Thursday, December 29, 2005

Know Yourself

I posted this on another blog I keep (stroke survivor network) in answer to someone's prompt to answer these "Know Yourself" questions. I found it to be an interesting experience--you should try it yourself!

'Know Yourself' quiz.
1. What do you want? I've never "wanted" a lot. I'm hard to buy gifts for. I don't window shop, I don't make list of things I'd buy if I won the lottery. I want the intangibles, I want to be loved, to be happy, to see my children and grandchildren do the same.

2. What do you need? I need peace, tranquility, things that haven't been in great abundance since Rolly's stroke.

3. What is your greatest fear? I fear being alone in my old age. I was just 17 when Rolly and I married back in 1968. We've been together 37 years now, through the good times and the bad. I can't imagine life without him, as hard as the last 8 months have been on us and our relationship.

4. What is your dearest wish?That the "big bad stroke" had passed us by!

5. What do you need to be happy? Little things. Someone to sit on the couch with me at night, ask me how my day was, enjoy a TV show and a glass of wine with. A new book. A new trail to hike. An adventure waiting to happen.

6. What is your ambition? To make the most of what life has given me. I don't want a fancy career or a million dollars. I want to be happy in my own way, surrounded by my family and good friends.

7. What is your greatest talent? Hard one. Tangible things--cooking, grandparenting. Intangible things--seeing the beauty in little things, enjoying nature.

8. What is your most formidable obstacle? Empathizing with Rolly and all he has gone through. I try, but I can't really put myself in his shoes and feel his frustration and despair.

9. Who is your worst enemy? I'm sure there are people who are not terrible fond of me, but I hope no one "hates" me. Life is indeed too short for such nonsense!

10. With what part of your life are you satisfied? Raising our children to be responsible, interesting adults. They are truly the light of my life.

11. What is your misery in life?I like this saying. "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." I choose not to wallow in the misery.

12. What part of your life would you change? I'd have had my Dad stick around longer. He was 74 when he died, but since he was 16 years older than my Mom, and died when I was 35. I wish he'd been around to see me mature, to see my children grow up into adults, and to know his great grandchildren.

13. What part of your life would you change in the next year? Reduce the clutter in our lives. Physically, we've downsized greatly this year, and that has helped. I need to get some rid of "mental clutter."

14. What is your mission? Truly to leave this world a better place because I was here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Merry Christmas.....NOT Happy Holidays!

Let me express my own personal opinion. If I greet you this holiday season it will be with a warm and hearfelt "Merry Christmas", not "Happy Holidays.", though that seems to be the "politically correct" greeting these days.

If it weren't for Jesus, the "reason for the season", we wouldn't be celebrating Christmas, so what's wrong with calling it what it is?

This country was founded on religious freedom.

Let me express it in my own way.

If you celebrate a different holiday, or none at all, I'm really OK with that.

Just don't take away MY right to celebrate my chosen holiday!

Whew, I'm better now! (~_~)

Monday, November 21, 2005

My day from H#&^

I'm afraid to ask what else can go wrong, because I'm sure it will!

Older son and family were down this weekend. He noticed his Dad has a mole on his face that looks irregular, and he hadn't really noticed it before. So I've got a call in to the VA for an emergency appointment for that. I leave for 2 weeks on the 1st so need to get it looked at ASAP!

Then I got to work and had forgotten my glasses. Got through the morning OK, a few dumb mistakes cause I couldn't see, so decided to run home at lunch and get them. That took up nearly all my lunch hour, so drove through Taco Bell--Of course once I got in the drive through line, I reached for my purse and had left it at work! Scrounged up enough change out of the ashtray (only thing we use it for! (~_~) for a taco and nachos and a glass of water.

Realized I had a heck of a headache (no doubt from forgetting my glasses) so resolved to take a couple of ibuprofen when I got back to work. That made me remember I'd forgotten to take my BP and allergy pills this morning!

Got back to work and decided to through the bag of trash out of my car. Walked over to the dumpster, gave a heave, and realized I had just let go of the taco bell bag, not the trash bag!

This day can not end quickly enough!

Sunday, September 18, 2005


Yesterday I joined a local chapter of the Red Hat Society, "The Ladies With Hat-i-tude."

I'm really not much of a joiner, but after DH's stroke, and moving 160 miles from where we had lived the last 13 1/2 years, I needed something for just "me." So with that driving me, there I was yesterday at noon, resplendent in my purple shirt and red hat that doesn't go!

It's a swell bunch of ladies, and I felt at home. Of course there was laughter, food and wine, so it was my kind of good time!

I probably never would have done this without the impetus of DH's stroke. Sometimes life pushes us to journey places we never dreamed of going.

It's not necessarily a bad thing.

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but to slide in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming WOW . . . What a ride!"~Anonymous

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Update: 5 1/2 Months Post Stroke

Our last "normal" day was March 31, 2005, but we didn't know that then.

We had gone to dinner at a new Mexican Restaurant, watched a little TV, and went to bed. He tells me (I slept through this part) that he woke up about 11pm because he smelled something burning. He looked outside and didn't see anything, and went back to bed.About 2AM he woke me up, saying something was wrong. He was dizzy, couldn't walk without stumbling, and had what he described at the worst headache in his life. So we sat up in the living room for a couple of hours, seeing if he would get better (He'd had one episode where his BP spiked, and I took him to the ER. At least that's what they said it was. Symptoms were similar, but not as severe. I'm not sure he didn't have a stroke then, a couple of years ago).

We went back to bed for an hour or two, and when we woke up he was no better, so I took him to the VA clinic when they opened at 7:30AM. They immediately assessed him and sent him to the local imaging clinic for an MRI. The technician there was not very supportive, and Rollin couldn't handle the tube. I asked to sedate him and he said no. So I took him home, stopping to tell the DR what had happened. He said he would have ordered sedation if the tech had called. I tried, what more could I do? So they said take him home and if he gets worse over the weekend, take him to the ER.

Monday afternoon he had an open MRI. He was still scared, but they let me sit on a chair and hold his hand through the procedure. It was after the VA clinic had closed by now, and so we went directly home. About 5:30PM the DR calls me and says he'd had a stroke. I remember my response "Oh, really?".

He told us to be back at the clinic first thing in the morning. He had some trouble walking the first couple of days, and so they gave him a cane. He only used it once and never needed it again. No paralysis, no loss of speech or body functions. And as I told my girl friends, he didn't drool! (~_~) Sometimes if you don't find the humor in the situation, it becomes way too overwhelming and depressing.He tried to drive that first weekend, before we knew it was a stroke. After he ended up on the wrong side of the road, going the wrong way, he pulled over and I drove (if you knew me, you'd find that amazing--I avoid driving whenever possible). But stroke changes you, not just the person who had it, but the caregiver, too. You should see me drive now. I had no choice for the first three months, if I wanted to go somewhere, I'd have to drive!

Other than short term memory loss (he's a cook by trade, and the first time he tried to cook potatoes for dinner I went into the kitchen and found them turned off. I asked him and he said they were done. Of course I put a fork in them and they were hard as rocks. He'd turned the burner on, turned around, and turned it back off, thinking they were done) he's suffered from fatigue (takes a couple of naps a day) some depression and a lot of short-temperdness.

But we try every morning to hug, to kiss good bye (I work, he doesn't) and to repeat our mantra "Today's a new day."

It does get easier, but every day's a struggle.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


What an exciting day so far, and it's not even noon!

I took my walk this morning and was having a great time. I have a 40 minute route through the neighborhood, a canal/lake walkway, and a small park. The birds were singing, there was a slight breeze, the sun was shining, it was great to be alive!

And then it happened.

Flat on my face on the pavement. Scratched the lenses on my sunglasses, bloodied my knees, hands, and chin. So,after unceremoniously picking myself up from the pavement, I dusted myself off, put my hand to my chin and realized there was a fair amount of blood on it. Walked slowly to the nearest water fountain, rinsed off my hands, chins and knees, and proceeded to find the nearest park bench.Caught my breath, and walked back home, where I was promptly chewed out for not using my cell phone to call for help

Excuse me, I fell, I wasn't mugged! A couple of Ibuprofen later, an ice pack and a brief rest, and I appear none the worse for the wear.

Whew, life is an adventure!

Friday, April 08, 2005


We had a huge scare last Friday morning. My husband, who just turned 58, had a stroke.

I waited 5 1/2 hours before seeking medical treatment. I thought it was "just" another instance of episodic high blood pressure, and it could wait until the VA clinic opened.

Now I know that he had 4 of the 5 warning signs of a stoke. We are lucky that it appears to have been a "minor" stroke. The doctor told me if it ever happened again, he needed to be taken to a hospital within the hour, to prevent permanent and extended damage.

Knowledge is power. Be prepared! The following information comes from the National Stroke Association website (

Stroke is a medical emergency.
Know these warning signs of stroke and teach them to others.
Every second counts:
Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you experience symptoms!
Time lost is brain lost!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

My Italian Charm Bracelets

Each charm has been picked out especially for me, either by me someone near and dear to me. I like to think of it as a "snapshot" portrait of who I am. I have collected and received so many charms, I just started my second bracelet!

American Flag
Pepsi Symbol
U.S. Navy
Key to My Heart
Camera (Charm has since fallen off)
Texas Map
Mt. Shasta
Gold Beach, OR
Friends 4 Life
Fortuna Huskies
Redding Sundial Bridge
I (Heart) Wine

California Dreamin’
G-Five Logo
Hawaiian Hibiscus
Double Hearts
Circle of Friends
I (Heart) My Daschund
Golden Gate Bridge
Lake Havasu
Route 66
California Bear Flag
Mom (Heart) Daughter
I (Heart) Scrapbooking
I (Heart) Sushi
I (Heart) Wine
Red Star