Seven Years On

I’ve always assumed “October 20th” to be my “second birthday”, as I’d regained consciousness in the Acute Stroke Ward #18 in Changi General Hospital on October 20th, 2010 … come to think of it, I’m not wholly 100% certain I woke up on the 20th (I need to check my medical records), nor at what time I did so, blaming my own pedantic “need” for such details that remain inconsequential (perhaps) - unless I’d plan to buy the lottery (with the specific numbers) - but otherwise as “important” as I remember mobile phone numbers not at all, as I rely on my handphone’s memory, in the first place.

SEVEN YEARS ON, my memory is not as great as it had been, or rather what I had felt to be “important” to be remembered, not longer feels as “important”. Holding unto the past is something I have become unfortunately being good at, but still, some things are not necessarily worthy of the effort, or at the least, I actively did not choose to remember them… or have I? Can’t really remember, actually, no b.s..

SEVEN YEARS ON, my blood sugar level read “5.3” - checked 3 days ago, while my left leg is slowly developing a sense of numbness/buzz (which I attribute to my Diabetes taking a devastating effect hopefully not leading to an amputation of my leg dammit), my daily dizziness reaching new heights, but as long as I am moving slower and reacting slower than I have been constantly forgetting I had Stroke - than perhaps I can move on.

SEVEN YEARS ON, my daily health is a major concern and restriction still to me “moving on with life”. My energy level is more limiting now that it had been seven years back, and it strains even my energy, physically and mentally having to spend an entire day out now. The recent toycon in September, was a struggle physically, for example. A single day was all I could muster, after which I needed a few days to literally recover. Thank goodness the teaching gig was decently spread out, although not always the case, but somewhat bearable, and enough to collapse on the bus home, embraced by the air-conditioning which sheltered the strain haha

OR, I could just be getting “Old” lah :p

SEVEN YEARS ON, I am trying my level best to go on the day without the eye-patch. As much as my double-vision remains an impairment, I cannot allow it to fully control my life, as much as I truly abhor now the feeling of the tightened grip of the eye-patch’s bands, or of the sweatiness that comes with my chubby body soaking into said-band. Which also means I squint at people more now, which instead garners as much “attention” as much as I had worn my “pirate” eye-patch hahahaha at least I’d be hearing less “AAARRRRR” ever so often hahahaha PUI :p

SEVEN YEARS ON, I have come to grips that I am the result of my small victories and triumphs, as I am of my failed dreams and unsated desires. “Going at it positively”, as somewhat given into a begrudging acceptance of “reality” in the world I am now living in. Whatever unrequited dreams remain still, though somewhat altered accordingly ... of course I still “Dream On”, but more often than less, I tend to smell the roses along the way more :)

SEVEN YEARS ON, I find myself “holding back” as much as I “dish it out”, and I am no longer as clear as what I want to do, than what I hope to accomplish now, given the opportunity(ies). “Come what may” is unfortunately no longer an option, as familial situations now dictate a more concrete plan for the future, for the very least to be able to take care of myself, and my family around me. To that end, I feel as if I’ve lost tons of “friends” in the process, but as well gained “new friends”, recognising that any “expectations” I may have of other folks, might not be as relevant as I’d hoped they would be, than of how I choose to face others, or have other’s perception of me.

SEVEN YEARS ON, I find myself wadding in uncharted waters, “puddles of mystery liquid” would be a more accurate term, I suppose, and I aim to get clear of such puddles, as actively as I can. It is not about “staying dry”, but at the very least, knowing my own level of comfort, as I wade in the “pools of uncertainty”.

If “LIFE” is not perfect, then I begrudge not what has been “denied” me (Nobody owes me a living, of course), but instead remain grateful I could still stand on my own two feet, and have a cuppa (or two) and engaged in conversation, on a Sunday afternoon. I should not say “that’s my lot in life”, but instead say “that’s the life I choose to lead now”, in my own time, my own pace, catching up to no one else but my own expectations of myself, and of course my “dreams”.

SEVEN YEARS ON, I am getting tired of “explaining” myself to folks around me (NOT like I did unsolicited, in the early years LOL), even though I (“instinctively” or otherwise) know folks who actually “care”, or are just curious for curiosity’s sake, unfair as it sounds, no doubt. To the world at large - seeing me walk (without an obvious gait), and not wearing an eye-patch, I am as “normal” like everyone else, until I twitch and squint, and avoid the night :p

SEVEN YEARS ON, it frankly still feels as if everything as just a few “months back”. And while I have come to accept that I may not escape the shadow of Stroke (survival), I also recognise that “life”, “MY LIFE” still needs to go forth, regardless of how I feel about it, be it what I deserve or not, it is still my life to lead, and grateful I am to be leading it still, IMHO.

SEVEN YEARS ON, I still remember as clearly my first thought, and subsequent reaction and action … of my “desire(s)”, and the realisation of how I should treat my desire(s).

Seven Years has since passed, as did the 20th, and not “remembering” the day itself, is perhaps a “good thing”? Time to “move on” … just need to constantly remind myself to keep on “moving forward” ... or so I constantly, daily, tell myself to.

Cheers, and Thank You for reading :)


A Personal Update Journal & Of Mental Durability

Reuniting with my ex-classmates from over two decades ago (the second time for me, this past National Day on August 9th, 2017), I’d begun to regale folks will my “Stroke-adventures” (even I stopped telling Taxi-uncles after a few years lol), and had a rethink of my circumstances, from before-Stroke, til now, nearly seven years later, after waking up in the Acute Stroke Ward at the end of October, 2010.

Long Story Short: Eye-sight is better now, having developed a severe dislike to wearing the eye-patch (although I still do when it comes to focus and mobility, but otherwise I no longer mind looking at “two plates of food” in front of me LOL).

Mobility is a mixed bag, as I find myself stumbling more these days, of not for my fat-frame, but for my sense of balance, which is really not great as before … As for “constant exercise”, I had recently gone back to lecturing part-time, which provides me with movement, true - but I recognise I really should get off my fatass blogging like a insane mad (Who’s writing this blog-post again? HAH) and move more, I know, I know … :p

"I just visited him at CGH on 22/10/10. He is now able to move his limb and speak roughly (and tell jokes). As his vision is quite unbalanced, he will be required to wear an eye patch which changes side frequently. He is mentally strong and I believe he will recover well. Best wishes to him!"
Featured above is a video recorded by a friend (whom I met thru my blog, actually) who visited my bedside a few days into me being warded at Changi General Hospital (I was first there for a month, before moving to St. Andrews), and is a gentle reminder of how far I had come since then, a slice of which I had attempted to share with folks here reading this blog :)

Met a dear friend from overseas not too long ago (Waves to Lekky!), who had the “benefit” to have met a chubbier me from years back (3 years, maybe?), and noting a “slightly slimmer” me, left such a huge smile on my face and in my heart - I need to make more of an effort to get myself healthier!

I have also come to realize, it isn’t exactly a past I am capable of “forgetting”, as I have not “succeeded” in life, even after (limited) recovery … with all that I can achieve now, I am also reminded constantly of what I cannot achieve physically, which in turn of course reminds me of the past, right? And as much as I muster the memories of the effort I had put thru to regain my independence to life, to push myself forward, there’ll be times when harmless comments chip at my confidence, scraping at my vulnerabilities, and I am back to the insecurities of a secondary school boy again, even before Stroke!

I used to abhor it when folks who say my Stroke was “MILD”, as if the effort I put thru in recovery and rehabilitation did not justify any recognition or worth! But in reality, it’s “worth” only matters to ME, while others do not know or can identify with otherwise.

These days I will be the first to exclaim that I had been “lucky that it had been mild”, as I constantly remember the folks around me in the ward, and in the rehab centers (then), that I can now speak properly (I can talk my students to sleep, maybe :p), and walk without an obvious gait, so HENG, AH! KNN!

“Identification” is a key word folks might take for granted, or for the lack of, versus “empathy” (which is a stronger emotion to attain, IMHO) which at most times “sympathy” is what folks project instead, understandably so as they might not be able to identify with the malady in the first place.

Folks who care, or are interested, will attempt to bridge that, while others are simply curious, and there is nothing wrong with that … as long as survivors like myself understand that, and react accordingly.

In the past, folks/adults will ask about my eye-patch (kids will just “ARRRRR!” at me hahaha), and I’ll do the “I had a Stroke”-story like as if I was selling insurance! Maybe not such a good idea, but for conversation(s) between a passenger (me) and the taxi driver stuck in a car, in a taxi-ride, yeah? LOL

These days, I’d recognise that folks maybe want to ask, but not needing to hear my life-story, and me getting rid of the chip off my shoulder about trying to justify my efforts in recovery (:p) .. and it would be the simple truth: Diabetes f88ked-up my eye sight!

Nearly seven years on, since surviving Stroke, I recognise I had not kept to a regular physical regimen in keeping physically healthy / fit, but also recognise the psychological aspect, where in the beginning I had thought I was “strong” enough to last (at least for myself, while for other survivors, it more likely will be a hurdle, as much as “physicality” is/was, IMHO), but I also needed to consider the durability of said “mental strength” … and as much as I attempt to inject it with “positivity” (as this particular blogpost is suppose to somewhat, I admit), I am most times struggling with it, as I feel I am the only one “self-medicating” :p

But of course I know there is my family, and close friends who keep me in check, and no, the last thing I want is “public sympathy” ~ OMG hahahahaha

What can I/we do now but to eat well, exercise and stay healthy. Stay supportive of folks around us and for folks recovering from Stroke, offer a listening non-judgemental ear if you can. Some might solicit sympathy, although some do not welcome it, but judge not what “they could have / should have done”, but instead focus on how to push on forward with their lives, IMHO.

The “past” is good for a blogpost and such, and might even be legit “fuel” to keep your “future” going, but don’t let yourself/them keep “living” in the past :)