Car Race

Superspeedway / Library of Congress

Superspeedway / Library of Congress

My husband says that his diaper changing ability equals that of a pit stop in a car race. New wheels! New fuel! New diaper!

I, with only one good hand, am slower but getting faster.

The baby enjoys screaming through the pit stop. Clean diaper quiets him down.

Vroom!

Baby

Baby / Library of Congress

Baby / Library of Congress

Labor sucks. The result is great. Father and Mother and Baby did well. A healthy boy!

Class

Breastfeeding / Wellcoming Images

Breastfeeding / Wellcoming Images

Before the baby, my husband and I took a class at the hospital on birth and labor. Sounded awful. We took another class on breastfeeding. More positive. These classes showed us how completely clueless we were.

Similar stories?

Five

Five in Frame / Wellcome Images

Five in Frame / Wellcome Images

In elementary school, our teacher taught us to write the number 5 by saying, “Draw a skinny lady. Add a big tummy. Give her a hat. Now you have the number 5.”

Pregnant, I looked like the number 5.

Dusting

Snow in Boston / Library of Congress

Snow in Boston / Library of Congress

I am unpleased by the snow we have had in Boston this week. We bought a shovel and some rock salt and unburied ourselves.

Time to think about warmer climates.

More snow stories…

Doll

Doll / Wellcome Images

Doll / Wellcome Images

At my rehab hospital, therapists congratulated me on my pregnancy and immediately started getting me physically ready to carry a squirmy kid around.

They had me buy a life sized baby doll, which they promptly sliced open and filled with gym weights, so that my weak stroke side would get stronger. They put me on treadmills with the heavy doll. I became in better shape than I was before my pregnancy.

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News

Pregnant / Wellcome Images

Pregnant / Wellcome Images

Baby! My husband and I are very excited.

I assumed that because of my stroke history, pregnancy would be horrendous. But no. It has been fine.

The stroke/pregnant crowd is rather small.

Telephone

Telephone / Library of Congress

Telephone / Library of Congress

After my stroke, I was having trouble remembering ten-digit phone numbers  in my head, in the correct order. I came up with a solution: interrupting sweetly.

Mr. Normal is on the phone. He says, “….my number is 1234567890.”

I cut in before he can finish. Friendly, I deliberately start the number over.

“123,” I say.

Mr. Normal, “….456… pause…

“456,” I repeat, pleasantly.

Mr. Normal: “….7890.”

Parrot: “7890.”

“That’s right,” says Mr. Normal genially.

Works like a charm. Any other tricks?

Etiquette

Bow / Wellcome Images

Bow / Wellcome Images

Outside the rehab hospital, if I bump into another stroke patient I know, I say hello. Naturally. Trickier etiquette is how to comport yourself when you see a stroke stranger. I have an urge to run up to them: “I’m with you!” “I know your pain!” “Keep fighting!” which I squelch.

I once sat across from a stroke stranger on the Boston T (subway). He was older, had a cane as well as the hand that didn’t work. I could tell that he had noticed me. Suddenly, at the top of his lungs he yelled, “She has the same problem that I have!”

Passengers in the car turned to look at him, and then at me, curiously. Oh dear. I made a beatific smiled, but remained silent.

More unlucky than I.

Similar stories?

Sweets

Sweets / Library of Congress

Sweets / Library of Congress

After my stroke, my manners were slightly off. I was told to ask my friends what was different about me.

At an ice cream store with a friend, they were about to close and were giving away pastries. I went up to the counter and took one. When the clerk tried to engage me in small talk, I just walked away.

“See?” said my friend afterward. “You should have thanked him. And chatted a little. He was giving you a free pastry.”

Oh. Right.

Do you have etiquette stories?