Getting Used To Working Again

As I told everyone in an earlier post, after volunteering for almost two years at the White Dove Thrift Shoppe, I have been hired to work part-time as a cashier.

Before my stroke, a 25 hr work week would have been no problem, and it isn’t now, except it does take some getting used to.  cashier

I find that being “on” for those working hours, requires me to need to be “off” for at least an hour after I get home.  That means quiet time to let my brain simmer down.  I also need to rest my right leg.  As cashier, it involves standing, plus I am also walking around the store, helping out as needed.  So my right leg is being “zapped” quite a bit from my Walk-aide and needs to have a rest.

All in all, I am having a blast knowing that I am bringing in a paycheck to help with the bills.  But the best part?  This “job” is a perfect fit for me.  I am working with people who already understand my disabilities.  They understand when I may need to just “take 5”.  They understand and have been vocal to let them know what they can do to make my job easier.  Best of all:  I have a ball working with these people!  The atmosphere is social, happy, upbeat and just plain fun!

It’s not ALL thorns. Roses DO APPEAR!

After yesterday’s “spasticity” battle, I realized that I forgot to share some exciting news:  I GOT A JOB!

If you’ve read one of my older posts, Volunteering helps me concentrate on helping others!, you’ll know that I have been volunteering at a thrift store run by a great non-profit here in Arizona called Hospice of the Valley.

Volunteering gave me the “boost” I needed to step out of my self-imposed cage.  Without the pressure of having a paying position, I was able to “test the waters” back out in the world.

The store opened in May of 2013, 14 months after my stroke.  At that time, I still had a lot of trouble concentrating, holding conversations, and understanding instructions.  Working more than 4 hours a day was exhausting.  But I steadily improved. And I LOVED working again.

Today, I am ECSTATIC to announce:  I HAVE BEEN HIRED as a permanent cashier for the store!   I will be working 25 hours a week.  And I will be once again: BRINGING HOME A PAYCHECK!  singlewoohoo

Volunteering enabled me to slowly integrate myself back into the business world without the fear of being fired or let go because of my disabilities.

I start my employment (vs volunteer) hours next week!  I am excited to be an actual employee again, bringing home a check to help with the bills.  It will feel great to know that in this small way, my husband will be able to relax a little knowing he’s not the sole provider.

If you take anything away from reading this post (other than my obvious joy), please let it be this:  If you are not ready to get back into the working world, please consider volunteering.  I had never volunteered before, and I tell people that volunteering, for me, was just as important, or maybe more so, than my weekly visits to my speech therapist, my PT and my OT.

I was able to get out there without the fear that if I was having a bad day and couldn’t go in, I wouldn’t be fired or let anyone down.  They understood and there was no pressure.  On days when I “wasn’t up to par”, but still went in, they gave me jobs that met my abilities for the day.  There was always “something” I could do.

I have a new job because I stepped outside my comfort zone and gave it a try!

I PASSED!!!!!!!

Yesterday was a BUSY day for me & my family.  Up early to vote.  Then on to my final (hopefully) driver’s training class.  The plan was that if I passed, we would then go to pick up my new to me, little white Rav4.  Well………………………..

I am thrilled to report that yesterday, November 4, 2014, I passed my driver’s adaptive driving course and received the okay to have my “new to me” little Rav4 equipped with hand controls so I CAN DRIVE AGAIN!!!!!

So the rest of the day was filled with family juggling picking up the Rav4 (no hand controls yet, so I couldn’t drive), getting it registered and plated.  Then we hit up the adaptive driving place where they install the controls.

Everything all done!  Now, I just have to wait until Friday the 14th of November to pick up my car for that final “Okay drive” with my instructor!

AHHHHHH FREEDOM!!!!!

 

Still No Word!

Last week I applied for a couple part-time jobs, and as of today, I haven’t heard anything.  It’s so frustrating, especially since, for me, they would be a piece of cake.

But, I have a feeling I may not have done so well on the computerized tests.  These tests were timed, I found out later.  And there is no doubt I probably took too long.  Why?  Because I remember at one point having my attention sidetracked by a painting in the testing room.  It was wonderful.  The type that has an entire town and a million things going on.  This is one of those “post stroke” things that never “got me” before.  I find I will “zone out” on things at random.  And, I have a feeling that I took way too long to complete their darned test.

The other job?  Who knows.  Maybe because it’s an industry that mostly hires teenagers?  Don’t know.

But I do know that my frustration level is high.  My perimeter’s are very specific:  1) Close enough to ride my scooter to, 2) Not too late in the evening, and 3) They have to be open to the fact that I may not be able to get into work during certain bad “monsoon” weather days.

 

So Much “Varying” Info On Post Stroke Exercise!

I’ve started going to the gym with my husband recently.  I workout out on the treadmill and recumbent bike.  The first day back, I tried the machines, which I used to love, but now I feel too “awkward” to use. I find I can’t lift my damned right foot/leg very gracefully so I can get on the machines properly.  I worry about tripping, or toppling over while trying to get on the darned thing.

So this morning, I decided to look on the web to find info on how best to start an exercise program after stroke, and independent of physical therapy.

Know what I found out?  It appears no one knows what the hell to tell anyone!!!  I’m reading statements that say, “It is impossible to devise a single exercise program”, or “only exercise to your level of competency!”.  And my favorite, “Only do what you are able!”

After reading many articles on getting back into exercising after a stroke, I’ve learned one very important thing:  The medical community has no idea what to tell us about how we should exercise, how much, how long, or just plain “how” to exercise.

So, I’m coming up with my own philosophy on getting back into exercising after your stroke:  If you’re nervous, have someone with you.  If it physically hurts, don’t do it. And above all, at least try it to see if you can do it……..You may surprise yourself!

exercise1 exercise2     exercise3

Mobility Scooter For Sale So I Can Buy a Recumbent for Therapy!

It may be weird to use my blog to post this, but I am in the process of trying to sell my mobility scooter so I can use that money to help me buy a recumbent trike for outdoor exercise/therapy.

The scooter is a Pride Victory 9 3-wheeled model and it comes with a custom ordered sun shade/canopy that easily attaches/detaches.  This scooter is in EXCELLENT CONDITION.  I am in the Phoenix, AZ area.  I am asking $650.00/OBO  for the scooter & the custom ordered sun canopy.

I have more photos if interested.  Anyone interested, please email me at: tiniree2@msn.com

scooter7 (2)

Hope Everyone Had A Wonderful Christmas!

My wonderful husband surprised me with a new voice recognition software program called Dragon. This entire post is being dictated using that new system. It enables me to use the computer even in low light. My keyboard does not have a back light, so it made it difficult at night to type without turning the light on full.

This system enables me to speak what I want to type, without having to turn the lights on fully.

Here’s hoping everyone’s Christmas was great. And I hope that the year 2014 brings everyone renewed health and happiness.

 

‘#@!%”, I Did It Again!!!

Because I have several numb areas on my right leg, sometimes I don’t realize the electrodes from my WalkAide need replacing.  Usually, I know because I start to have trouble finding the “sweet spot” when putting it on.

But, sometimes it’s because the electrodes are wearing out and start “sparking” which results in burns on my leg, which I can’t feel when it’s actually burning.

burnsSo for the next couple weeks, or week at least, I will be wearing my AFO, grrrrrr!

Disability Decorating

Since my stroke, I have started “collecting” canes to use.  I realized, that like purses, one should have a cane to go with different outfits (hear husband groaning in the background, lol).  The problem with having more than a couple of canes, is where to put them?

So, my hubby & I started looking around when we hit up our local estate sales & thrift stores.  We weren’t having much luck.  Most billed as “umbrella holders” were just not us.  Bright brass was out.  So was that 1970’s colonial looking wood stuff (yuck!). I knew without blinking an eye, that anything painted with a goose on it or a rooster was a no-go!   And we realized pretty quickly that with a house full of “guys” and three dogs, it would have to be not only sturdy, but not easily knocked over.

One day we hit up a consignment place called Ultimate Consignment.  This place had just opened up a few months before.  We had stopped by, but really hadn’t looked around much.  Well this time we did. And we scored!

We found an old milk/creamery container with lid, unpainted.  What is really cool, it that it had a tag on it that states it is property of the Dairy Queen Creamery and is to hold “only the protected recipe of Dairy Queen Cream”.  I have the tag ready to take to a Kinko’s so I can have them laminate the tag to preserve it than I will attach it back to the milk container.  This sucker weights a lot and will never get knocked over!  And I promise it will NEVER have a country “anything” painted on to it

My sturdy new cane holder!

My sturdy new cane holder!