Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Tale from Stroke-Land

A tale from stroke-land. I went for a coffee after a very long and slightly tedious induction into a research study*, and got it in a cup to go. Now I'm sure you all know this, since you don't live under rocks, but a typical sippy cup lid has two openings: one large one at the edge for the coffee to come out of, and a smaller one, often in the middle of a recycling logo, for air to flow into while coffee flows out. If the lid is properly constructed, air and coffee both flow smoothly, rather than having jerky splashes of scalding fluid and the like.

Alas, the second, air aperture was, as it so often is, completely inadequate, and thanks to coffee splashing against it from the inside was quite closed. No problem! Take the cup back to the counter, which was otherwise unoccupied, and ask to borrow a pen or pencil to poke a bigger hole. I have done this many times.

What's new is that now one of my glasses lenses is occluded, the left side of my face is still largely palsied, although no longer actually droopy, and I walk with a stick.

"This hole here is where the coffee comes out."

I shit you not. The young lady in question assumed I was too stupid or brain damaged to know which end the coffee came out. There followed, to the amusement of a nurse who had appeared wanting a coffee, a rapid discourse on elementary fluid dynamics, the correct application of the pencil, and a satisfying coffee.

To be fairer than I feel warranted, it's entirely possible she's encountered a whole string of patients incapable of drinking coffee, but it dismays me that her automatic response was to assume that I was loopy, rather than making sense. I went away with my objective achieved and a tasty coffee, but the lingering sense that she thought I was crazy for wanting a bigger air hole, and that she was used to dealing with all sorts of hospital crazies, so whatever. Before I looked the way I currently do, her assumptions would likely have been different.


* A study into the effects of adding use of the Wii to regular physio for stroke sufferers who have dominant side deficits. I don't find out until next Tuesday whether I get a Wii for six weeks, or I'm in the control group.