Digesta Plaga #2 – The Wide World of Strokes

Blogging is, by its nature, a solipsistic exercise.

[solip·sistic adj. Describing an endeavour in which one uses words like “solipsistic”.]

However, you can’t go about examining the nature of life, death and god in every post, so it is good to look outside from time to time. That is to say, it’s time for another digest post, and to look at the Wide World of Strokes.

Wide World of Strokes logo
Billy, your spelling’s awful. And you’re fired.

We were watching Community the other day, very much against my better judgment.  Not so long ago, it was a show that appealed directly and deliberately to people with a love of television and popular culture. Jokes and, indeed, the spirit of a show, were built with a view to rewarding regular and attentive viewers.

Then, last year, show creator and self-described asshole, Dan Harmon, ceased to be involved with the show, after a series of run-ins with NBC execs and Chevy Chase, whose very employment on the show seemed to be part of some meta in-joke. Various other writers, directors and executive producers were also run out. An article I read in the New York Times in the run-up to the new season declared that there was no need to pay any attention to the new Community, because you can “[s]end a few e-mails, look at the television, order a pizza, look back at the TV. You won’t miss anything important, because there’s nothing important to miss.”

Well, not so fast, fans of stroke-based humour….

Abed, Troy and Pierce in Community
What if I did a gibberish foreign language like in Star Wars? You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Dick.

[Scene: Abed, Annie, Troy and Pierce are stuck in the garage, hiding from Shirley’s awful Thanksgiving.

Pierce: I could pretend to have a stroke. Do a gibberish foreign language. What if I did a gibberish foreign language like Stars Wars? You’d like that, wouldn’t you…? Dick.]

Pierce does suffer a brain injury later in the episode, but it’s all very tasteful. He gets it while pretending to suffer a broken hip. And it’s off screen.

Aside: In the third episode of this new season of Community, “Conventions of Space and Time”, the study group attends InSpecTiCon, a convention for fans of Whovian show-within-the-show, Inspector Spacetime (see blog posts passim). Beth and I were at the local copy shop the other day, when The Guy noticed and mentioned our dinosaur passport holders. I immediately thought to make some crack about how our passports allowed us to travel in time, as well as space. Then, I self-edited. “God, man. Can you not just leave it for five minutes…?” I thought. Then, sure enough, The Guy made a Whovian passport joke himself. I was glad to have left the [time and] space. On a related note…

River Song says, "Spoilers, sweetie."
What she said.
“What’s that high-pitched squee-ing noise?”
“Oh, Stroke Bloke heard about the read-through for the anniversary special.”

Meanwhile, in a galaxy far away, on March 28, the following article was published in Dear Prudence’s column: Emergency Exit.  Long story short: 40-year old single father meets wonderful woman. They’re soul mates. After six months they buy a house, merge families, he proposes. After 15 months, she has a major stroke, loses power of speech and all function on one side of her body, and is disabled. “She will likely never return to work. She can now walk some and has regained some speech, but it is limited. Her arm still has no function.”  How long should he stay? He’s thinking “at least a year, which is how long I knew her before her stroke, to assist her in regaining as normal a life as possible.” Prudie makes some pertinent points in her reply, She does well to recognize that three months is a little early to know how recovery is going to pan out, and to identify the importance of intense rehab work. Sad story, regardless.

Anyway, do any of you apoplectics have any thoughts? Feel free to express yourselves, er, freely. Like Prudie’s sister, who apparently had a stroke when she was 30, I would have no condemnation for someone who couldn’t bring themselves to share the stroke experience, and recognize that, for example, that”being together for a little over a year [is] pretty light for something this heavy, and… it’s particularly hard for a young person.” Also, a lot depends on both the extent of the injury and the nature of the afflicted partner. Beth was clearly a huge help to my recovery, and kept me upbeat and motivated, and at the same time, I knew that I had to keep a good outlook and rehab myself better in order to help her through my recovery, too. It’s lovely to know that, just as the highlight of my day was seeing her walk into the ward, it lifted her day to see the size of my smile and hear me happily call out “Hi, Sweetie!” upon her entrance.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that a caregiver gets an out when a stroke patient, after surviving their initial TBI, passes on, is no more, ceases to be, goes to meet his maker, becomes a stiff, rests in peace, pushes up the daisies, consigns metabolic processes to history, gets off the twig, kicks the bucket, shuffles off this mortal coil, runs down the curtain and joins the bleedin’ choirt invisible. Becomes AN EX-STROKE SURVIVOR!

A victim of avian stroke?

Or, in other words, As Stroke Risk Rises Among Younger Adults, So Does Early Death.   “New data show that younger stroke survivors are at great risk of premature death. Within two decades, 1 in 5 stroke survivors will die, according to a study in the March 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The death rate is even higher among those with the most common kind of stroke, caused by a blood clot in the brain.” Bleak, huh? But, for once, hemorrhagic stroke victims get a break. For them, the 20-year risk of fatality is just over one in ten. So, just like the smiling guy in the ward at HJD a few months ago, I’m pretty upbeat. I’m taking better care of myself than I have done for years; with medication and lowered stress, my blood pressure is mostly under control (even if added stress can still throw that out of whack), and as a result, I feel like my risk of mortality is lower than it has been for a while. Not that long ago, even pre-stroke, one-in-ten would have felt like a decent result.

[Keep reading to see if Stroke Bloke will survive the next twenty years. That’s only 2000 posts, after all. In fact, just tune in on Monday to see if he’s still posting. That’s a start, right?]

“Didn’t he do the Easter post on Monday?”
“Yeah. I think I’ll join the parrot.”
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