Updated: Dec 26, 2019
The ONE Year, that I wanted to pass as fast as it can …
Dec 23rd, 2018 was when I got hospitalized to have the thrombus removed, which led to Stroke & the impairments and I wanted the year after that to pass as fast as it can for only one reason. The neurologist had told me on the first day of the rehab that after 12 months, the probability of me getting another stroke is the same as any other human on the road. That meant that I could compare myself with you, the reader, with this probability. It's been more than a year now since I had my stroke. And hurrah, this milestone has been achieved.
I am always GRATEFUL to all those friends who were by my side in the first weeks and those who wanted to be there. Those who took upon themselves to ping me or call me or meet me regularly to check on me. The doctors, the therapists, the researchers, my family and extended who have always pepped me up and finally my wife, I could not have gone through this year without her help.
What I learnt this year?
Sometimes, life gives you a forced reboot, and I don’t want this “forced” to happen to anyone, but, I am so grateful to the almighty that the severity was minimal.
I learned a lot about myself and other humans as well;
What fascinates me is silence or how people behave when / what you are not talking; they assume what you are about to say and fill in their own meaning. How Indians are so impatient to give their opinion or to share their experience (whether it is relevant or not) is another thing that fascinates me. They will not allow you to finish because you are speech is slower than them or because you aren’t able to debate or argue at the rate of speech, they can. The silence becomes another meaning in their world and best; if you keep quiet, they think you have accepted whatever they say. What I understood is, there is plenty of bullshit flying around, or there are plenty of bullshitters who want a chance to BS. So I learnt to be quiet as much as I can be (and choose selective listening), whereas talking improves my speech, and that’s therapeutic.
People understand or comprehend things/events according to their limited aptitude only (the variance of aptitude can be scaled from blind belief to stupidity to black & white, and all there is in between). Still, they are blind to their aptitude level. They won’t ACCEPT this or their past (deeds/people/events) and what they can’t control (90% of life). Being in the stands watching this tamasha is so much fun, but it is also frustrating seeing even your loved ones and close friends go through this madness of wanting what they can’t achieve and not accepting their current life.
ACCEPTING leads forgiveness of the SELF and others/events, which leads to peace within and outside. If a national event happens, there is an emotional outpour on the event, and the solutions that come out are only from the emotions and will make the event happen again because we have not ACCEPTED that the event has occurred and will occur in the future. If we are in that space of acceptance, the questions we ask will be different, and the solutions we derive will be able to eradicate in the event in the long run. I learnt “ACCEPTING” in 2008 while in Landmark Education, training to be coach, which got emphasized in so many ways this year. Starting from “day 2” after the operation where I accepted my Stroke and impairments that came along with it, that I could be myself, “strong & perseverant as ever” and bounce back. A lot of people will sulk at the question – “Why did it happen to me? Or Why does it happen to me only?”.
Some people were empathic and some sympathetic, to listen to me but that was just that, making it more valid that majority of the people do what they think is the best or their actions/words are; all an eyewash. Be it that you are a Mentor, Advisor, Coach or a Consultant or anything else, the majority of the people want to listen to what they want to hear or will say things to you, that what you say is what they want to hear. Even if you clearly articulate through your own experience or other examples that they will fail in what they are doing unless the course is changed, they will do want they want.
There seems hardly any earnestness and honesty left in human interactions, and maybe we are ok to be only with our gadgets and fake it on social media. I always have had an intuition to read people in the first 2 or 3 interactions itself, and then I would choose to interact (to what extent) or not with those who are not honest by heart or in integrity, and this choice-making was duly enhanced this year.
There is a lot to write about human behaviour and my experience with people which will be one of the focus areas in 2020.
As I have been saying to a lot of people, am getting better by week. The speech is improving, and so is my arm. If hopefully, everything goes to plan, I would be a research candidate with Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) for a scientific study on visual exploration training for my right eye which is facing some issues as an outcome of the Stroke. The eye as it is is healthy, but the neuro paths have got disturbed that the vision is not perfect. I will keep you up to date with this, once it happens.
The doctors are still to find the root cause for the thrombus, and the good news is, the artery which was blocked has cleared 100%. The last thing that they wanted me to do is to implant an “Event Recorder” on top my heart to monitor the rhythm of the heart or atrial fibrillation (AFib) because the doctors want to negate the heart as the cause too. This was the reason I didn’t get time to write earlier, because the procedure was on Nov 15th. The procedure took only 30 minutes on local anaesthesia, and I could feel the doctor pushing the recorder into my tissues. After pre-testing days, one night in the hospital to monitor and 2/3 weeks of passive activity, all is well. The first appointment with the cardio to look at the reading is in late January.
The things I have learnt / learning about medicine is massive. From the research for Stroke and heart-related issues to conventional and alternative medicines/techniques. What is working for me or not, what’s the reason it is working or not, the dietary changes I have made or making, the exercise routine and how it affects the physiology and medical parameters, etc. It all points to one thing, Awareness. Awareness of self, discipline to the processes you define for yourself and dedication to your dietary needs are the steps to a successful health.
What I missed this year?
Speech: Even though I have entirely accepted my speech impairment, I miss the speed I used to talk. The endeavour is to get it back, but only time will tell whether I can get it back or not though I will continue my speech therapy and exercises associated with it.
Endurance: It is coming back for sure, but there are days that I had to rest a lot because I felt tired a lot. Be it meetings for hours together or speaking for hours or workout hours in the gym or even a quaint walk in the park. That is not me, but I know I will get it back within the next six months.
Smoking: I don’t miss it all. It’s been over a year that I bought a cigarette. I despise the smell of somebody smoking next to me and still can’t believe it that I shift tables when someone is smoking on a table next to me (Now I feel for my wife). The only time I had a crazy craving for a puff was in this year’s Oktoberfest where I borrowed one cigarette from some stranger (this is normal at Oktoberfest), and two drags after, I hated it. The best outcome of the Stroke as of now (there may be other great outcome in the future and not that I would go back to smoking) is me giving up smoking, cold. I would encourage everyone who smokes to give up immediately.
I promise to write more frequently on my Stroke and Recovery for sure and a host of other topics like Mentoring, Advising, Coaching, Consulting and my favourite rants.
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Till then, I wish you a Very Happy and Healthy DECADE.