Tag Archives: stroke

Looking Back, Looking Forward

I read a post by James Radcliffe about “As I Get Older“.  It has been highlighted should you wish to read the original.  I decided, being 57 instead of 37, there might be a different slant on the post should I write one similar.  So, here it is…

I am happy with my life.  There are problems, to be sure.  The list is (not totally finished, but for the most part):

  1.  I suffer from Diabetes.
  2. I have bad arthritis in my right hip (left one is replaced).
  3. My feet are somewhat numb, are somewhat in pain, and swollen much of the time.
  4. I am disabled and can no longer work for a living.
  5. My Dad had a stroke and is suffering from the loss of a kidney.
  6. I had a major hemorrhagic stroke in May 2010.
  7. I am divorced twice.
  8. I am out of shape.
  9. I have double-vision.
  10. My memory is spotty at times.

There are the top ten, anyway.  So, I do have reason to be cynical, suffering, nasty, angry, and whatever else many people would feel in my spot.  But, as I said earlier:  I am happy with my life.

I don’t know just how many reasons there are for this, so I will just write and see – let’s travel that road together.

#1  I have worked many different jobs in the course of my 29 years of working.

I have done major working as a Security Officer, a Computer Technician, a Computer Programmer, a Computer Systems Manager, and a Teacher.  I have also worked as a Newspaper Routeman, a Substitute Teacher, a Janitorial Person, a Restaurant Server, and a Restaurant Assistant Manager.  Plus, there have been the odd jobs as a Salesman, Babysitter (high school), and several others I cannot think of at the moment.

Through all of these, there were times I hated and times I loved.  However, in all of them, I found a decent amount of pride and joy to know I had the capabilities to be hired to do them and I did them as best I could.  This has been a wealth of information to draw on when talking to people and trying to help my students.

#2  I have been many places.

I sang in high school and did so quite well. Now, my singing performances are restricted to the shower and an empty car with the radio in the background.  But, because of this, I went to All-State Choir, I sang at choral contests, and I even ran a small (4 people) group who sang in churches a few times.  The biggest single thing I did was to go with Varner Chance and the “Sounds of Hope” choir/orchestra to about 18 countries in one month and sing there.  Again, all of this has given me volumes of material to use to help people with and to focus on when I am down.

#3  I have learned to be alone.

Being divorced twice is not a record and it is not necessarily something to be proud of.  However, it has given me two opportunities:  First, I have gotten to “start over” several times.  This has allowed me to be able to learn from previous mistakes and try again.  Difficult?  Yes!  But, I am now doing okay with my life and myself.  The same can be said for all the jobs I have had.  They allowed me to start over.  The biggest thing I have learned (and it took all 57 years) is I am fine by myself.  I can live, function, and enjoy life as a single person, one who is not even dating.  I would enjoy dating again, perhaps even marrying again, but, for now, I am fine.

#4  I can cook and clean.

This sounds a bit trite, but with all the things going on in my life so far, I do count decent cooking, cleaning, and following recipes as something of importance.  I know many men who, because they are single, have to go out to eat, order take out, or find someone to date who can cook.  I can take care of myself.

#5  I have a widespread education.

My formal education comes from the fact I have an BA in English with minors in Religion and Psychology, An MA in English, and advanced certification in Elementary Teaching and Special Education Teaching.  My daughter tells me I have nearly as many hours in education as she does for her PhD.  Again, this spread has given me many different viewpoints and, when coupled with the wide range of reading I have done, I can help people more and more from many areas of life.

#6  I have two wonderful children.

My greatest accomplishment has been to raise two children of whom I am very proud.  Divorce (especially two) can often cause major setbacks in children’s lives; however, my children have turned out wonderfully.  My daughter is married, lives in a nice home, and is a practicing Psychologist with a PhD.  My son is out in Oregon and making excellent money as a Computer Consultant with is both well-liked and much wanted by his community.  There is nothing that compares to being able to say this and stand up tall and proud because:  they both love me very much.

Okay, 6 instead of 5.  They are different reasons, however, I imagine James Radcliffe will alter his choices just a bit in 20 years.  Perhaps not, we shall see.  In my case, I am comfortable with life and, because of my previous stroke and my beliefs, I am comfortable with death (though I hope he stays away for a long time yet!).

Namaste,

Scott

Where Am I? I wasn’t Here!

I know; I know.  It’s been about a week without really a word from me.  In that time, I managed to lose 3 games of “Trivia Crack” due to time elapsed, I waited over 3 days to do some of my “Words With Friends”, and I have been stressed out, tired, and so very frustrated.

No, silly, it wasn’t sex (though the symptoms certainly bring back memories – not really good ones, either).  It was nothing pleasant at all:  my Dad had a stroke.

Well, it turned out to be a TIA; it was downgraded.  It seems the difference is whether the damage remains permanent or not.  Apparently, his blood pressure may have dropped too low due to his medications combined with going back on dialysis.  What I do know is the night following the TIA, while I was lying in the couch/chair in Dad’s room, the nurse came in and gave him his blood pressure meds and, about 2-3 hours later, I was calling them to his side because his blood pressure, which had normally been around 150/70 or so, was now 77/41.  They began pumping fluids in him and I left when it was 84/50 and rising.

He is much better now, but in that time, we all took turns staying with him most of the day/night.  My general shift was 7:30pm-around 1:00am.  I would watch a baseball game with him (I am not a fan, but am learning the game well) and stay until he had been sound asleep for about 1/2 hour.

Anyway, that’s the reason for the long absence.  I have tried to read a few posts, but have had another problem.  I have borrowed my Dad’s IPAD.  He doesn’t really like it, so he told me to learn on it.  I have never used an IPAD before.  I can’t say I love how they run (man, I love my desktop with windows), however, once I FINALLY got it set up (That would be early this morning, by the way), it is pretty cool to have.  I can watch about 6-7 episodes of “Star Trek DS9” (am halfway through season 5) and do some online poker (free) and check out Facebook and “Words with Friends” without recharging.  It is nice and small (at least, compared to the full backpack my lap top requires) and it is not that difficult to use (Once it is SET UP.  Did I mention that?!).

Well, that’s the news for now.  Dad is much better – smiling, watching TV, and complaining about the hospital.  That makes us all happier.  It especially makes me happier because I found out that, during Dad’s ordeal, I stressed out and that shot my blood sugar up from about 110-almost 210 at times.  It wouldn’t go down.  It even went up after a self-imposed 17 hour fast!  When I finally saw on Google (Gotta love Google) that stress can do that, I went through my relaxation responses, said my prayers, and mentally chose to relax.  This morning was 124.  Still a bit high, but I could eat.  I will simply have to refocus my attention on being calm when things are bad around here.  Who woulda thunk it?

Namaste,

Scott

Highs and Lows…

I realize my last post was about my being “something Great!”.  I also realize how pumped up I normally am.  It  just goes to show you we are all human.

I had a kinda meltdown today.  Nothing drastic, nothing even serious – but still significant to me.  I was taking a shower and had just come off the season 3 finale of “Orange is the New Black” (excellent!).  While in the shower I began to get a fairly uncommon (of recent), but very familiar feeling called “worry” and “stress” hitting me.  I began to have some stomach problems, the water in the shower was a cross between invigorating and irritating and I found myself beginning to get that old “clinched” feeling in  my hands, stomach, and (excuse, please) bowels.

Now, I am (as I said) used to this feeling.  It is what brought me to the bring of exhaustion, brought about such anxiety I had to be decently medicated, made me depressed, and was the basis for my stroke.  Yes, I am familiar with stress and worry.

This time, however, I was able to think it through.  I didn’t spaz out and collapse into tears and all.  What I did was to think about what is bothering me.  All of it:

1)  Dad’s in the nursing home.

2)  Dad may not be with us a whole lot longer.

3)  Mom’s a nervous wreck over Dad.

4)  Sis is not sleeping due to 1-3 above and school starting in a few weeks.

5)  My car is in the shop.

6)  I had a stroke.

7)  I can no longer work and bring in a significant amount of money.

8)  I just had my hip replaced.

9)  I am not dating (not sure if that’s really good or bad).

10)  I don’t sleep well anymore.

11)  My roof has a hole in it and needs to be repaired, but it is raining nearly every day.

12)  Anything else I haven’t thought of so I can have 12 items.

So, a decent list.  I decided God is still in control.  Everything will work out in the end.  And, I needed to do something – So, voila! I am writing to my most wonderful set of friends out here in Blogland.  You are all always so great.  When you have problems, you write about them and you nearly always have great positive things to say when others are down.  It would be great if my top 30 blogging friends lived with me in one city, so we could chat and meet and talk and all…(come on, I know you have, at least, thought about it.).  Not gonna happen, but still…

Look!  Already, just writing to you has brought me mostly out of my funk (I said, “Mostly”).  I am more positive now and will go back to doing what I do and being thankful I have such a great set of people out there.  I would do names, but it honestly has become long enough of a list I would miss at least one person and I don’t want to do that.

So, if you consider me a friend, know I consider you one as well and you have helped out a friend today!

Namaste,

Scott

(PS – I can always use MORE FRIENDS!!!)

Just a Touch of … Fear?

Licensed for reuse. Click pic for Page.

Well, this has turned out to be a scary week at the end (beginning, too, since today is Sunday).  I have spoken many times of my stroke and of the good and bad things that seemed to have come of it.  I still believe it is more of a Godsend than anything else.  There are simply too many joys to be happy about than bad things to worry about.

However, here is a small worry (bigger if you are me).  I last posted on Thursday.  I don’t remember  (could look, I guess) whether I did it Wednesday night and posted Thursday or did it Thursday and posted then.  Regardless, several things have happened since then to worry me a bit.

First off, in checking my email on Saturday, I was surprised to find over 300 emails waiting for me.  Now, depending on the time of day, I can have a bit over 200, normally about 180.  These are mostly posts from all the blogs I follow.  I select and choose and delete down to a decent number each day.  It’s a schedule and I like it.  However, having 300+ emails means I missed a day, possibly two.

When I say “missed”, I mean “lost”.   See, I compress (for want of a better word) time since the stroke.  This means that I have time pass (sometimes days) and I may not think about it having passed.  However, usually, I can, at least, remember the days.  I remember thinking “It’s Thursday”,”It’s Friday” and “It’s Saturday”, however, what I did is a bit fuzzy (esp. Friday) and, apparently, I didn’t check my email on either Thursday, Friday, or both.  Thursday is the most lost in my mind, Friday right behind. That makes sense, but worries me.  Normally, I can think back and put it together; this time I simply can’t without looking at other things like receipts or talking to people.

This isn’t Alzheimer or some such.  I really don’t think I am getting worse.  I did not sleep well on Thursday or Friday.  That really tends to mess with my mind.  I was told that lack of sleep will intensify some of my problems, memory being one.

The real problem is the entire thing simply unnerves me a bit.  I check my email every day with enthusiasm.  I have reminders to do these tasks and I have a set morning routine.  I remember vaguely upsetting this routine, not with emails, but something else I normally check.  I suppose this could have led to the downfall of my schedule and the reasons I “lost time”.

Anyway, does anyone out there have these types of problems?  How do you cope?  How do you handle it once it happens?

Namaste,

Scott

2014 – The Review of My Year

2014

Well, 2014 is nearly done.  It is December 16, 2014 at 11:12PM as I begin this post.  Another year post-stroke that I have lived and flourished through.  Many of you have been with me throughout this year; some have not.  I am certain that I lost a few, but I did find one blog sister and am happy for her return.

The biggest problem with the year post-stroke is that my memory is not so hot on the timing of events and I may mention something that happened in 2011 or last month and not be able to tell you the time of it.  That makes putting 2014 in order difficult.  What I can do is highlights, I hope.

Early 2014 found me trying to deal with Medicare and the reset deductibles.  That will happen again in a couple of weeks.  This means that the injection I took for $5 this month may cost $100 in January of 2015.  Speaking of Medicare / Medical concerns, I have been taking Testosterone injections monthly now for about a year.  I am at maximum amount, so this month and next month will show how much effect I can expect from it.  It does help me to make / keep muscles.  Exercising does no good if you can’t build muscle mass.  And, if I understand it, losing muscle mass also could damage my heart.

Stroke

I have continued Reflexology treatments and they help me.  I am learning to reduce and to manage pain levels.  For those new to all this, I had a horrible hemorrhagic stroke May 7, 2010 and suffer pain and several other results of that ordeal.  Those include balance issues, short-term memory problems, double vision, weakened left side, need for a cane, greater fatigue, and a certain level of constant pain.  I am also diabetic and suffer from neuropathy (foot pain and numbness).

The world was blessed in February with the first birthday of my first great niece, Karlee Koontz.  She has been fun to watch grow and learn this year.  Adrienne and Lance are expecting their second daughter this February.  If I have the months wrong, I apologize.  Best I can do with what I have (lol).

My daughter, Dr. Aarika White is working part-time at my old Alma Mater, UIndy, as a psychologist for the students.  She enjoys the work and I love that she is working there.  Her husband, Josh, did a lot of work-related travel this past year, so she and I did spent quite a bit of time together.

My son, Aaron, just began a new job in Portland, Oregon.  He works with computers in things I can understand but not do.  I have been tempted to move up there and no longer have a car (public transpo is excellent), but am not certain how I would handle the cost of living on my relatively fixed income (You can read that as not writing a best seller nor winning the lottery).  I shall reconsider this decision every year or so.

olive garden

I did go to Olive Garden for my anniversary of the stroke again this year.  I have missed that once since the stroke when I simply forgot it (it actually felt good to realize I had forgotten it enough to not go).

The summer went pleasantly enough.  I spent a lot of it getting to know my neighbors and do a bit of traveling.  My sister, Darci and I went to Fort Wayne, Indiana for a several-day much needed vacation.  It is a beautiful city and we had a great time.  She did wear herself out one day pushing me in a wheelchair around the zoo.

This fall was met with both joy (it is my favorite season) and some distaste for the rain and the cold.  I knew winter was coming with the snow and ice.  I don’t mind the weather, but have to make certain that I do not fall and injure myself.

My Dad, Richard, fell a couple of months ago and broke his ankle in three places.  This has been very difficult on him and on us as well.  I look forward to him being back up and walking in the next couple of months.

Thanksgiving went well.  It was an adjustment with Dad and me (I have gone to Vegan – more shortly), but that, too, was simply something to deal with, and we did.

vegan

I switched to Vegan back in July.  I did some research after coming to the conclusion that the medical efforts at handling my diabetes were more aimed at allowing it to worsen slowly rather than attempting a cure.  After reading and studying, I decided my best bet was to go strict vegan.  This December, I am pleased to report that my blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and weight have all gone down significantly.  I had the blood tests last week and am waiting for results to see if I am handling it well.  I know that I eat more healthy and a greater amount of food.  I feel better and have added a few supplements to my diet as well.  Most significant has been the addition of food enzymes, Chromium Picolinate, and Chlorophyll in pill form.

I must mention my cat, Tamika, who in now into her 8th year and shows some small signs of slowing as well as a bit of graying around the edges.  Having almost lost her to the outdoors a few years back, I am glad she has, at least, learned to stay inside and follow a few simple commands (at times, the addition of a spray water bottle has helped).  She sleeps at the foot of my bed or on a box by the window in my bedroom as long as she behaves (about 1/2 the time).  One more problem from the stroke is my inability to sleep more than 2-3 hours without waking up.  It has fluctuated a bit, but seems to be 1.5-3 hours currently.  I dream more and do it quicker, but I also tend to fall asleep in the afternoon and early evenings if not careful about a nap.

To keep my brain active, currently, I:

write fiction, play 15-18 games of Words with Friends on FB, do some writing on FB, play video games (mostly Skyrim in which I am now at level 47), and I play Dungeons and Dragons online with several people on Monday evenings.  I do eat out a couple of times a week, at least once with my friend, Kevin, who had an aneurism around Thanksgiving and survived it well (thank goodness).  I do try to go to the movies a few times a month with another friend from Indy and I visit a friend who is in a wheelchair and lives in Wabash, IN once a month if I can.

I think that about does my general overview of this year.  I thank all of you who have been even a small part of my life.  I feel loved and needed and that is, in no small part, due to all of you.

Namaste,

Scott

*Please note that all pictures in this post were taken from Google Image Searches with “licensed for reuse” filters.

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