“Can’t” Is a Four Letter Word

The word “can’t” is one of words that I think is used way too often. If you really want to do something then do it. If there is something in the way, figure a way around it. It may take several attempts, or a lot of attempts but at least try it before you say that four letter word. Some times that word may be appropriate but not nearly as often as we hear it.

It’s a word I used often after the stroke but as time goes by I’m finding that the things I thought I couldn’t do I can, I just have to look at it from a different angle or try again and again till I can. And that’s what I think everybody has to do. If it doesn’t look like it’s possible one way look at it from a different angle and maybe you’ll find a way to do it. Just don’t automatically use that word. Use it as a last resort and I think you’ll find you can do a lot more than you thought you could.

Doesn’t “can” sound a lot better? And it’s only three letters!

I think I was attacked!

This is being written after the fact.  At the time it was very scary.  When I am scared I try to use humor to keep calm.  This time was no different.

Last night (Jan. 2, 2015) was the second scarcest night of my life (that I remember).   At around 2:15am I woke up.  I felt like there was 500lbs of bricks on my chest.  After waking my wife we waited about 10 mins to see if it would subside.  Nope.

So we called 911.

The fire truck arrived first.  Turns out my next door neighbor was on duty that night and was one of the paramedics on the truck.  He built my fence and did an excellent job so I figured he must be an excellent paramedic as well.  As soon as I saw him I knew I’d live. (just kidding, but I’m hoping you’d realize that).

They start to stabilize me until the ambulance got there.  Then the ambulance paramedics took over.  They hooked me up to a portable EKG and took me to the hospital.  They wouldn’t let me sit in the front (stretcher wouldn’t fit, or some lame excuse like that), or play with the siren (my wife says it wasn’t on) so all I got to do was periodically tell them my pain on a scale of 1-10.  Tip:  don’t ask them half-way through the trip if 1 is most pain or is 10.  I did as a joke.  I don’t think she thought it was funny.

Then we got to the hospital.  This is when I went through some excruciating pain.  they took the heart monitor pads off my chest.  Half my chest hair went with them.

to be continued…





Unsung Heros

I was going to write a blog post about this anyway (I have a list) and given my current circumstances I think now is a good time.

First responders (paramedics) are very important people. When something happens to you they are probably going to be the first medical people you see, and could be the difference between life and death.

I don’t think they get the thanks they deserve. Not because we don’t appreciate it but because after you are transported to the hospital you (hopefully) never see them again. The doctors and nurses get thanks all the time (the nice ones) because you see them more.  The paramedics are long gone, helping other people – perhaps saving a life.

I thanked the paramedics tonight (one of them lives right beside me). I also found out that if you call central dispatch (not 911…unless you want to deliver the message in person and pay about $450 – don’t do this) they can pass on a message.

So if your ever in a situation that requires paramedics I suggest you thank them. They don’t do it for the thanks but I bet they appreciate it.

Year One

One year ago today at approximately 8:00 pm I was declared brain dead.  I spent New Years fighting for my life. January 1 at around 7:00 a.m. I woke up.  I had won the fight for survival and was now starting on the road to recovery.

Here are my observations after my first year after the stroke.

I look at the world from a different perspective now.  Everything I do I do differently than from before the stroke.  First time doing anything can be a challenge but after I figure out how to do it, the more I do it the easier it becomes.

The leg is coming along.  There is a lot more to do, but it is making headway.  I have a great team behind me and that makes all the difference.   I think 2015 is going to see a lot of improvement in this area.  I think the leg brace may be there the rest of my life but I have been surprised a few times already.

The right arm is just starting to respond to therapy.  The last two months have shown positive results and we are trying to get enough movement so I can get on the SaeboFlex program.  I’m not yet there but I’m trying.

My communication problems are probably my biggest concern.  I seem to have hit a wall here.  Verbally I can carry on conversations but they take a lot out of me, are usually muddled, and as the topics get deeper I have trouble getting the words out.  Usually I know what I want to say (at least I think I do), but somewhere between my brain and my mouth things get garbled.   I can’t print or write.  I type but not well unless speed is not required.  This document is about 290 words to this point.  Is has taken about 8 hours so far to write.  I think it makes sense (with some help from Microsoft Word) but I’ll let you decide.   It just takes a long time to get it from my brain to the computer.  I make a lot of mistakes that I have to correct on the way.  I also forget what I am saying mid-sentence, meaning I have to erase what I was saying and say something else, or stop until I remember.  Reading isn’t too bad in brief spurts, but only brief.

There are also other problems of varying severity but the ones listed above are the ones that were worked on the most in 2014 and will be the ones I start on in 2015.  Where I am at this time next year is anyone’s guess.  What I can guarantee is that I am going to put 150% into getting better and it will show.