Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Stroke of Insight

These are so incredibly helpful for anyone. Please read through them as I hope to refer to them often as we go through experiencing different things. These have given my dad and I great insight. They will also be helpful in understanding her condition when visitors are allowed. It will also explain why certain decisions are made on my mom's behalf.

1. I am not stupid, I am wounded. Please respect me.
2. Come close, speak slowly, and enunciate clearly.
3. Repeat yourself-assume I know nothing and start from the beginning, over and over.
4. Be as patient with me the 20th time you teach me something, as you were the first.
5. Approach me with an open heart and slow your energy down. Take your time.
6. Be aware of what your body language and facial expressions are communicating to me.
7. Make eye contact with me. I am in here-come find me. Encourage me.
8. Please don’t raise your voice- I’m not deaf, I’m wounded.
9. Touch me appropriately and connect with me.
10. Honor the healing power of sleep.
11. Protect my energy. No talk radio, TV, or nervous visitors! Keep visitation brief (five minutes).
12. Stimulate my brain when I have any energy to learn something new, but know that a small amount may wear me out quickly.
13. Use age appropriate (toddler) educational toys and books to teach me.
14. Introduce me to the world kinesthetically. Let me feel everything. (I am an infant again.)
15. Teach me with monkey-see, monkey –do behavior.
16. Trust that I am trying-just not with your skill level or on your schedule.
17. Ask me multiple choice questions. Avoid yes/no questions.
18. Ask me questions with specific answers. Allow me time to hunt for an answer.
19. Do not assess my cognitive ability by how fast I can think.
20. Handle me gently, as you would handle a newborn.
21. Speak to me directly, not about me to others.
22. Cheer me on. Expect me to recover completely, even if it takes twenty years!
23. Trust that my brain can always continue to learn.
24. Break all actions down into smaller steps of action.
25. Look for what obstacles prevent me from succeeding on a task.
26. Clarify for me what the next level or step is so I know what I am working towards.
27. Remember that I have to be proficient at one level of function before I can move onto the next level.
28. Celebrate all of my little successes. They inspire me.
29. Please don’t finish my sentences for me or fill in words I can’t find. I need to work my brain.
30. If I can’t find an old file, make it a point to create a new one.
31. I may want you to think I understand more than I really do.
32. Focus on what I can do rather than bemoan what I cannot do.
33. Introduce me to my old life. Don’t assume because I cannot play like I used to play I won’t continue to enjoy music or an instrument, etc.
34. Remember that in the absence of some functions, I have gained other abilities.
35. Keep me familiar with my family, friends, and loving support. Build a collage wall of cards and photos that I can see. Label them so I can review them.
36. Call in the troops! Create a healing team for me. Send word out to everyone so they can send me love. Keep them abreast of my condition and ask them to do specific things to support me-like visualize me being able to swallow with ease or rocking my body up into a sitting position.
37. Love me for who I am today. Don’t hold me to being the person I was before. I have a different brain now.
38. Be protective of me but do not stand in the way of my progress.
39. Show me old video footage of me doing things to remind me about how I spoke, walked, and gestured.
40. Remember that my medications probably make me feel tired, as well as mask my ability to know what it feels like to be me.

3 clever remarks:

Rachel C. said...

Excellent post! Made me reflect on how I care for my mom. Many of those things on that list were very similar to our situation!

Brittney Josoff said...

Wow, what a great perspective and being written by someone who has gone through this experience, that is really phanominal! Hope all is going well, thanks for keeping us updated!

Sharon/mom said...

Oh Kristie, you probably think I just copy and paste, but you are so wonderful for doing this, and I am so happy you are doing pictures also. I appreciate the list, it is helpful. I talk so fast, I will have to be aware of that. I have been wondering about contact. I will send some pics to your house. I love you!!!