Let me say that I am very happy to be doing this blog today. That may be an odd thing to say. You're right to ask why? Because many years ago when my grandfather had two strokes which paralyzed the left side of his body, people did not have access to information about stroke. People I know and love have been affected by strokes, some very recently, and this is what has led me to writing this blog. Not only to help people recognize strokes but also to help people find ways to provide comfort to people recovering from strokes. Knitting and crocheting are the perfect ways to show a little love... and I get a little help from my friends to show you how.
My Grandfather like many men of his time, was a relatively reserved, pragmatic, man who lived through 2 World Wars and the Great depression. He was a big man, who liked to tease his granddaughters, and smoke his pipe on the porch. He gave his best to his occupation, family, community, and to his country. During the Great Depression he had a young family to care for and therefore he did what other men did, he just got on with it. My Grandfather worked on the trains that were so vital during WWII and therefore wasn't called up for the draft. However, he acted as an auxiliary police man. Working many long hours to keep those trains full of goods and supplies running to our troops was a taxing job.
Yet after all that he lived through, strokes sidelined this big strong man, permanently weakening his body. In 1957, he had his first stroke and a month later he went back to work. Then in 1958 he had a second stroke which ended his career. At that point the best they would hope for is that he could transfer himself from his bed to a wheelchair. Not only did he beat the odds but he smashed them to bits. With the help of his family my grandfather not only walked again but he learned to drive. While I never knew my grandfather before he had his strokes I knew the determination with which he lived his life. He was simply unforgettable. (He also had this adorable twinkle in his beautiful blue eyes). There are millions of stories like that and now, thanks to the many organizations helping to raise awareness about strokes, there are more happy endings.
I can't write this blog without giving some links to organizations that will help recognize the signs of strokes and will also offer support to survivors. Just like with the signs of heart attack, early detection can offer a better chance of survival. Please take time to read the graphic. If you have a loved one at risk please print it off and put it somewhere it can be seen.
www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/, and www.stroke.org/
Did you know that knitting and crocheting can be used as therapy for patients recovering from strokes? I learned this from a great lady who runs a local farm here in the Northern Adirondacks. It's a way to help regain motor control! I thought that was so cool! In fact here's a great article about a physical therapist who got a little creative to help a client crochet again. It's a great tool for self expression and stress relief.
Immediately when I thought of stroke I thought of high blood pressure. My husband has elevated blood pressure and as long as he takes his medicine he's fine. He had elevated blood pressure for years until one Sunday he had a crisis. I drove him to the hospital myself because I thought he was having a heart attack. Ever after that I redoubled my efforts to follow the campaigns of the American Heart Association and Stroke Association. It takes a really close shave like that sometimes to get you to pay attention. That's when I started to try to make it a point to acknowledge those who have had strokes and to provide comfort to patients or their families. The patterns I share today will be in the color red to represent the heart/brain connection.
Next my crocheting friend Doug Speeckaert has a few patterns to share. I asked him for his help because he makes THE most magnificent blankets! You can see his amazing work on his instagram and of course you can't miss the pics of the adorable Dachshunds that own him. (oh wait... he owns LOL) Here are Doug's contributions:
T.k. Wilson has some offerings of small appliques and edgings you can use on any item you make knit or crochet. Simply make them as pins or bookmarks for National Stroke Awareness day.
I'm very thankful you all joined me today for my blog post. Thanks to Amy Brewer, Doug Speeckaert, and T.k. Wilson for their participation. All of my readers are important to me. Please take care of yourselves!
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.