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Everyone, meet Agnes!
I’ve always loved this picture. It seemed very appropriate for Agnes, so thus she is.
“Agnes getting her splits on at a public transport sign while waiting for the bus. I aspire to be this flexible again now and when I’m old. Maybe someday, I can do the splits on a street sign when I’m 77. ”
In my pre-stroke life, I was an avid (some might say obsessed) yoga practitioner. On good days, I still practice, but not nearly as intense or advanced. Like far too many other things now, I just can’t be bothered…or plan to do it tomorrow….
For those of you who don’t know, Agnes is my alter-ego to whom I refer quite often. On May 5, 2012, I suffered a stroke in my brain stem and cerebellum, was put in a medically-induced coma for 10 days and was in the hospital for a total of 5 weeks. Somehow during this time, as I quickly discovered in the early days of recovery, an old woman came and inhabited my body. And as an old lady, Agnes felt like the right name. So when I walk slowly, forget things, mix up words, get lost, arrive late, endlessly ramble, sleep too much, burst into tears over nothing, get annoyed at loud music and screaming children and much more, I blame Agnes. And sadly, she’s a lousy housekeeper and cook, something I previously was not! (I get the feeling she was well off and didn’t have to worry about things like that…her late husband ‘Frank’ has yet to come find her and give me his inheritance, bastard!)
It occurred to me yesterday that maybe Agnes has some wise lessons to teach (me and perhaps others); that maybe she’s here for another reason than to just annoy the hell out of me. Much of today’s therapy focuses on talking to your ‘inner child’ as a means of healing. But what about our present-day adult self who has a thing or two to learn from our ‘inner old person’? I’m not the only stroke survivor with an inner old person. I’m part of a young stroke survivors support group (Different Strokes) and it’s strangely quite common. A new friend who had a very similar stroke to mine has ‘Vern,’ who I’ve asked to do a couple guest blogs on down the road.
Agnes is kooky and quirky, but she has some fun sides when she’s not complaining about loud noises or bright lights. When I was home in the states over the holidays, a dear friend encouraged me to “Embrace Agnes!” (Thanks, Ashley!) So that is exactly what I’m doing. Stay tuned as I share some interesting life lessons in this oh-so-unexpected stroke recovery journey. My objective is to regain my previous cognitive abilities, while at the same time, retain the positive lessons Agnes is here to teach. And hopefully by ‘giving Agnes a voice,’ I can in turn ‘let her out’ and get more of ‘me’ back.
Also, I have an 8,000 page dissertation to write to finish my MSc. Being a consistent writer never used to be a problem. But now, INconsistency (thankfully not incontinence, which you’d expect from an old woman living inside me) in everything is now something in which I excel. Hopefully by writing a blog about my recovery, I can heal more and get into a writing mode more and have Agnes to thank for it.
~Hailey (and Agnes)