Before I had the stroke, I cleaned, gardened, cooked, and did the laundry. I played with my daughters, nursed them back to health when they were sick, took them to school in the morning, and picked them up from school in the afternoon. I was the “assistant director” for my daughters; always at my daughters’ schools, reading to them, and taking my daughters to explore the world. I made ketubahs (Jewish marriage certifications) and interacted with brides, grooms, rabbis, cantors, and Judaic shopkeepers. I packaged watercolors and delivered the packages to FedEx for shipment.
After my stroke, I returned home and realized the effort involved in the daily tasks of living. My ex-wife was still living with me and expected me to return to my life pre-stroke. So, I began the process of bathing, dressing, and eating; but in slow motion. After becoming independent with these tasks, I began cleaning, cooking, and doing the laundry. While my daughters slept upstairs, I wasn’t just vacuuming the rugs and floors of my house at nighttime. This physical exercise triggered changes that stimulated neuroplasticity, producing new connections in my damaged brain.