Well, it’s not easy. Especially „firsts” after stroke are difficult. Now I’m in pretty good shape, but i remember last year’s Easter. Wow, that was tough. Then and during my first Christmas I collected a bunch of advices for survivors (also based on this brilliant article). My friends added theirs and we did a pretty short and – I think – useful guide.
- Be sure that your host is aware that you can get tired easily and go rest (go home) early. If it’s you and your closest family, they will understand everything. If you are visiting distant relatives it will save you from the awkward moment of stopping you from going away and this sad sentence „please, stay with us for a bit longer”.
- Make sure that every place you go has a quiet (or at least more peaceful part) to take rest when you feel tired or overwhelmed. Luckily I spent my celebrations at home with parents and grandparents. When I go to shopping centre with them, I know where I can take rest (for example which coffe place is more quiet
- If possible avoid shopping centres! These are everything that survivor hates. Noise, bright lights, crowds, rush… Especially before big celebratiobs these places are too hectic. Maybe shopping can be done earlier, or online:)
- Think what you can do yourself and what you definitely can’t. Let’s be honest, cleaning windows is not a perfect thing for most survivors, but maybe making eggs is just right. Don’t do too much. And if you can’t participate in preparations don’t feel guilty. You didn’t choose being unable to do usual things.
- If you have to do shopping yourself, identify threats and prevent damage. Sunglases and ear plugs can be life-saving things when you are more sensitive for noise and light.
- Don’t go to places by yourself. Family member or a friend can be your support when you need assistance. And survivors need it quite frequently. Remember it.
- It’s your right to say „no” or „no, thank you”. You don’t have to go everywhere and make everybody happy. YOu don’t have to attend every meeting that you are invited. During preparations I tell my mom, that I don’t have power anymore.
- Make lists. „To do list” and „to buy list” are useful not only in life of a stroke survivor. But as a strokie I appreciate them more.
- Ask for help:) whenever you need it .
- Don’t forget about your excersises. I’m sure that on easter day it’s not possible to go with your routine, but „minimum” can be done and try to do it. You will not regret.
- Don’t let traditon win with your comfort. Mass at midnight on Christmas is important and a party on New Year’s Eve also. But believe me, at the moment your health is the most important thing in your life.
- Enjoy. Celebrations are for people to enjoy the families and time spent together.
For me first Christmas, first Easter, first (and second) birthday, first New Year’s Eve after leaving hospitals were very frustrating. Everything was different, even if familiar, still different. I had to give up my traditions and felt really tired. But I tried not to be beaten by the stroke and I succeeded. The thing is to enjoy. My cuckooflower is very nice this year and it makes me smile.