Sunday, May 18, 2014

Strokes, Mountain Dew and Beef Stew

Early this morning I drove to the grocery store to get Downy. At the store, I bought bacon,  stew meat, eggs, bacon and English muffins. 

This morning, I'll be making breakfast and preparing beef stew for dinner.

On the way to the grocery store, I drove to to get my Mountain Dew, which is my last vice since the strokes. Returning from the store, I drove to Dutch Brothers coffee to surprise my wife with a skinny mocha.

Basically, it seems like a typical Sunday morning. 

The severity of my strokes two and a half years ago makes this typical Sunday morning a miracle.

This typical Sunday morning belies the fact that when my strokes happened, most people -- including my doctors and therapists -- believed I would never have that typical Sunday morning again. 

Consider this morning:

I got dressed. Alone.

I made sure that I had my wallet, my car keys, and my phone.

I drove to Jackson's, Fred Meyer and Dutch brothers.

I conversed with several clerks at the stores. We joked and laughed and they have no idea that I couldn't talk two years ago.

On the fly at the store, I decided to make beef stew for dinner and for breakfast, I will make a quasi Eggs Benedict dish. 

Wandering about the store, I was thinking about the ingredients I need and will use for my recipes.

The goal for the morning is to get Downy fabric softener to finish our laundry. I checked the Downy fragrances, and I made sure the that I chose was on sale. The stew meat was also on sale.

When I checked out, I did self check out and processed my debit card. 

This 45 minute process from garage to store and home again seems so simple. This trip was liberating for me but it was not simple.

The process of going to stores is not simple when you have strokes. Everything I have to do is deliberate and carefully thought out.

When you see my brain scan realized that 20% of my brain is dead, driving to the store alone, ordering coffee and a Mountain Dew, and planning a complicated meal almost makes me emotional because I'm so happy.

However, what is not normal now, I did not buy a newspaper which was my normal Sunday morning ritual. When you cannot read very well because of my strokes, you realize that physically, people think I am "just fine." I am not. Yet....

I still have a long way to go, but I relish a typical Sunday morning that most people take for granted. When you have a stroke, nothing is "typical."

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