How am I getting better?
January 7, 2013 4:46 PM Subscribe
I had a stroke the beginning of November. It was a ischemic stroke in my Pons, part of my brainstem, and afterwards I had poor control over the left side of my body. I know what happened, and why; I don't need that explained. What I don't understand is how I have improved so much.
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The way I heard of it, some of my nerves died because of blockage of blood flow. Nerves don't regrow; they're gone forever. They were involved in controlling the left side of my body, and a few days after the stroke I couldn't walk, I couldn't lift my left hand above my head, I couldn't open my fingers all the way, and I couldn't move my left ring finger at all. All other motions were severely restricted (e.g. my grip was very weak). All of that I completely understand: the neural control over the muscles was gone because the circuit was broken.
I spent three nights in the hospital, and then 18 days in a rehab facility getting about 3 hours of rehab work per day. And it seemed like every morning when I woke up I had more and more back. I'm not 100%, and I never will be. But I can fully control my left hand, so I can type again. I can walk a mile with a cane, and walk fairly well even without it. I have long hair, and one happy day I realized I was able to tie my hair back for myself without help. My left grip now is nearly as strong as my right grip.
My recovery was, from my point of view, quite miraculous. What I don't understand is what was happening inside of me to re-enable all of the control and strength. If the nerves that used to do all of that have died, then what is doing it now? How did the circuits get reestablished?