Monday, May 16, 2011


I Had a Stroke When I Was 26

I am a quirky young woman whose Mind went Pop. Mindpop. My stroke took away my limbs and speech for a while. Here are some chronicles…

I. Oven Mitt

If you want to see what it's like to live with a messed-up stroke hand, put on an oven mitt. Then wander into your kitchen.

How to use a can opener?

How do you cut a bell pepper without it flying away?

How do you open a 2-liter bottle?

II. Differences since my stroke

I occasionally say something off-color really loudly that would probably be better said quietly. That's new.

Before my stroke, I was the picture of etiquette. Or maybe I wasn't, and I just imagine that I was.

III. Stroke Buddy

I have one. We have never spoken. He is maybe 40 years old, clean-shaven, always nicely dressed, clearly on his way to a job and a life. He has a hand that doesn't work and he limps a little. Occasionally I sit across from him on the Red Line T (Boston’s subway). He sees me, there is recognition, a slow hint of a smile, and he bobs his head in acknowledgment. My head slightly bobs back. We understand each other.

IV. Comfort

My friend said he wasn't sure how to comfort me. "I don’t really have a clue how to comfort a friend going through such a traumatic change."

I don't want comfort. I don't want to be asked how I'm feeling, I want my friends to take me out and help me forget how I'm feeling.

V. Lucky/Unlucky

Soon after my stroke, my neurologist said "For someone so unlucky, you are really lucky."

Previously: Other Mindpop Posts.

Nina Mitchell had a stroke when she was 26. More chronicles are at Mindpop or Facebook.

© 2011 by Nina Mitchell, The material in this article is protected by copyright and may not be copied or published or otherwise distributed without the Author’s permission. All Rights Reserved.

5 Comments / Post A Comment


that "for someone so unlucky, you are really lucky" bit really resonates with me. it's useful to remember that, no matter how bad off you are (or feel like you are), it could always, always be so much worse.


"I don't want comfort. I don't want to be asked how I'm feeling, I want my friends to take me out and help me forget how I'm feeling."

I think this really interesting... and I'm trying to put my finger on what exactly it is. Something about feeling like I need to acknowledge my friend's pain/ordeal but also wanting to distract said friend. I guess that's why it's never easy.

Amira Smith@facebook

If it's of any consolation, my little boy had a stroke at the tender age of 7. He's doing well now. Congratulations on not only surviving, but thriving after your stroke. :)


I love this series! I'm always delighted when there is another one waiting unexpectedly.

My dad had two strokes at the (relatively) young age of 51 or so. I wish he had 1/10th of the spunk you have. I also worked for the American Stroke Association and met so many people who need examples like you! (I know you're like, not mother theresa or anything, but still, kudos for putting it out there!)


Having a stroke is a life-threatening thing for us. We just have to contemplate what that is all about. - Banners Broker

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account