Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Imagination Rehab

The are many things I can't do since the stroke. For instance, I know that riding a bicycle is out of the question. At least for now. My lack of proprioception, sensation, balance issues,  and general right-side weakness are a few of the reasons. And it doesn't help that we live on a very hilly neighborhood. I haven't even had the desire to try.

About two months ago, we were driving on level ground, on a road with a bike lane. There was a bicyclist a few yards ahead of us, and from the car window, I had a great view of the bicyclist pedaling. The traffic was moving slowly. I watched him biking for several minutes. Suddenly, I remembered what it felt like to be on a bicycle: the wind, the noise of cars going by, the pedaling, the gliding, my own breath and the pumping of my heart. I had forgotten.

Sometimes I feel the stroke robbed me--temporarily--of parts of my imagination. Until something jogs my memory, my body can't conceive of some of things I used to do. And how I did them.

But little by little, my imagination is coming back. 


  1. I've had that experience! I used to be able to play the piano in my mind. Now I find I can't imagine where the fingers of my left hand go. It's so weird.

  2. Grace, You lead me to think about imagination. I have always, I realize, viewed imagination as what a child does with a playhouse, or what your daughter Lucy does when we play that I'm shopping at her "store." Or, it's what the novelist does, especially the writer of things like "Alice in Wonderland." You make me realize that imagination is crucial to our lives. Do we ever accomplish something that we haven't before imagined ourselves doing, even if we haven't called it imagining? Riding a bicycle, cooking a dinner, writing a book, running for president? We have to picture both the process and the successful outcome.
    And, is imagination crucial to healing/

  3. I can totally relate to this story. I've lost track of how many times I've put an object in my hemiplegic hand and a memory of how to move comes back instantly. The tricky part is forgetting I have a stroke so my hand can access the motor memories that are locked away in my brain.

  4. Following my viral encephalitis, I had threerounds of neuro-psych exams. One ofthe psychologists called I think wht you're descriing as "Stimulus bound response". The problem for me sometims is turning it off once it gets started.