Diff'rent Strokes is your source for information about Todd Thelin and his stroke recovery. Please feel free to add comments about posts, add new information in the comments, e-mail new information for me to post, or ask questions that we can answer. Keep in mind that posts are moderated, so they will need to be approved before they show-up. This helps fight spam.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Yesterday was a great day. To catch you up, Todd is still working at Deseret Industries, and going to school at Salt Lake Community College, doing their media design certificate through the applied technology college portion of the school. It's been difficult for him at times, but he's done it completely on his own. He is doing his school work at home, with his teacher's permission, and has kept up with his work, and works at it every day. I'm really, really proud of his dedication and follow through.

He is still very much struggling with fatigue and his vision trouble. He has an appointment with Moran Eye Center in March to see if there is anything else he can do to improve his vision. He still has trouble looking down, and has gotten "lazy" about using his eyes because it is so difficult. He will just feel around for something that fell, for example. He also complains about his eyes going blurry, and when reading, that the words on the page don't stay still.

The fatigue has been addressed by his psychiatrist multiple times, and we have tried everything from getting more sleep, to not using his CPAP consistently, to just pushing through, to homeopathic medicine and herbal supplements, to drinking caffeine, to taking high-dose caffeine tablets, to the latest: Amphetamines. They started him on a low dose, a pediatric dose, actually, which did nothing at all. Then they upped it to the maximum dose (which wasn't that much higher than the pediatric dose, scarily.) It is a medication that is similar to Ritalin. The dr. got the idea when Todd was talking about medications he's been on in the past, and had tried Ritalin for what we thought was ADHD, and his reaction to it (WIRED.)

He's been on the high dose for a few days now. To be honest, I was half hoping it wouldn't do anything, not because I don't want him to feel right, but because dude, it's amphetamines! It's real drugs! Serious stuff. With serious potential side effects. It made him jittery, but initially said it didn't seem to be doing anything for his fatigue. Until...


Fridays are our Saturdays, since Todd has the day off. It was really nice weather, so Todd decided to spend some time out in the yard, doing some work that has been on his mind, including poop-scooping, and raking up leaves that fell through the winter. Oliver wanted to go outside too, so we spent the afternoon as a family out in the yard. Todd and I worked on tidying up, while Oliver ran around and played with the dogs and found pine cones.

Oliver got tired, and hungry, so he and I came in. Todd kept working, and moved on to demolition of some old fencing that was left by the previous owners. He got out the power tools and everything. I kept reminding him not to over do it, and wear himself out, but he said he felt fine.

When he started to lose his light, he came inside and started working in the garage. We still have tons of stuff out there that never got moved in when we moved here, and he's had the goal, since he came home from the hospital to be able to park both cars in the garage (we are borrowing one from Todd's Grandma Drexl, since Todd is unable to drive his scooter anymore.) He made some major headway yesterday.

When we were getting ready for bed, I told him how proud I was of him for all he accomplished that day. He was proud too, and said that he went back out into the garage a couple times just to look at his work. It's funny; I do that too. And then he said words I've been wanting to hear for almost 2 years:

"Today I felt normal."

I about started crying right there. It's been so hard to have him so tired ALL THE TIME, not in the least because I see how hard it is on him. We have had some really great discussions lately about the "reason" for this trial. He's coming to see that his stroke was not punishment for something, and that we have received a lot of blessings in this trial. He's starting to see the positive things that have come from this experience, and the things he, and we as a couple and a family, have learned. I've maintained from the beginning that this experience is necessary to teach something that either he or we couldn't have learned any other way. I'm not one to put words in God's mouth, but something hit me last night with the force of personal revelation. I had the thought that considering his high blood pressure, stress load, and family history, that a heart attack was almost inevitable. And perhaps he wouldn't have lived to tell the tale, like he did with a stroke. Perhaps the experience we are looking at as a trial was actually protection. And perhaps the residual effects he is experiencing now, especially the visual trouble, which I believe will never be fully resolved, are there to serve as a reminder of the things he's learned. To slow down. To be more patient and understanding. To pick his battles. To enjoy the present. To have and show gratitude.

I can honestly say that I am grateful for the things I've learned from this experience, and if this is what I had to experience to learn these things, then so be it. I wouldn't have chosen this, but there is so much in my life to be grateful for. I have a family who I adore. I have a warm roof over my head, food to eat, cars to get us where we need to go. I have an amazing husband who adores me. I have a sweet, amazing son, who brightens my day and keeps me on my toes, and teaches me so much, and gives meaning to my life.

In the words of one of my (current) favorite singers, Paolo Nutin:
I got a sheet for my bed,
And a pillow for my head
I got a pencil full of lead,
And some water for my throat
I've got buttons for my coat; and sails on my boat
So much more than I needed before

Truly we are blessed beyond measure.