turned towards everybody else, tryin my hardest to "relax" and then turn around to greet the world with a smile and a semblance of "positivity"! ... but in the end, all everyone else sees is still just my back! Hahaha #hengdraw #toysrevilart #inktober2016

A post shared by TOYSREVIL (@toysrevil) on

It really should not have come a a surprise the ice cappuccino spilt when it did, as the glass slowly toppled on one side, and all I could do was watch it happen, as I stood exhausted waiting just to sit down, have a drink and a cake, and gain back some semblance of energy - since list to a torrid' sleeping problem in the morning, stressed from the sweat and being in a crowd (which I thought had been better by now), and whatever f**kedup reason I have become too tired to bother with... Thinking back, I was less embarrassed by the spillage on my feet and shoes, but more pissed I couldn't drink my beverage! Hahaha too tired to care otherwise ... On the way home, te taxi Uncle asked me; "you just now drink coffee ah?" And said he could smell it strongly, an I told him I spilt the drink ... And it was ten when I felt truly embarrassed and saddened hahahaha ... 6 years on, since leaving the hospital, I really should not be surprised by the lack of my physical abilities ... Now have to throw bag away too :p #inktober2016 Day 29 prompt "Surprise". #hengdraw #toysrevilart #inktober

A post shared by TOYSREVIL (@toysrevil) on

*Inktober is a drawing “challenge” where you draw a single drawing for every day in the month of October, and post it online in Instagram.


Blame Game

When we blame, we miss our opportunity to experience empathy. Brené Brown breaks it down in this video from The RSA.

Posted by Upworthy on Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Since my Stroke, I had endeavored not to blame anyone, remembering as I laid in the hospital acute stroke ward, looking up at the ceiling fan, a sight I had seen for a few days now, and thinking "WHO" I could blame for this malady I was in? I couldn't blame "God" for my misfortune, as I'd hardly believed or acted I'd believe in one single god - whomever he or she was ...

And one day, a few years after I'd regained a portion of my ability to walk, and had taken a taxi ride back home, when, while regaling my Stroke story to the driver, when he told me who it was who was to blame for my malady; "ME". And that made the most sense, to me anyways :)

What happens to us, is in our hands. "Stroke" is a man-made phenomena, and WE made it happen to OURSELVES, didn't we? At some point, post-Stroke, we stop playing the blame game, and make it good back for ourselves, and move forward with whatever our lives are able to .. but before that happnes, treat yourselves and your bodies well, yeh? :)