Sunday, November 27, 2011

General Transatlantic Update

Since I've been offline for just under two weeks, I think a general update is in order.

First thing, first: I weathered the flight pretty well, arrived around 7:00am, saw my GP at 10:15am, saw the excellent and charming consultant at Homerton Hospital at about 4pm, and was promptly admitted after a general chat. I stayed on ward for a couple of days, before being transferred to a dedicated short-stay rehab unit. I'll be here until just before Christmas, but rehab is for life, children, not just for the holidays.

Three major problems remain, coinciding with the three initial "brain events" I had: face, vision, right side. I have a left side Bell's Palsy: the left side of my face is paralyzed. It is slowly coming back to life with diligent work and lots of strenuous face-pulling, which is good. More troubling is the fact that the damage extends do the left side of my throat, and my left vocal fold. Listening to a recording of my voice as it now stands was distressing: there's no colour at all, and I've got less than an octave in range. Happily, the voice therapy protocol I'm using works, so with luck, time and effort all will be well again.

My vision is currently buggered: I have a squint in the left eye that makes me look like dribbling idiot--unfortunate because I dribble at the moment (see above re: palsy)--which concerns me only slightly less than the double vision I have when using both eyes. It turns out that my eyes will at some point magically fix themselves in the next 4-6 months, and in the meantime I should just STFU and deal. In practice this means I have put a frosty coating over the left eye lens in my spectacles, and go about my business, hoping each morning that I will miraculously be able to see again. If they don't fix themselves, there apparently reamins the knife. I shudder.

The physio here is excellent: strict, observant, accurate and persistent. It helps, I think, that I'm relatively young and determined to walk the hell out of here. RIght now I'm back to walking with a (Zimmer) frame, but I expect to graduate to a quad stick and then a walking stick before long. It may surprise some, but I'm working bloody hard to walk (properly) again. Although it felt initially like a step backwards from Mt. Sinai, it isn't: I'm getting to address the core problem, which is my balance. I still have a mild tendency to keel over.

I have my own room, with its own bathroom (about which more anon), and I'm now allowed to walk its confines unaccompanied (a joy!), although nowhere else. My day is packed with a schedule (of my own devising) of physio, voice, speech, writing and typing therapies. I have to be careful not to reach an unproductive level of exhaustion... with which I'll sign off!
Until the next update, I remain
Stroker Ace