Claudia Fortunato-Napolitano is the Happiness Hero at John’s Crazy Socks. While still a young woman (Claudia is only 36), she suffered a major stroke in January 2017. Claudia is an essential team member at John’s Crazy socks working to spread happiness and show every day what is possible when you give a person a chance. Claudia is sharing her recovery in this blog, so others can learn of the challenges facing stroke recovery patients and people in recovery can take strength and inspiration from knowing they are not alone.
Wow, this is my 30th blog post. I have been working on this for a long time. It is getting me ready for my book. The act of writing and thinking about my stroke gets my brain wired for a book. What is the book going to be about? Obviously, my stroke recovery, and my relations with my family and friends, and my husband. It will also be about my therapies: speech, occupational, physical, and mental—mental therapy is the most interesting part. My career change is also another fascinating segment. My change in values, that is an absorbing piece. Since the stroke, I would love to live anywhere other than Long Island for 2 years. Then, I would love to pick up and move to another new area. Before my stroke, I only wanted to live in Huntington, New York City, or London. I am a wanderlust, I travel to all parts of the world. Since my stroke, I want to LIVE in other parts of the world. But Sean said no, so I am living in Huntington because I love Sean. Anyway, it’s my 30th blog post, and I think that is a big deal.
Today I went to get some water for my tea, and the water jug was empty. I asked Jeff if we would refill it, and he said sure. In a funny way, he said 'how come you can’t to it?' And I said, “Because I have no right hand.” And we laughed. But he went and got the water jug, and when he came back, he said, “Are you left handed or right handed?” I am right handed. “Do you write with your left hand?” he asked. I told him that I can write with my right hand, and I can still use my 3 fingers to write. However, when I am cooking tacos, for example, I do it with my left hand. I told him I went to occupational therapy for it. I just started at the beginning on February. When we started, Ian, my occupational therapist said, “We’ll see,” regarding a 100% recovery but I am hopeful.
The exercises that we want to work on is my right hand. Dorsal interossei of the hand, that is right at the top of my palm, and it’s at my ring finger. It is inflamed. My brain does not get the messages in the right way, and I have a trigger finger, and it is affecting my pinky. As far as our first exercises goes, we massage the Dorsal interossei. Then, we ice it down. Then, I try to get it moving. I have the Special Needs Tactile Play Occupational Therapy Putty Arthritis Hand Exercise, and I put it in a circle. Then, I am inserting my hand in the circle. And I try to open my hand, slowly. Sometimes it works, sometimes my trigger finger works too, so I can’t open my hand without help. I take my left hand and I use it to help my trigger finger. It’s good, I feel like I am doing something about my hand.
If we work for a long time and it has no effect. I am OK with that. As far as the stroke is concerned, I’m happy that my right side has no paralysis.
Every day, every week, I take more steps. It is hard, but I keep getting better.