Had a Stroke? Talk to me!

Jp Enlarged

Those of you who have followed this blog since 2005 and my work for Drug Topics since 1989 (now  240 columns) know that my essential way of being is optimistic.  I do not see the doomsday scenario that so many of you cannot see beyond. 

My stroke has affected me in ways that I feel ill-equipped to handle.  I am bummed out and there is no blooming reason.  I walk okay, but use a cane to let me know when the way is about to get rocky.  I have discovered that the Occupational therapist was right.  I need help doing certain tasks and that includes walking on the uneven shell path.  When I fell last summer and broke a couple bones in my left hand, it was on the shell path.  I tripped on an exposed root.  Had I been using the cane, there would have been warning.

Physical therapy is really tough  My left hand is darn near useless.  An hour of working the fingers leaves me enervated.  Like an hour with no help at 7:00 PM on FRIDAY.

Still,  I am limited and that is unnatural for me.  I talk okay, but slur a bit when I am tired.  And… I am tired a lot.  People have suggested  Relax, Plagakis.  What do you expect?

My aorta is good.  The lesion on my thyroid is not cancer.

If you have advice, lay it on me.



  1. Whistleblower  •  Feb 3, 2014 @7:38 pm

    First Jim, this is just one of life’s little detours….the cane thing you’ll get over. Having been diagnosed with MS 25 years ago I’ve learned to accept the little changes that came my way. First the cane…trade it in for one of those really cool walking sticks…you know the kind street pumps use…it’s no big deal. I made the transition to a walker after CVS forced me into inappropriate seating…I’m sure that you’ve seen the pictures…it just made me feel more secure as my legs swelled double their size by the end of my shift. I know it’s hard and PT is a bitch, but necessary. Today I’m pretty much in a chair, but again it’s top of the line and even now I don’t accept that this will be forever. These last 30 months have tought me many things and I believe
    I’m now serving the profession in a much more powerful way. Your words have spurred actions that we should have taken years ago…Some will view you as the second coming of Christ and others will say you are the anti Christ. As long you and others such as Ariens and Hussar continue to verbalized the truth, the truth will prevail. Continue to focus on what you can do and not on the things you temporally lost. We need you Jim and thank you for igniting the fire!!! Wish you a speedy and full recovery.

    Joe Zorek

  2. JenRPh  •  Feb 5, 2014 @11:45 am

    Had a stroke at age 26. Give it time…it takes a while for your brain to recover and learn new ways to do things. I was “fully” recovered within a year but still feel like I slur some words when I talk. My balance is also still really bad.

  3. blargh  •  Feb 5, 2014 @2:51 pm

    I am friends with someone who is deaf and had a stroke. He lost use of one side of his body and as time wore on he regained use of that side. However, it was still tough for him to walk and most importantly it was difficult for him to sign and that was how he communicated. ASL was his first language, English is extremely difficult for him to communicate in so writing notes with his better hand wasn’t really useful for him, and he couldn’t speak clearly before the stroke (unless you’re familiar with Deaf accent and could figure it out) so after the stroke it was just that much harder.

    Like others have said, he had to give it time, patience and a ton of effort to regain his skills to a level that he was ok with, where people both hearing and dhh (deaf, Deaf, Hard of hearing) who sign could understand him. He also had to learn to walk easily again. Getting a fancy can he liked helped as well, there are tons of canes for sale online with different woods, patterns dyed into the wood or carved in, so many you can’t imagine. You can get different handles (like palm handles or derby handles instead of just a curved one), you can get different bases (like one that is wider with three contacts to the ground instead of one, you can get ones that bend if you find those easier to use. Having a can you really like can make it nicer to start your day out. As someone who has RA and sometimes needs to use a can, using a cane I actively find attractive makes it easier to go out. Some of them are cheap enough that I can get several of them to match my mood or my outfits. I can use a wild colored or patterned one on a casual day and use a somber one when I have to dress for a serious occasion.

  4. Cathy Lane RPh  •  Feb 5, 2014 @9:33 pm

    What I heard, Jim, was to keep your brain active and get your sleep to allow the recuperation from neurorenerative repair on the night shift. What I know is, intensive physical therapy helps retain tone and improve function. Who cares if you’re not planning to win first place at the jitterbug contest anytime soon? The slurring is the nod that it’s time to relax and allow healing effects in a different venue.

  5. prickly pharmacist  •  Feb 7, 2014 @1:22 pm

    Sorry you are so bummed out. I do crossword and sudoku or soduko (never can remember which) to keep my mind busy. I check everyday to see if you have written anything new. I am sure there are others out there that do the same. Blog, blog blog. Start a blog on stroke recovery. You have helped so many people with their pharmacy issues and now you have been given the opportunity to help and inspire a whole lot more. I love you JP and think of you often. HANG IN THERE.

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