The repercussions of what having a stroke meant began to sink in after I was moved out of the intensive care unit.

Once in a regular hospital room, a therapist came by to do some tests. She pulled my blankets aside and asked me if I could take off my sock. This test seemed ridiculously easy, but I was willing, just happy that my head no longer hurt. I leaned forward and confidently pulled the sock off my foot. “Great,” she said. “Now put it back on.” So I put the sock back on my foot. Only I didn’t. Because I couldn’t. I stared at the sock in my hand and then I stared at my foot, knowing that I should be able to complete such a simple task, yet unable to.

This was the first of thousands of tests during my recovery. And it was the first of a thousand times when I knew I used to be able to do something that I could no longer do. It is one of the strangest sensations I have ever experienced.

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