Two strokes. One on the left. Did more damage. One on the right. Just effected my right hand. Some spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine), neuropathy in the left leg, and a few other things like Crohn’s (under control) and a tremor in both hands.
I’m on Medicaid. And that means I can and do have a health aide woman, Marie, that comes by 4 times a week for 4 hours a day. I have two sisters that are around to help.
Marie can cook for me. Do light housekeeping. And most importantly do tasks that have to do with getting up and down the two long flights of stairs to my flat.
My left side (from the first stroke) is the weakest. When we’re walking, I hang on her right arm and have the cane in my right hand.
Going down the stairs, I go one step at a time on my left leg. Cane in right hand. Going up the stairs, it’s the opposite. Banister in right hand; step with right leg (stronger leg) and cane in left hand.
Health aide is behind me holding my belt. On the first flight I can make it without Marie pulling me up by the belt.
On the second flight, about halfway up I need her help. 1,2,3 lift. For each step. 1,2,3 lift. I tried once to do it on my own and ended up sitting on the top step unable to get up. My neighbor happened to come by and he couldn’t lift me either.
It’s something about strokes that people don’t understand. It’s not that the muscles have atrophied, although that can happen, but the part of the brain that sends the electrical signal is zapped out. Once I do get to my feet, I can walk around.
So my neighbor calls EMS. And in ab0ut two minutes there are a bunch of firemen coming up the stairs. Maybe ten. I said, don’t tell me there’s a fire too!
No, we’re looking for Beckerman. And then then the EMS came in. So there were about ten men standing behind me, asking if I was okay. I thanked the firemen and told them I just needed the EMS guys to get me standing up.
They easily got me to a standing position, it’s strength and knowing how to do the lift. They wanted to know if I wanted to go to the hospital. No. I’m not hurt. I didn’t exactly fall. I was holding the banister and went down slowly.
Honestly, it’s more embarrassing then anything else. I know, I know. It shouldn’t be, but it isn’t easy to be completely helpless. Well, I decided at that point no stairs for me without Marie, or someone.
What did I go out for in the first place? I wanted to get to an ATM machine so I’d have cash for Marie to do grocery shopping the next day. I think I also wanted to get out of the house on my own.