Friday, April 19, 2013

Strokes and cooking

A stroke is instant.
You are fine and then you have a stroke.


A life changed forever.

Every person that has a stroke has their own issues. Some stroke survivors don't have too much to do to recover. Some, like me, it takes years to recover.

"Recovery." A simple word filled with hope and heartbreak. Stroke survivors say two words often: "Before" and "after."

Before my hobbies including included reading and cooking. After my stroke I could not read and I certainly could not cook. I thought I would never cook again.

When I got out of the hospital and I was home, My home seems so foreign in some respects.

I was grateful to be home, but I was so scared about everyday objects and chores. That first day at home, my wife and my brothers led me around our house.

I wanted to go upstairs but that was a problem. Because of my vision my depth perception was off. Even now 15 months later I need to use a handrail.

Heather asked if I could use a stove. "No," I said. The concept of temperature was foreign also. I could not understand about ovens, outlets and plug-ins. How could I even cook a simple meal at that point. Knives were a mystery to me. Even now I have to check knives: what side is up?

A revelation was the grocery store. At the hospital, there is a "store" to help with rehab. In the hospital I was so confused. What was an "apple?" What was in "orange?" An orange was a "color" and a "fruit?" A diabolical plot!

So, for a real grocery store was therapy for me. Heather and I would go shopping. She would list some items for me to pick out. 

Heather would say "Where is the milk. Look on the bottom shelf. Where is the bread? Now go to the next aisle." 

In the ensuing months, I figured out how to cook again. In the beginning I cooked "ready to eat meals" like frozen chicken pot pies. Then I progressed to baking french fries in the oven.

Next I tried to follow recipes and I did that well. I knew about temperatures, baking times, etc.

My goal was to make my great grandmothers pot roast recipe that I found in a church cookbook. 

Finally in about October I did the whole meal. Pot roast, mushrooms, carrots, onions, gravy, and potatoes.

I am back!

Now I hope that my reading will be as great as my cooking!

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