Three years ago I was struck down by a stroke. Three years later I am still stricken with the malady. In the beginning, I asked doctors about the condition and was told that there is no cure for stroke. Period. I asked about the symptoms and was told there are no symptoms meaning a stroke will attack a person suddenly, without warning. That is bad news, very bad news.
Following my own advice, I did not believe that. So, I thought back to my experiences and I found that there are plenty of signs that a person is susceptible to an attack of the deadly stroke. Hah! If you cannot cure it at least you can prevent it. That is what we should all do. We must choose to avoid the stroke or be condemned to consuming tons of pills whose veracity is questionable. How do we go about that, how can we prevent stroke. Will it be expensive? Will it be time consuming? Before we go into details let us first recognise the symptoms, the signs if you like.
More than thirty years ago, while reversing my car, I suddenly found that I could not move my right leg. It simply refused to obey me. I went to see a doctor immediately and all I got was two days medical leave. That was the first sign that I was heading for a stroke. After two days rest, I was back on my feet as if nothing had happened. I just put it down to work stress and physical and mental exhaustion. When I was afflicted with the stroke and certain parts of my body refused to obey me I realised that I had experienced that feeling before.
I will now endeavour to put down on paper, for you, the other signs so that you may recognise a potential victim before the stroke strikes and be able to take evasive steps to prevent it happening. These signs will be presented randomly as they come to mind.
1. When walking you stumble even on level ground.
2. You kick the legs of chairs and tables when you usually walk pass them effortlessly. 1 & 2 is because your legs are not as strong as they used to be although you do not realise it.
3. You sometimes find you cannot pronounce the ‘ar’ sound and it comes out as ‘el’, your speech is slurred and sometimes you drool.
4. The pen you are holding slips from your fingers. Holding up the newspaper can be a problem because your fingers have lost their flexibility. You think it is clumsiness when in truth it is not. It is caused by your muscles having lost their strength.
5. After sitting for some time you find that you cannot stand up as usual. You lose your balance and fall back onto the seat.
6. You also lose your balance when you squat and may find yourself sitting instead of standing up.
7. You are always sleepy even after a good night’s sleep. This sleepiness is quite diferrent from the usual tiredness you experience after a restless or late night.
8. Urinating has become a problem. Instead of a strong stream what you get is a trickle and this causes you to go to the toilet often.
9. Constipation becomes more frequent as your rectal muscles do not work well anymore.
10. Sometimes you will find you are forgetful and mental activities become difficult as your brain weakens through lack of nourishment. Blood is not getting through to your brain quickly enough.
Some of these signs will come and go, so much so that you do not take them seriously when they do occur. You tend to pass them off as signs of physical and mental stress and fatique or in certain cases of ageing. Since there is no pain you do not think it necessary to see a doctor. Anyway, the signs come on only momentarily and disappear almost at once. So that you think it is not anything serious and a visit to a doctor is out of the question, until it is too late that is. Then, it is the doctor who has to come to you. Another thing, the signs are similiar to many other diseases and illnesses which are quite common. Seeing a doctor would be rather pointless, as far as a stroke is concerned, as you would only describe the symptoms you are experiencing at that particular moment.
Now we come to the important part of this discourse, how do we prevent stroke. What can we do or rather what should we do when these signs appear one by one. Let it be known that I am not a doctor and never in my dreams do I even pretend to be one. So what I am about to tell you is mostly from my own experience. Firstly, when you find that your body is not functioning as it should, that some parts are slacking and not obeying your brain as it normally does, you should start exercising. Go for long walks. Incidently, you will experience immediate benefits even while exercising, such as clearer vision and mental alertness. Make it a habit to go for walks at least three times a week. Do not stop. I did go for walks but then I stopped when the symptoms disappeared. I made the mistake of not exercising for far too long and then it was too late. The stroke struck! Remember, regular exercise is very important in promoting blood circulation. Of course, other forms of exercises will be just as good for you. One word of advise, exercises performed with the use of machines are not necessarily the best and that is why I advocate free hand exercises like walking, jogging and swimming.
Drinking lots of water helps immensely. Drink two glasses of water first thing in the morning every morning. Then drink one or two mouthfuls every half hour or whenever thirsty. This is to provide the blood stream with a regular supply of fresh water as our body gets rid of water all the time. We lose water when we breathe, sweat and urinate. Lack of water means poor blood circulation which can lead to stroke.
Eating proper foods is also important and I mean greens and fruits on a daily basis. Everything else can be enjoyed in moderation. A monk who practises healing advised me on certain foods to take to prevent the occurence of stroke. It is my pleasure to be able to share it with you here. He said that to prevent stroke I should drink a soup made of one cucumber and one red tomato. Boil them together, strain and drink one or two glasses daily. That will help prevent the blood from coagulating (or is it congealing?). Stroke affects the brain and the best remedy for it is egg yolk. The monk suggested I take the yolk from free-range chickens leaving out the white. The egg must be hardboiled. Consuming egg yolks is also recommended for elderly people as well as school children because it helps to nourish the brain and thus improves memory.
What do we do when someone is suddenly seized by a stroke? Chinese physicians will use a pin to prick the ends of the fingers and toes, all twenty of them, and squeeze out a few drops of blood from each prick. The logic is that by drawing blood one is stimulating the flow of blood. Think of it as unlocking a traffic jam. The needle must first be disinfected by putting it over a flame and wiped clean with tissue paper. Everyone and anyone can do this because there is absolutely no danger whatsoever. Wait, not everybody can do that. Oh? Yes, those people who are afraid of blood, else we will have two patients instead of one.