Archives for the Month of April, 2011

Stare

Stare / Wellcome Images

Stare / Wellcome Images

Sometimes I can tell someone has noticed my disability and is staring. They look at my hand for a long time, comprehending abnormality. The next thing a starer does is look up at my face. I’m ready. I look straight back at them, holding their gaze. Then the starer gets all uncomfortable and looks away.

Disabled party tricks.

Youth

Babies / Wellcome Images

Babies / Wellcome Images

“You are so young!” people say when they find out about my stroke. Miss Manners does not have a good answer to them. “Yes?” “Thank you?” “You are so old?”

But young people’s strokes are increasing:

Strokes are rising dramatically among young and middle-aged Americans while dropping in older people….

Apparently I have lots of young stroke buddies. Put your canes in the air!

Faces

Facial expressions / Wellcome Images

Facial expressions / Wellcome Images

After my stroke my face was a little weaker on one side. I was given pages of pictures, facial expressions to copy. Grimace! Grin! Frown! Pucker! Blow up you cheeks! Look surprised! Worried!

You are supposed to do these exercises a million times, so your facial muscles will strengthen and your brain will rewire itself, re-learning how to use your muscles. This is called plasticity, the brain’s ability to create new pathways when the old ones have been damaged.

Smile like a maniac! Kiss!

Wedding

Wedding / Library of Congress

Wedding / Library of Congress


At a wedding reception, I danced around. When I stopped, another guest said “I didn’t think you would dance.” “What?” I said, confused. It was only later that I realized that she thought disabled people don’t dance.