The Journey Begins: Random Thoughts

I’ve had my first week at the center for rehab and it went well. Since that I’ve had several more weeks all of which have gone well. I like the rehab center: I ask and they attempt to grant my desires. Most of the time they just send me my weekly appointments, I show up and sit at the table in the lobby and a kind therapist shows up to take me to work.

I notice that I’m not walking with Myrtle like I should and I begin to focus on this. I feel more secure walking holding Jon’s hand but I know I need to walk alone. Maybe I’m feeling insecure but the therapist says I’m not limping. So why does it feel like I am? I’m walking slowly I know It might just take time. And as the weeks go on the feeling that I’m limping diminishes. My desire to use Myrtle returns.

One Fell Down

All seems to be moving along well and I’m feeling better UNITIL I fall down in the bathroom and almost pass out. OUCH. It was a nasty little fall and I tried to stop from tumbling over but I couldn’t control the fact that my legs went right out from under me and the toilet paper roll broke my fall. OK you can laugh because it is funny: the toilet paper broke my fall. I was lucky that I didn’t hit my head on the ground. The bump that would have caused….well another big house adventure didn’t happen thanks to the TP roll.

Oh have I mentioned that the term “big house” it is humor for hospital. Well if I haven’t it is. And if I mention it again someone remind me by whatever means possible.


I’m walking on the treadmill again and I feel like a “Gail on the wheel.” I’m not going fast but I’m walking 10 minutes per day now and will build on this time five minutes per week. The idea or so the PT says is to get my unfit self fit. I want my heart rate higher while moving and my resting rate at a nice quiet low healthy purr.

When I started this process in the gym I had to laugh because the numbers were horrid. I couldn’t help but laugh I was in pathetic shape. Five minutes on the treadmill was hard work. I was embarrassed. I am determined to become stronger. I’ll settle for endurance first and fitness as it comes.

I’m also building arm and leg strength. This is coming along slowly but I am hopeful that with time I’ll gain muscle strength and maybe even have some muscle in my arms. I want to work hard for myself. This is about me myself and I only.


I don’t really notice the changes on a daily basis yet but I am noticing that there are things that change week by week. I really want to do more each week. However the depression that sets in after a stroke is my one challenge to time. I don’t like it and I have to fight hard for what I have. Time is a trap that can discourage the soul. I’ve never felt quite like this. It means learning some new skills. I have hope most days.


Now I understand!! You know how you shouldn’t put a cat in the car unless they are in a case. It is because they freak out watching the real estate slide by: that is what travel is like after a stroke. Sensory overload is a real issue both in the home environment and out in the rest of the universe.

In September I spent part of my insurance money in the vision area on some great dark prescription glasses. At the time I just wanted them as a useful tool and back up. Now I’m glad I got them. Wearing them out in the universe stops the flood of information from entering my brain. The world becomes blessedly quiet.

Yesterday I rode the bus for the first time since my stroke and wore the glasses even though the darkened and rainy skies would not require them and my energy level was much better. I think that the use of the insurance funds was worth every Euro. And my glasses look great if I say so myself.


I’m feeling tired. I’ve been thinking most of the morning and I think I need to walk. I used to be able to do this for hours but not now. Variety is a must for me. I think I’ll visit the kitchen and find some work to do that doesn’t require me to think and type and focus on making sense.

Jon came down with the flu and I am the nurse. I wish I had more help because his being down isn’t fun. You never know how much you take things for granted until you don’t have them around. Good thing I’m learning to take it slowly. I just have to make it to dinner tonight. I think he can have soup.

This has been a bit of a ramble but that is where my head is. Happy holidays everyone. Better get the chores done.


About Gail Nicolaysen-Shurtleff

I am an American who is living in The Netherlands. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist with a license to practice in California. Music has been a huge part of my life. Singing is something you can find me doing at any time and anywhere. I have to admit that I try to not sing while out in public though. You can also find me in the kitchen cooking up wonderful things. cooking is something that I have just recently (in the last ten years) discovered that I'm talented at doing, and it is really fun. The best way to know me is to read my blog.
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