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  • A  blog is a personal journal of your daily life as a stroke survivor or stroke caregiver.  Surprisingly, countless members have called it therapeautic to write down their thoughts and to vent their frustrations.  You can make it private, just for your eyes or public and share your personal thoughts with your friends.  Why not try it, create your blog and start writing and see if it helps you.  

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  • swilkinson

    Living on angel time.

    By swilkinson

    I went to see the neurosurgeon on Tuesday. I was interviewed by a young Asian associate doctor and sent for a 3D MRI and angiogram, a brand new way of showing  the blood supply within the brain. The results were given to me by the associate and then I saw the specialist. It appears the aneurysm is larger and deeper than previously thought but at my age they are not going to operate as it would mean a full brain surgery. Coiling, one method of dealing with an aneurysm, is not an option. I think I was a little bit shocked by the news but taking into consideration I have had the melanoma op, the lymph node dissection etc I am not really a good candidate for another operation, especially brain surgery.   The specialist was fairly brutal because I think  he wanted me to know if I wanted an operation it had to be after I got a clearance from the melanoma specialist and that would take time. He said he knew I had a long wait ahead of me but not to worry.  Not to worry!!! So back to basics, no stress, no strenuous exercise, no * blush, sounds like no fun at all. So what can I do? As usual make some decisions, live a quiet life, let the future take care of itself, one day at a time. Hell's bells, what else is new?   So I have a plan. I have to just go on the way I always have, going about my usual routine one day at a time. Whenever I start to worry I will visualise that little bubble about the same size as the tiny diamond on my engagement ring. I will visualise a tiny angel sitting alongside the aneurysm, with her thumb firmly on top of it holding it in place. I know one day it may be that she will take her thumb off and the pressure will build up and life as I know is it will be no more. But It will happen to us all one day, in one form or another.   I went to Dissection Clinic down in Sydney today and there have been no changes in the past three months to the Lymphoedema, which is good news. In the interview I told her I had regained my confidence in walking down stairs which had taken a year to do and had recently started yoga again. She seemed pleased with the progress. No more interviews in any of the Sydney specialists rooms until next February. Hurray! I have survived twelve months since the melanoma was removed and six months since the operation to remove the lymph nodes. I have a lot to be thankful for.   My daughter took me to both appointments, I was so glad she had the time. We stopped for lunch today before we left Sydney and although it was expensive it was a happy time and one we rarely enjoy together. She also got the news today that the position she holds as Captain of the Cardiff Corps has been extended for another twelve months which is good news for me. If she had been moved it might have been a lot further away. Her husband's appointment has also been extended. Though he will now have a wider area to cover, which means a lot more time on the road. But she said he can cope with that.   On a less happy note my special friend who has the leukemia has now been in hospital for eight weeks and he now seems to be getting much weaker. I have been a regular visitor and it is painful to see the deterioration. With all the people  I  have ministered to in hospital you would think I would get used to seeing that happen but I never do. I am always an optimist, thinking with the right treatment, an adjustment to their medication etc they will be fine. But that is not always the case. So maybe there is more bad news to come.   There are signs of Spring now, birds building nests, green grass after a little rain, even some blossoms on the prunus trees in the parks we passed today. Hopefully the nights will warm up and we can start packing away the winter clothes. I have no plans, the future is a blank canvas. Don't think there is much fun and excitement ahead but who can tell? If I wake up breathing and moderately energetic I will endeavour to have a good day.    
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happy Dance

Every year I have a CT with contrast, It was scheduled the day after 2019, on 01-02-20, I received a call from my neurosurgeon's office, I got a clean bill of health, the only recommendation is a follow up CT in one year      

Jayallen

Jayallen

1 year old soon

Thanks Sue for the push to write.   Blogging has always been hard for me. The words don't always make it from my brain to my fingers. HAHA. Some would argue that the word don't go from my brain to mouth.  I would have to agree with that one.  I never seem to have something to write about for the thought doesn't stay in my head long enough. But I'll try:    In March, my mom and I are driving to Florida, via North Carolina to stay with my sister and family. I was going to fly  but it was going to be costly. It will be my grandson's first birthday. I'm excited to go and see him. My father, drives an activity school bus now that he had retired from teaching, and used all the money he earned and booked us a room for 7 days. I am beyond being u[set not seeing him as much as I would love to but I know I'll be the coolest Mimi ever.   That's about as far as I can think of writing. I'll have pictures for sure

ksmith

ksmith

 

FLU

The best laid plans of mice and men! Well my new year intent was sabotages by a bout of nasty flu. It attacked my muscles and they ached terribly. It even affected my walking and it felt like I was going backward. On3e night of heavy blankets and sweating and the fever broke an by Thursday I felt better but was washed out energy wise so I decided the better path was to rest and recuperate so cancelled Yoga and Gym. I also had a presentation scheduled for Sunday and wanted to conserve energy for that. Monday felt sufficiently well that I returned to gym. Im trying to regain some stamina I can manage 9 Mins on the elliptical followed by a circuit of weights. I m incrementing it slowly and Im a long way from the 45 mins and weights I used to do. I may never regain that but Im still pushing for it all be it slowly.   Reduced exercise and eating out hasn 't helped the weight loss but theres always the coming week! Wed: in bed with Flu THr: took it easy Fri: took it easy Sat: travel to Phoenix: ate out Sun: Presentation . second since stroke Mon: Back to Gym Tue: Acupuncture Weight 182lbs    

KevRider

KevRider

 

Another RV trip complete

The rv trip I had mentioned to Texas is now complete. All in all a good trip. Mum handled it well but it is likely her last trip in the motorhome. She had an increasingly  Hard time moving about and her interest level seemed less than before. So Lesley and I have decided that we will just take shorter trips from now on and leave mum with a local caregiver she has become good friends with.   The trip was about 2500 miles altogether and we got to see some friends in Louisiana for a few days on the way home. Several minor things broke on the motorhome but all were fixed while still on the road. We stopped in a small town called Red Bay, Alabama on the way back and had most everything that needed fixing fixed. It is the town where Tiffin motorhomes are made. Ours is not that brand, but the local shops can fix almost anything on any brand. We went to a mostly German area of Texas called Fredericksburg and spent New Years there with some other RV friends. Saw a great WWII museum there and got to wear our German outfits. Lesley her Drindle dress and me my Lederhosen and suspenders.   we took our musical instruments along and practiced and played some. Practice was hard because as soon as I started practicing some people would hear it and show up at the RV and expect me to play songs. At this stage my practice is mostly doing small exercises and not complete songs, so is not easy on the ears! We did however both take our lap harps and show them to our friends in Louisiana. Soon both were playing them with the “cheat sheets” we have for the harps and a good time was had by all.   now we are back home I am seriously practicing again and learning more all the time and enjoying myself immensely. I can only play a few songs fairly well at the moment, but getting better day by day. I am learning to use my left hand (stroke side) a bit more, but it will never be able to play an instrument normally but I can do enough with it to play the Mountain Dulcimer ok. The main thing is that I am having a ball doing it, no matter how it sounds.   Now that we are home again I am forcing myself to exercise again. Not my favorite thing to do but I do enjoy the benefits of being able to do things I enjoy.    Next month Lesley and I are going to Hawaii for a week, and that will complete all 50 states for me. Lesley completed her 50th state when we went to Alaska a few years ago. Other than Hawaii  We don not have any major trips planned this year, but will likely go to a music festival   Or two along the way.   enough for now, just a word of sorrow for Sue’s great country fighting massive fires. Best wishes, prayers with you all.

GeorgeLesley

GeorgeLesley

 

A New Year. A New Word

Well, it's new year, and I am feeling pretty positive about life.   I started following an art challenge, and am happy with the progress I am making. I started off the year by going to an art retreat with a good friend who is very talented. My word for the year is LEARN.  As in learn new things.  Learn Acrylic painting - I am signed up for a class that starts next week. I have a bit of aphasia when I get overstimulated, and I am now at the point where that won't stop me.  If I explain that I had a stroke, it will be ok. Learn Watercolour painting - This is something I have been doing for the past 5 years or so, and the stroke slowed me down, but I am working on regaining what I lost. Learn to be gentle with myself - This is a really hard one, as I beat myself up when I can't speak or can't figure something out. As a fellow survivor said he says to himself "Back off!  You had a stroke!!!" Most days are good, but I am always thrown when something happens to remind me that it happened at all. I need to remember that it is a minor setback, not a permanent loss.   Thanks for reading this.     SueC        

SueC

SueC

Presentation

A goodly amount of travelling reduced mu exercise program but still:- Wed: Yoga joined by my wife. Thu: Gym Fri: drove tp Phoenix ate out. Sat: event & drove home. Sun. Day off. Mon: Drove to Sedona and made presentation. Ate out. Tues drove home got sick - feels like a flu.   The big challenge for the week was returning to public speaking. Especially as I still have trouble controlling speech. I was sufficiently concerned that I had a dream 2 days before that I could not speak at all like just after my stroke. Anyhow the presentation of 45 mins was almost flawless except for one word that failed to arrive from my head. In an instant my wife called the word and I rolled on to the end, So we were all quite pleased 🙂   I managed to avoid snacking thru the week but eating out twice this week I didn't actually gain weight but did not loose any either.  

KevRider

KevRider

 

By George, I Think He's Got It

All I want is a room somewhere, Far away from the cold night air…
Lots of chocolate for me to eat, Lots of coal makin' lots of heat…
Warm face, warm hands, warm feet…Oh, wouldn't it be loverly?
Loverly, loverly, loverly, loverly…   Her day had been quiet allowing her much time to do a bit of baking and wrap a few gifts during the week of Christmas.  She really hadn’t got him anything aside from a lamp that projected the solar system on the ceiling to add to his light collection, his favorite chocolate, and a T-shirt.  Of course, she would have no gifts from him unless she bought them for herself.  Basically, she didn’t want anything material.  Their dog always benefited the most.  She would wrap squeaky toys, balls, and chew bones for him to eagerly tear off the wrapping, toss and play while adding his scent to each new gift.  It delighted them both to watch him enjoy this moment of spoiling.   It was a few days past the Christmas holiday into the New Year.  While she had only sparsely decorated in the room he spent most his days it seemed the season came and went with the same vigor.  There weren’t many packages adorned with vibrant bows or stockings hanging from the fireplace mantel.  In fact, this year was the least of all years in which she adhered to the compulsion of decorating every nook and cranny for the holiday season.  Somehow, taking care of him and the importance of it over shadowed anything else.  These days she just wanted him to be comfortable.  For herself, she desired simplicity. Thus the easy removal of a tree and a wreath that acknowledged the season assisted it to come and go just like that.   The film, My Fair Lady is a 1964 American musical comedy-drama film based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 stage play, Pygmalion. 
Starring Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle and Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins the film won eight Academy Awards including best picture. The story focuses on an impoverished flower girl that had bad speaking ability and became the substance of a wager by a phonetics professor claiming that he could teach her proper English. The substance of the play comes to be more about the two falling in love aside their difference more than winning a wager.  While, (spoiler alert) Eliza conquers the quest to speak proper the professor suddenly becomes aware she meant more to him than a bet.   After tucking her stroke survivor and the dog in for the night she settled herself in the recliner in the front room to watch a movie as she often did in the wee hours of the night.  She found it comforting to just lose herself in movies. On any given day she could scroll through the list of recorded movies or shows and find he had duplicates, triple, or even quadruples in the library because he wouldn’t remember he had already recorded the movies.  It was an on going thing they discussed because if too many movies were recorded or the box was full they could not record future shows.  She realized he had trouble remembering how to get to the list of movies on file thus why he would record over and over.  So, on this evening she began the clean up as usual only this time to her shock she noticed a few movies, One being My Fair Lady, that were in the recordings and she had not recorded them.  Suddenly, a tune from the move popped in her head.  “By George, I think he’s got it! He’s got it! He’s got it! By George, I think he’s got it!” In that moment her heart was full. He could not have given her a better gift if he had paid for such.  Reflecting back to when she was a young girl she recalled how her family would focus on giving gifts that didn’t cost anything and how most of those gifts meant more than one’s bought in a store.  Clicking play she settled in with hot cocoa, a fuzzy blanket, and a movie that was gifted to her by him.   It has been almost five years that she became a caregiver.  Over the course of those years the journey has been a hard climb with very few easy steps. Yet, she through out their journey has focused on finding ways to help him live with in the means do-able with his new life.  Cognitively, he has not returned to an intellectual place like before his stroke and lives mostly in years gone by that linger in his high school and college days.  It was a time she was not a part of and didn’t appear in his memory. Still, she follows a regiment to talk about things they have always done together with hope that he will catch up to today.  Depriving her self of much most often to care for him she knows it will never be the same.  She also desires for him to talk about their dating years or wedding with her even though she knew it is unlikely.  “Just take time for your self and don’t focus on what cannot be,” rang in her head.  As Professor Higgin’s sings, “I’ve grown accustom to her face,” bringing the movie to it’s finale she got out of her head an embraced the awareness of simplicity; that simplicity that she wished for silently.  At the same time she acknowledged his gift. No words needed to be spoken.  Suddenly, she was aware that He had remembered her love for musicals. With that she turned off the TV, went to bed, and drifted off to sleep with the tune… Oh, wouldn't it be loverly?Loverly, loverly, loverly, loverly…sounding in her head.
 

Strokewife

Strokewife

 

The word for this year

My word for this year is "SING". This came about in a strange way. I was in a lift and when I got off the man who had been in the lift stopped me.He said: "When you hum are you singing the words in your head?". I had to think about that but the answer was "yes". I was a bit embarrassed really as humming in company is not exactly good manners. Then the man smiled at me and said: "Oh you are a mind singer like my wife and daughters!". I had never heard of mind singing but was relieved that humming to myself didn't make me mad! I had always wondered if it proved I had a slightly odd mental illness!   The other reason is that I can feel joy or find joy in a day in retrospect but I want more than that now, I want my heart to sing for joy whatever is going on in my life. In other words I want to rise above the things that happen that I have no control over and be happy anyway. I have known for a long time that happiness is not dependent on what is happening around me but is the result of what is happening inside me. I want to put what I know into practice. So I am going to use singing to lighten my mood on those days when the pity party is striking up the band.   The new year has brought terrible bush fires to Australia, millions of acres burnt out, loss of farms and forests, thousands of animals killed. Also some loss of life among the human population.Some of what has been lost will revegetate when we finally have rain but many small animals, rare plants and environments like rain forests will never return. Thousands of people are homeless and emergency services are stretched to the limit. Although the fires in some places have been burning for months emergency services are only just being boosted with defence personnel. I won't go into,the politics of that!   As usual in a crisis in Australia people rise to the occasion and offers of all sorts of help flood the internet and other forms of media. People do sincerely want to help and support victims and those who will care for the burnt and injured wildlife. Lions Clubs have a fund called LCIF, the Lions Clubs International Foundation and they will act as a clearing house for donations sent in by small clubs like ours and also are able to draw  on disaster funding from overseas. That is one of the reasons I am a Lion - we help people in an emergency situation.   Many people are donating through charities like the Red Cross, RSPCA and various Wildlife funds. Of course the famous people who have access to moneyed people or have money themselves are offering money, in most cases directly to the bush fire services. I am most impressed that Pink! a singer I am  a fan of has donated $500,000 because she says Australians have been so good to her. Well I guess we have been good to many others too, she is just the one to step up first. Bless her.   My next door neighbours were holidaying on the south coast of New South Wales, camping by  a lake when the fires swept through and burnt out their car and caravan. Just before the fire hit they were taken out by boat into the middle of the lake by a kind stranger and from that vantage point saw it all happening. They were offered accommodation for a couple of nights before family members managed to get through enough road blocks to bring them home. I, like so many, was praying hard for their safety. They are a good family and great neighbours and I am fond of them and their four children. That sort of event is certainly a test of anyone's faith.   My daughter and her family are moving today to a new location, only 6kms from where they live now but still a big upheaval. They were to have a week away last week, several days of which were in Canberra over the New Year holiday period but the fireworks were cancelled due to the bush fires and smoke pollution from the bushfires in the Snowy Mountains so bad in that city that they returned early. We make plans in life but as we all know here our plans can change for many reasons. In the face of so much greater tragedies this is just a small price to pay for simply being alive and having a home to go to as my daughter said to me.   My son Trevor and granddaughter Alice will arrive here sometime around midnight. Alice told her father he had to go to bed early as they were leaving at 2am but he vetoed that idea on the grounds that there would be too much wildlife out on the highway. It is a long drive here from Broken Hill so they will both be very tired when they get here. I don't know how we will fill the ten days they are here because it will depend a lot on the temperatures, over 40 degrees (105) and I try not to go out. But there is a chance of rain tomorrow so maybe we can stay home and just catch our breath for a moment.              

swilkinson

swilkinson

 

Happy New year

Happy New year everyone.hope you all had wonderful year. For our family 2019 year was filled with lot of joy.  most importantly our son got into one of the top medical college in the USA making all of us so happy & proud of him. & he already finished his first semester there & enjoying himself, he has great set of friends & amazing professors who all are all great doctors who want to make a difference in people's life, & according to him none of his professors have any big air around them, they treat their students  as if these kids will be their future collaborators, so every one is treated with lot of respect, I guess I need to start treating him like adult & not child & micromanage whenever he comes home for holidays. lesson for mom to learn.  now change of subject,   I am not a person ever to make resolution for new year, but this year after reading my favorite blogger's blog I have decided to do two important things for year 2020. I have decided to do good things jar for 2020.  its kind of gratitude jar where you put good things that happened during week & you open it on next year end & relive those memories, which felt as a great exercise to try, so I am going to try this year. Also planning to do one word mantra for this new year 2020. lot of time when I am trying something new I freeze with fear  and with all useless thoughts of how I am not good enough or smart enough or I will mess up big time. so this year I am making my new year mantra to be "just Do it". Nike slogan. I know taking that one step in right direction & you can always finish your project on time, so I am going to recite my that one line mantra for year 2020 when I freeze. wishing you all happy, healthy & prosperous new year. hope some of you join me in this bandwagon of doing this good resoluion. I am happy kevin from our chat group is going to give it a try.   Asha    

HostAsha

HostAsha

 

A New Year

So it's 2020! I'm not usually into blogging or journals etc. But some times I loose track of my recovery and dip into depression. Every day seems such and effort and I try and keep an attitude of gratitude, for still being here if nothing else. Daily improvement is so slow that I loose sight of my baseline, which is I can out after the stoke paralyzed in both limbs on the left side and unable to speak. Yesterday was New Years Eve and my last physio therapy session in which I ran. My recovery has been amazing or so I'm told 🙂 that's another reason for gratitude. So I'm starting this (we will see if I mange to maintain it.) Another member was saying they are starting to keep a jar in which they write about something good that's happened in the week and put in the jar. So this I will use as the jar and set my goals for the coming year. 1. Write a post about at least one god thing that's happened every week. 2 Get to the gym at least twice a week unless out of town. 3. Use the treadmill at home if not going to gym.  4. Take Sundays as a relaxation day and do nothing. 5 Loose some weight - now 191lb I was at 175 before the stroke.   OK off to the gym.

KevRider

KevRider

 

Heart Attack Christmas Eve

I was sitting in a movie theater watching a movie enjoying some popcorn with my son and all of a sudden I started feeling like I really needed to get my bra off eyebrow is way too tight then that pain radiates down my left shoulder and arm and even my hand and I thought something's not right here I just couldn't get a full breath even with that darn tight bra off and I did something which I never thought I do in my lifetime I leaned over and I asked my son if he could please unhook my bra because I needed to get it off.   Mom is watching the movie I had to keep covering my eyes because it was like being in an IMAX theater those the side effects were just overwhelming and I was wondering am I having a heart attack or is this my vestibular system making it very difficult for me to enjoy watching a movie. So then after a few minutes I decided to got my son again and tell him that I just couldn't do this movie so I got back into the wheelchair and he rolled me to the bathroom because I always have to go to the bathroom. So while I was in the bathroom I made the decision that I better get this checked out. So as my son rolled me to the car I was saying honey I'm just not feeling good so when he got me fast and in the seat belt and he was behind the wheel I put my hand on his and I said I want you to stay very calm and listen to what I'm saying and not panic I need to go to the hospital because I think I'm having a heart attack.     So I was okay in the car driving there but as soon as they got me out of the car and we're rolling me into the emergency room I was finding it very hard to catch my breath and it was very uncomfortable feeling and the pain that had just been kind of an a was now an intense pain and pressure and I knew I was having a heart attack and all I kept saying is please let me breathe please let me breathe and it kept asking me questions that I just couldn't answer my son was answering them for me so I was okay in the car driving there but as soon as they got me out of the car and we're rolling me into the emergency room I was finding it very hard to catch my breath and I just kept saying please let me breathe please let me breathe and I need oxygen I told the person over and over but she just kept asking questions and I couldn't answer them my mind was just focused on one thing I need to braid my son was answering the questions and I was so impatient and I think I said something that was kind of rude and my son does not like to see me behave that way why does have no filter and he just intervened and said I really think that she needs to have some oxygen and so then they took me right back to the bed and then the doctor came in and was asking some questions it was all moving so fast and people were coming at me hooking me up to things and that was overwhelming they were moving at lightning speed and I couldn't keep up with what they were saying but I was trying and I was really annoyed at everybody you were trying to save my life. He asked me to come over to the gurney from a wheelchair yeah I was super annoyed cuz they didn't have the little step stool and this is kind of sadly hilarious.   So what was kind of weird was that the person kept saying that they were really not allowed to use the stepping stool for people like patience and then she said well really the staff is not even supposed to use those and so I just blurted out then why is it in the building? And of course my son started saying come on come on you can do it up in the bed up in the bed which was code for oh you better stop talking. So then I was able to get up in the bed and then it's all just sort of a whirlwind after that I ended up upstairs and of course and no I'm trying to do what they tell me but also I'm needing to go home so that I can maintain my bed at the nursing home. There's a big long waiting list so I have to go back and claim it as mine and start that clock ticking again. Oh.   I was just getting the hang of being a stroke survivor and now I have to be a heart attack Survivor. But I'm so grateful that nothing happened on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day because my son stayed at my side and I didn't want him to be scarred I said never let this ruin your Christmas because just remember that it's a day to celebrate did I survived and if for some reason I had not made it then know that I was free not now I have another dilemma I need to get some stents so after they did the angioplasty they debated over whether or not I needed to have the bypass or the stent they decided that I'm not healthy enough to recover well from the bypass so they want to just do this dance and said that I'm more likely to you don't know. And I'm grateful because I don't know if I could have been okay with more pain on that level and I was so chicken so it's sort of a good-news-bad-news thing because I kind of need a bypass but all they can do is the skin distant is extremely risky as well but it's a lot less risk and the doctor said that the longevity prediction is the same.   I have to be brave for my loved ones right I'm so scared right now and yet I'm just still so angry that I Christmas was ruined and it doesn't even seem real that all of my problems overwhelmed my body and I could be dying but again I have borrowed time again and I can still spend some more time with my son. But he said to me that we've been spending a lot of time together since Thanksgiving and even before that so that's all it's ever Borton is spending time with their loved ones. And I think of my daughter and remind myself that that's all settled. All I keep thinking is that I having a stroke I felt such peace I didn't have this thing xiety it's like with the heart attack I told him that I felt grief like I was grieving I was so painfully grieving and having such bad anxiety when I had my stroke I was just so peaceful and then I remembered how peaceful I was in the car telling my son to take me to the hospital and it seems like the real Panic came when I couldn't take my breath so maybe that's why.   Time is wish you a very they Happy New Year and may you be blessed to spend time with those you love and thank you for the love and support I know I can always some in here God bless all of you.

SassyBetsy

SassyBetsy

 

Kick back, relax, Christmas is over.

After Christmas is over there is a short period where I can relax and recover from that chaotic run-up to Christmas that happens every year. There is always far too much to do in December and I wore myself once more. As usual I accepted too many party invitations but probably enjoyed them less than usual. This year being invited to a so called party meant paying your own way at the designated venue, usually a restaurant or Club, then in my case trying to find things I could eat with no dairy or unidentified oils because of my bad reaction to Palm oil. So I had lots of salads with the first course and fruit salad for the second. Very little joyful celebration this year with bad news coming in daily from the bushfires ravaged inland towns there seemed little to celebrate.   I did slip in a one week visit the first week in December to Trev in Broken Hill. It was a good week, we had smoke from the bushfires here but out in Broken Hill it was hot and dusty but not smoky and I felt better than I had for a while. Because of the trauma 30 years ago from the viral pneumonia I have damage at the bottom of my right lung so can get short of breath. The smoky air seemed low on oxygen and so being away from the coast was a bonus. I left a bag full of purchases with Trevor as one of the local stores had a closing down sale and I found a lot of curtains, linens etc at bargain prices which Trevor will bring with him when he comes for a visit with Alice in January.   Broken Hill is a broken town in many ways. I guess you don't think when you buy those items on eBay or Amazon that you are taking purchasing power away from your local community, so a tourist like me can make a difference. The new type of older tourist couples  with the big new caravans unfortunately no longer bring in the income to small towns that the old fashioned ones did. Now tourists only go into the major supermarkets to buy goods not into the little owner operated stores, so smaller towns are losing trade to the larger towns. It is such a shame. What can a small town do but reduce shopping hours and in many cases local run stores close down.    Someone staying locally as I do has time to browse around and spend on locally produced goods. For instance I go into the Sufi shop to buy curry powders, or Ferries Haberdashery to buy odds and ends, a crochet hook, wool, cottons, all kinds of small gifts. I stop and chat and just enjoy being there. Trevor is struggling now he has only his cleaning job so I do some extra shopping for him while I am there. And there is the joy of the Tip Shop, the old shed converted into a second hand shop that is used to raise money to keep the suicide counseling phone service Lifeline going. The suicide rate particularly among men in our inland towns has risen dramatically with the drought and now the bushfires devastating our agricultural lands beyond the ranges are a bigger worry.   Our Lions Christmas raffle this year will bring in very little money. We get our spot at the shopping centre at management's discretion and were placed near one of the side doors where there was little through traffic and as a result sales were minimal. We will make a profit from Christmas cake sales as our cakes are good value and many people told us although they had trouble finding us they do not like to go without a Lion's Christmas cake. I did twelve half days on sales and struggled to find time for everything else I had to do. But  in a way that is a basic part of my pre-Christmas run-up. I have been selling tickets in a succession of raffles for Lions since Ray joined the Club in 1984.   As usual I went to church at 6pm Christmas Eve and 8.30am Christmas Day. The evening service was as in previous years just hilarious. The church secretary's sons had a succession of roles in the Nativity play and their mother stood at the back of of the church ready to turn the three shepherds into angels and turn angels into kings as we sang carol after  carol. I don't go to the 9pm service but am ready to go at 8.30am. it is a good way for me now to start my Christmas morning before plunging into last minute preparations for Christmas lunch which was at my house this year, the first time for five years.    It was lovely to have five out of six grandchildren with me and Craig and Shirley and Pam. Unfortunately Steve and his new partner  Alison never join us for Christmas. My eldest grand daughter  Tori helped me set up the spare table and the three older ones sat there and talked and laughed together. I so miss Ray when I see them like that and think how much he has missed out on seeing them grow up. The  family members do not talk of Ray now and I wonder how much they remember him. The older two grandchildren do remeber him and hopefully remind the younger ones. I notice Oliver who was only five when Ray died goes over and pats the arm of the chair Ray used to sit in so that comforts me.    Christmas time is such a mixed blessing but I am glad at least some of our family can get together for a while and build new memories together. I then have hope and  courage for the months ahead. My life is lonely at times but it is doable. Have a happy New Year everyone, hope it is one of our best!   

swilkinson

swilkinson

 

My brother passed away

My brother the one who was staying with me since Sept - passed on Dec 10, 2019. Bittersweet. We are all doing ok. It was hard on Dan - hard on me. But my brothers passing was not a overly long agonizing death , for that I am thankful.. Nancy

nancyl

nancyl

 

my inner growth is continueing though I am still work in progress

like I have been telling you guys & writing in my this online journal so that I go back & take a look at it again & find  those wise words again when I am wavering when encountering some negative events in life,  I have been attending this discussion format classes in our temple nearby where they are discussing bhagwad Gita sacred& ancient book of Hindu religion. It is teachings of God to prince on the battlefield where he is all torn apart & questioning these basic question that arises in his mind & God answers them beautifully, background of the story is there 5 brothers (pandava)who are righteous & by cunning method of their cousins kaurava who took away their kingdom by cheating them in game of chess, & after long years staying away from their kingdom since they lost it in game of chess when pandava came back to claim back their kingdom as per their agreement & cousins would not give it, so they had to fight their own cousins , Arjuna  head prince of pandavas who was bravest & expert warrior looking right in-front of him his own cousins, teachers from he had learned all his skills  from  on the battlefield, he gert all discouraged & started questioning what he is about to do on the battle field  to his charioteer, who happens to be Lord Krishna himself.  bhagwad Geeta is beautiful questions, answers series  of dialogue between Arjuna & Krishna.  lot of questions Arjuna asks  to God are very relevant & we all human beings also face similar question from time to time. like why should I fight my illness or my family for anything I know I had faced them & was all confuse about what I should do when things got hard in my own life & I had to make decisions, & I feel lucky to have resources like these & made my decisions based on them.  basic teachings of Geeta is following 1, do your duties(Karma) based on your dharma like role you are playing in life,(wife,mother,employee,warrior, whatever role you are playing) 2. don't get attach to results( this was my AHA moment of the class  last weekend, you do your part expecting results, but don't get attach to results, results can go wither in your favor or against you. your job is to do your job without having any expectations, say results don't go your way, so what you don't know whole story, how things will unfold. Only control we have in life is doing our job.  I find I can so relate to Geeta) when things got hard in my life giving up felt so easy, but I held on  tight on strength of my hubby & my family & friends who decided to stay by my side & ofcourse our son was just 7 at the time, I could not do that injustice to him by giving up, I  decided at that time he deserves better mom I will fight tooth & nail & never allow this stupid stroke  to take away joy from my life, Anyway my latest AHA moment was do your duties but don't get attach to results,  my job in this battlefield of life is doing right things let God worry about results on which I don't have any control over.   Asha  

HostAsha

HostAsha

 

New hobby continues

Well my new hobby of playing a mountain dulcimer is moving along very well at the moment. I have been practicing for three weeks now and can play 4-5 songs poorly. Mainly I am having fun and it has rubbed off on Lesley. She has got her dulcimer out and is practicing with me. Playing together has really helped me as she has played off and on now for many years so I am learning from her. Last week She and I went to a day long workshop in the store where I bought mine. Much of it was over my head, but I did pick up several good tips and now have a better idea of where I want to go with the hobby.   i have a much better practice plan now and am more focused on the basics. I won’t be playing in public for a long time but may join the dulcimer group at the local seniors center in the future.   i have learned that picking a hobby is much like my stroke recovery was in the early years. What I mean by that is try until you find what works for you. When I was early in my stroke recovery I tried just about everything I heard of, some worked, some did not. This is my second major new hobby I have tried in the past few years. The first was ham radio. I gave it about six months of serious effort, passed two license exams, bought good new equipment, joined local clubs, but in the end it just was not for me.   i have come to realize in life that if something is not working for you in spite of your best efforts, perhaps it is time to try something else. So, I gave up the ham radio and here I am trying to play music now. The good news is that I am really enjoying this and can see real progress. Easy? No, it takes effort, for me about one hour a day at the moment. Just like my stroke recovery. Longtime readers may remember carrying my canoe in the woods of northern Minnesota was my goal. It took six months of intense rehab, but I still carry it to this day at age 74. Not everything in that rehab worked, but enough did to accomplish my goal.   my other hobbies are driving and working on our motorhome. I still do the oil changes and grease jobs, wash and wax it with Lesley’s help and as much other work as I can although I do not get on the roof anymore. I also have started building models with my Erector and Meccanno construction toys again. The instructor at the music shop I go to also does outdoor photography and I have gone out with him a few times.   So, all in all I have nothing to complain about except my tea cup is empty.   bye for now

GeorgeLesley

GeorgeLesley

 

It's Almost Christmas

It's hard to believe I've been absent from the forums for the past few months. I'm still hosting M & W chat in the afternoons. I enjoy giving time here at Strokenetwork. I have just needed a break. It's been a little long longer than I expected and may not be finished yet. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) has been really tough this year, unfortunately. A few med changes and hopefully soon starting light therapy. I've been keeping to myself but also keeping busy with crafts and DIY stuff for Christmas. I haven't decorated for Christmas in a long while but this year I bought a tree. I have made 75% of the ornaments and more like 85% of other decor. Kitty and I are enjoying the evening ambiance of warm Christmas lights. I was not too sure how she would respond. The last tree I remember having before my stroke, Kitty climbed knocking it over and breaking the stand. This time she gently grazes against the lowest hanging ornaments and lays under the lit tree...napping. She has also enjoyed playing with DIY toys made from bells, ribbon, beads and even an odd pink ball left from past ornaments (mine are shatter proof).    NOTE: Stopped and started again. Just couldn't finish it.   Today is the 12th...halfway to Christmas. I'm going to use this post to be real, talk with myself and hopefully have some clarity. For the pastn  month depression has fallen over me. I just haven't felt well in many ways. Nothing has happened. There is no circumstance or catalyst save the time change which affects more than I ever realize each year. I ask myself "Why?". So I am going to explore that. 1...it's the holidays. 2...it's winter and time has changed. 3...my sleep is so unpredictable. 4...My meds have had some changes. 5...I'm tired physically and emotionally. 6...I feel lonely. 7...Motivation is very much lacking. 8...It's hard to know my focus right now. 9...Everything outside looks gray. 10...I'm socializing less (last month and since September I have been spending time with another stroke survivor {guy} I have pulled away and he is not asking me to dinner anymore. 11...Human contact is at a low. 12...This is the 1st Christmas without my dad and the 2nd without my brother. 13...I am really not improving on keeping my budget. 14...I just feel so unsure, about everything at the moment.   OK I'm sure I didn't figure out every thing getting to me but it's a start. I don't feel any one thing any more than the other and I know it is chemical. I have no reason to feel "depressed" I just am. I've come to accept this understanding that this happens to me kinda like a roller coaster...up and down. (Not too up though...maybe I should say positive and negative). So let it run its course, do what I can to weather it the best way I can, keep my Psychiatrist informed, and not beat myself up. My therapist says "I think you need to give yourself a break. You don't have to analyze it.". In the mean time I am trying to keep myself busy and to find things that feel good around me.    This is the first year I have truly decorated for Christmas since my stroke. So, there is definitely that. The right direction. I have spent the last month crafting and doing DIY projects to make ornaments, decor and to do so without breaking the bank lol. I first decided my theme/inspiration...black and red buffalo check. So I did do some shopping but I have been careful to be conscious of how I spend. I did invest in a tree. I pulled all my old Christmas decor out and tried to fashion my crafts using these. So I bought 3 yards of 3 different material patterns: re/black buffalo check, white/blue with gold thin lines buffalo check and grey/white plaid. I cut each yard into even sqaures big enough to cover my former baubles. I think I had 12-14 of each design. I found old picture frames I had stored and made a plan to paint them and an idea to add decor/art. Picked out ribbon (red/black buffalo check) and a wider burlap ribbone. Bought some dollar store items: wood signs HoHoHo and Believe, some really pretty ornaments (about 10-14 of them)--metal stars, metal snowflakes, metal Christmas signs, clear ornaments with a sprig of evergreen and artificial snow (little balls) and a beautiful winter/Christmas scene made out of irridescent glitter around it, 3 fairy light strings, two types of burlap string black and natural, a few gift bags with nice Christmas designs I could cut out and use, a pack of Christmas wall stickers, a pack of red felt stockings and green trees, 2 red/black buffalo check scarfs, small clear plastic throw away containers with lids, 2 spools of 2 inch holiday ribbon that would coordinate, holiday floral picks, florist tape, florist wire, 2 mini Christmas trees, red and black paper poof banners, 2 calendars with neat farmhouse pics, magnetic tape, puffy sticky tape, a silicone scraper, fingertip covers (for hot glue use), tongue depressors and craft sticks, large yarn needles, pack of paint pouncers, 2 inch burlap ribbon, 4 sheets of black felt, a glittered Merry Christmas sign, green tree wire ties ( they look like Christmas tree limbs), 3 packs of  white dusters (like swiffer dusters that you slide on a handle) and i'm pretty sure a few more things. All of them were $1 each! At Hobby Lobby I got the large roll of wide buffalo check ribbon, silver ting ting stem pack, white shimmer/sparkly picks (like a boquet of flexible decorated sticks), a buffalo check table runner and 2 placemats, modge podge, acrylic craft paint, irridescent glitter, craft glue, several scrapbook paper sheets with coordinating designs, and a few more things. I also picked up a new glue gun (mine is no where to be found), glue sticks, craft paint brush set, a couple of stencils, a fluffy red blanket and perfect size black framed art pic from Goodwill. I got to work...cutting, glueing, painting, glittering, crafting and coming up with lots of ideas. I put some pictures in thr photo gallery. I am proud of myself and it'sbeginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here.   My thoughts are scattered, confusing. It has affected my speech and thought process...more anomic aphasia and very choppy communication. Heck it's like i can't get a whole sentence out or stay on one subject or get my thoughts out completly. Frustrating. A few days of teary eye blues. Sensitive. A lot of sensory overstimulation. A very exxagerated startle reflex. Headache. Nausea and dizziness. Over sleeping and under sleeping. Stuttering. Increased anxiety and panic attacks. Getting behind sometimes on chores. More vision problems at night. I spend more and more time alone and speak a lot less. Avoiding people. What can I say i'm just in a funk.    At this point I dont even know what my desire is for this post lol. To me it is just scrambled. Regardless, I feel so lucky and grateful to be here. I am working on being in the now...mindfullness. I feel like I am getting better and better at this. At any one moment I have a flurry of feelings and I know they are there. Allowing each feeling to be and not avoid, try to change or justify them. Just let myself feel, recognize and accept. Some feel good, some feel bad but I try to let each experience be ok to feel. Quiet my mind...remove rumination...let it wash over me and then be open for the next wave good or bad. Haha I'm so philisophical sometimes.   I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday. Thank you for letting me babble and be in the moment. Many hugs and much love!   Tracy  

HostTracy

HostTracy

 

Almost hurts too much to share

I just feel like I have to get this off my chest or I'm going to burst. Right now I really need to get my spinal RFA and I'm having to ask the doctor to up my medication because it has been 4 months. I needed it scheduled at the 3-month Mark I can't go beyond that I've told them before. But they were trying to get me in again for the surgery which I have not been well I've had multiple sinus issues in fact I'm going to see a specialist for a second time and get a CT scan this week. That's something minor but it's caused me to have to take antibiotic I don't know if there's something that can improve my not getting so many sinus infections because I've certainly tried everything except to having my nasal cavity drilled bigger and I'm not really think I'm ready to even discuss this treatment. You know there's some the treatment she just might not want to do in life. So anyway I just don't know that I'm healthy enough to go through a surgery. I need to recover from all of the different things that have popped up this year such as my shortness of breath my excessive swelling they put me down as having congestive heart failure but no COPD thankfully but I have pulmonary hypertension which they say well they could do something to improve the blood flow to the lung if they decide that it becomes necessary to so I can't even think about all these things all I know is that I need to get in for a mammogram and all of the things that I needed to do or wanted to do in December is being overshadowed once again this is a horrible horrible demon pain. I mean I go from somebody who's smiling and playing bingo on the weekend to somebody that laying in bed or sitting in the chair and suffering trying not to move. It's all kinds of pain. There's the stinging the burning the stabbing and about any kind of medieval torture that's what's going on on my leg.   But I did go out on Thanksgiving with my son. I had a wonderful day. We like to play video game. We went to a buffet and we not only had turkey but we enjoyed Lobster as well. My son let me order something and so I was really happy and look forward to getting it for Christmas as he is always very generous and grants my wishes and then some. I only wish that I could do the same for him but I guess I did do a lot of that for a long time. But it was just so good to see him and to experience the love he has for me and to feel the love I have for him and we're not shy about expressing and saying it. But as I write this I'm crying because you see that day that Thanksgiving day that I was so thankful for reconnecting with my daughter something just Dreadful happened. When I call the number I got a recording that said it had been disconnected and was no longer in service. So I called her boyfriend's number and it said that I was blocked. So Panda King I immediately opened up the Google Drive where she had sent me many pictures the saying that it was too many to email that this was a better place to look at the pictures and it was gone it wasn't on Google Drive anymore. I guess I was blocked as a user. I mean she just erased me out of her life again. I've gone over and over and over what I ever said to her and I always said how much I missed and loved how many times I wanted to apologize for anything I did and she kept saying that it wasn't about me I hadn't done anything and she acted like I had nothing to be sorry for and what I asked and why she kept saying that it had to do with her. I kept telling her how proud I was of her and the life that she put together for herself. To tell you the truth I am forgotten how many times I talk to her I could go back and count them though I remember and what we talked about I need one because there wasn't that many. And I always kind of felt that because her boyfriend was around and she was talking to him off and on I just felt like she didn't give me much attention during our conversation. But anyway it seems like she wanted to make sure that I knew about the other grandmas in the family her boyfriend's mother and the baby father's mother that my grandson has stayed with which made me feel like an utter failure. But it also hurt me because I felt like she had never brought him around to meet me and visit I could have met her out in the community somewhere even at one of my Hospital appointment we could have gone out and I just don't understand why she never brought him around me that I was somehow those terrible mother that didn't deserve to have contact with the child. But we also talked about how she went and thought out her absent father that since he left when she was a baby she never knew. And I said well I hope that you don't allow your child around a man who was not legally allowed to raise his own children. And she says oh no oh no. It kind of felt like a betrayal but yet I told her that I understand that she wanted to see it for herself and see if she did she said. But I don't know what to believe about anything she ever said during any of those conversations because on Thanksgiving morning when I went to call her I couldn't reach her I couldn't reach the boyfriend and I've been blocked from the pictures. So my best friend trying to cheer me and give me hope said maybe it had to do with the phone service maybe she didn't pay the bill maybe this maybe that but it all comes down to know I was certainly intentionally blocked I kept telling her how proud I was of her and the life that she put together for herself. to tell you the truth I am forgotten how many times I talked to her I could go back and count them though I remember and what we talked about any John because they wasn't that many. And I always kind of felt that because her boyfriend was around and she was talking to him and I didn't feel like I got the attention during the call. And then she told me how she went and looked up her absentee father but since he had left when she was an infant she never knew. I said well I certainly hope that she wasn't having that child around him because he was not legally allowed to raise his own children. She assured me she wasn't but it did feel like a betrayal but I tried to understand her need to see it for herself. All of that was so unimportant I just was so happy hearing her voice. I always hoped I would hear it again but I didn't know what to hope for. But then I found out she had been close to me a few times when she came to visit friends and I just ask her why didn't she come see me the baby to see me and she just cut me off and said well the priority was for the baby. As if a nursing home or something that was going to be a bad thing on a baby. But I did find out that and it appears to be at a boyfriends house and she met the boyfriend because the mother was there at the hospital when the young man had a lung transplant and so she was offered a place to come live out of the Ronald McDonald House and that was a few years ago and she's been there and then the man tells the part of his family she's not married but I want to she says. But when I was talking to her I caught her in quite a few lies about things she kept saying how she loved the baby's father so much and had to work it out that taking a nice parenting plan Etc. But as I recall she said she did not love the baby's father and that the baby was an accident but she was going to have the baby and she couldn't decide whether she was going to give him up for adoption or not but then of course when he had congenital problems that needed surgeries that was off the table and it was too late for an abortion so there she was with a sick baby and nobody to help her so the baby's father has done a good job of taking care of the baby in fact I think that he has custody of the baby because most of the pictures were taken it seems not by her and she was in hardly any of them anyway the parenting plan of the future will be that he gets the boy when it comes time for school and I said well where is he now and she said with his dad though she hadn't had him at all this year because she's been sick she said and she kept telling me what the doctor was looking for apparently she was having a hard time getting the doctor to do an MRI because of symptoms she was giving him and she just kept saying different things about how she was sick and I said well what you're talkin about is usually fatal it has to be treated is this what you're talking about and it's like she just kept wanting to make me afraid that she was dying and I kept saying well go to the doctor find out exactly what it is because a lot of things mimic things so you've got to go to a specialist and get diagnosed don't just look on the computer and think your doctor has to go looking for this it was the strangest thing. I mean I've never talked to her about my breast cancer scare but believe me I wanted people telling me so it's going to be fine it's nothing I mean I wanted them to flat out lie to my face I wanted that hope. so it was very strange that my daughter kept talking about how she had this life-threatening illness probably and that she would most likely have to get on disability and I said you're only 27 get to a good specialist and I'm sure that you're not going to have to be on disability. well she told me how awful working was on her body and I just got this feeling. She wanted to get disability like her boyfriend who was indeed quite ill but doing okay at this time. well I asked if they were going to get married because I worried that would the mother still allow her to live there if the worst happens and he passed away I mean the mother may be happy that her son is happy but maybe the mother didn't expect him to survive or something. but I didn't say any of that I held my tongue of course those are the ranting fears of a mother at midnight. anyway I just praised her and encouraged her to have hope go check out the doctors and please keep me up to date and she asked me about my health but she didn't really want to listen to me go on about it. she never tried to talk about anything except a few things on her agenda tell me that she's probably dying the way that she looked up the deadbeat share pictures that the boys being taken care of the father because she's too sick to take care of him and all I did was support her and she led me to believe that she was happy talking to me and that she wanted to be informed about things. I guess I didn't talk about the things she wanted to talk about she asked me if my son is still around me and I said well yes and she answered well of course. so they had a falling out which she holds me responsible for but I just waited for her to say something else I didn't want to get into an argument. so she told me that she was going to be cooking on Thanksgiving and then going to her boyfriend's family later in the evening to eat and I said well sounds like you're going to be busy if I don't get a chance to talk to you before tomorrow then I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving she sounded very happy. and then I go to call the number like she knew I would of course I would of course I would contact my family member on Thanksgiving who's my daughter who whom I've been very close to during her teenage years and only after the stroke things were so horrible. But that's probably wishful thinking and if my son's any indication the problems go way back. In fact my adult son as always use the phrase doesn't she remind you of someone. Yes I put up with that peekaboo Behavior from the deadbeat finally figured out that the only reason he returned was that he delighted in looking at the Fallout. he like to be told how much he was missed and how important he was and how much everybody cried and how we felt because he wasn't there at some important holiday. but he was not remorseful for choosing not to be there he would blame it of course on me with some ridiculous story that my adult son has thoroughly quizzed him about all these things and my son has decided that the man is nuts and I'm remorseful. He's very anti-social believe me it's hard to lose take legal custody away unless they must so I had physical and legal and so he looks at it now that the children were taken away from him like he had no hand in it. but the courts had said he could go to supervised division again hoping to somehow reunite the children with their father. But he never did it he uses the excuse that he was out of state and that he just wanted to take his kids out of state. I think the court had a pretty good idea that if those kids left the state I would never see them again. I saved those children I raised those children I love those children nearby children and yet they are still his in a way he does not deserve my son says he likes the way things turned out they turned out the way they were supposed to and he's talked to his father over 10 years he listens but he tells me Mom he's never been interested in getting to know me he just talks about you and I said yes I am going to be the only senior citizen in the nursing home that probably still needs a restraining order. I never was in a support group for single mothers I was a good role model and I was proud of who I was and I worked like crazy and I put them around other family members that loved us and friends that cluded Us and Them. they never wanted for anything well I mean they wanted thing what kid doesn't drive their mother and saying about wanting thin.gs.. it's good that my son he worked for his first car but not my daughter I helped her out.. and yet she's jealous of him.        my friend says don't feel insecure as a mother and I said no what's done is done dealing with stroke problems not parenting problems but I sure didn't need a broken heart right now. first time is always protected me and never passed on anything that we're in his communication with it father. only the beginning I asked and then I said no don't tell me. he said no he would not do that to me and he said don't worry about all his word vomit. well my daughter was not as kind. and so I was dealing with all of those emotions so old and dead and unnecessary. I had a professional career and it was cut down because of a stroke he was old news. Anyway it looks like my daughter enjoys his tricks. so my very best friend says to me will don't judge her you don't know what's going on. And I said look I am judging her but I didn't say anything that was judging her but I'm trying to find out who she is now because I don't recognize her and I came to the conclusion that I was proud of her and the conversations were nice I tried to be supportive when she said that she thought that she had something that might be terminal you know I just I acknowledge that could be real symptoms but maybe not something so Dreadful I was not judging her until I got that phone message and then I was like I've been played for a fool she does not love me she is not miss me and I'm kidding myself and my friend couldn't see that that was killing me. always wanted to be accepted by her mother and all she heard and me was that I was being judgmental I don't know perhaps we all hear what we want to hear and so that's why I'll never understand what went on all I know is that daughter disappeared again cast of focus on but I have one good child who cares about me and that's okay maybe after all this time my daughter will find what sea name I hope so but I can't be worried about it anymore and I guess it's obvious she can manipulate things and people and she's going to land on their feet and of course iiove her I want her to call me now. She punishes me for having a stroke, leaving her to fend for herself alone. She blames her brother for not helping her more. But he did. She quit her job. Anyway my happiness never lasts long.        

SassyBetsy

SassyBetsy

 

Time flies...

Well I complained last month about how fast October went and so indeed did November and we are a week into December already. My life is back to being routine again. It took a lot longer than I expected to get over the brain op to clip the aneurysm and it was difficult for me to go through that but I feel I am back to normal now. Thank goodness. I can deal with a whole day now without a nap, do three things in a day instead of two and don't have to run home for a nap between 2pm and 3pm. I found that so restricting so I am glad that time is past.   Now I am more energetic I am also busier. I hadn't been out to Broken Hill for ages so this time I went for nine days, including a weekend when Trev had Alice and his birthday when she came to him after school. It was hot and dusty but I preferred that to being on the Coast where it is smoky from the distance bushfires and the air quality is very poor. Our bushfires have been burning for weeks now and every westerly winds puts a pall of smoke over the coastal plains. I am not allergic to the smoke but a lot of people develop asthma from it so the hospitals are full.   I have been selling raffle tickets for Lions three half days a week at Bateau Bay Square our local shopping centre so the week fills up pretty fast. I quite like it as I am on with another Lion's Club member and so we chat between customers, we are dealing with the public and I find people interesting and from time to time I catch up with a friend I haven't seen for a long time. I am finding it difficult though to keep up with my usual housework and gardening so find myself doing things like ironing in the evening to keep it up to date.   There is a lot to do with all the end-of-year events. I went to the WAGS Christmas party yesterday. Seemed down in numbers from a few years ago as sadly we have lost a few of our members. One of the guests at my table was going back years trying to recall names, she has had a stroke. Seems she has plenty of long term memories but seemed to have very little short term memory. She and I worked together 28 years ago and she recalled several incidents that happened during that time. She has a mobility problem but still has a great sense of humour and I think that is what attracts people to her.   I am blessed with some wonderful people in my life. People who others might consider insignificant I know as prayer warriors, cheer leaders of other people with disabilities, great friends and neighbours. I love people who are a bit different, who have been tested by life and come through it. Those people who are willing to share their experiences and have a great compassion for others. I don't care if my friends are not perfect, do not hold the same opinions I do or come from the same background, in fact I would prefer that they didn't. As long as they can put up with me and my funny little ways..lol.   The two local families will be with me here for lunch on Christmas Day. This is Shirley's idea as she is moving in January and wants the house packed up by then. They will still have a week away at their holiday house. They will need that time to relax and unwind before going through the house move. The house they are moving to is only 6 kilometres from where they live now but everything still has to be packed and unpacked. The house has to be fully functional before she can start her new job. She is going to be an Aged Care Chaplain in a facility that specialises in Dementia  and seniors with other mental illnesses so it is going to be quite a job getting used to her new duties.   Trevor and Alice will be here the first two weeks in January. It is easy to keep Alice entertained now she is seven and the Adelaide kids will be with their Mum so I guess we will have days with them too. I love my grandkids and love to be with them. Okay it is disruptive but January is a month where I have few duties anyway so spending time with them is not a problem. Maybe we can do some things we have put off in other years as Alice is older now. I know Trevor loves to be back on the Coast away from the dust storms and high summer temperatures of Broken Hill for a a while.   Well I probably won't do another blog before Christmas so I will wish you Happy whatever it is you celebrate. For me it is Christmas and unlike the first few years of my widowhood I can actually enjoy it now. Since the brain operation I am even more aware of the preciousness of time and how fleeting our time on earth is. So happy holidays, or happy holy days or whatever has meaning for you and may 2020 be a great year for us all.

swilkinson

swilkinson

 

colonoscopy...

well today was my colonoscopy. My 5th. The reason was for I have pre cancerous polyps. Great news, I have no new polyps.   BUT I have 2 internal hemorrhoids that are the largest he has seen in his 25 years of practice. OH BOY. SO ... I go see a specialist Friday, 13 for a consult . ARGGGGG.. my poor buttocks but two things to take away...1. I had the BEST nap ( thanks to anesthesia) 2for the next 5 years, no colonoscopy.

ksmith

ksmith

 

I am so rattled & feeling loss of great spiritual teacher

when we went on our vacation to India got great news of one of the family member which filled our heart with so much joy that I still smile thinking about that great news, & while coming home from India we got worst news on our whatsapp message which rattled both hubby & me no end & it tears me up every time i think about it I still can't believe death of our spiritual teacher with whom our paths crossed right when I felt like I was drowning  in grief of my stroke  & disability & changes that brought in our life. he was our guiding light to get us through that dark tunnel journey. you know meeting him & bumping into right books at the right time has made me believer of statement teachers will always appears when student is ready. I know for me he was my teacher who helped me navigate those dangerous water of my life's journey.  we have known him for last 15 years, so his death news was totally unexpected, he is renowned teacher of our spiritual books with whom you can discuss things you are trying to understand in life & he will explain in layman's terms without any arrogance of his knowledge or anything. right after my stroke when I was struggling with my self worth issues & my constant struggles with kido in trying to make him try new things & his fights & not getting any thanks in return for trying my best but rather how I was such a pain mom was making me one very frustrated mom & I had asked our teacher how do you find joy in thankless job of parenting or being wife whose husband will only comment or talk if things have not gone wrong in my dish.  his response to my self centered query was brilliant, he just said do your duties as offering to God & you will never expect thank yous in return. It was one of the light bulb going in my head at that time.  I should do my duty as wife & mom with full integrity & good intention without any returns, & I will get my returns when I see my son & family happy & successful in his life. today I know that's the case, so I feel hugely indebted to our spiritual teacher & feeling loss of his life immensely, I still can't believe I will never see him again :(, but I know he has left legacy of 100s of people whose life he has touched in past. he was instrumental in staring summer camp in temple near our home  & starting all these hinduisim classes where adults can meet & discuss all our old scriptures. I know 100s of kids & adults have taken advantage of these great things in our temple in last decade. I was there volunteering till my kido was there in the system, & thanks to that we have been associated with very like minded people in our neighborhood. Even today hubby & I both go & attend one of the classes offered by temple in our neighborhood.  something I look forward to every weekend. I had to write this to get off my chest & mind this news.   Asha    

HostAsha

HostAsha

One more item off bucket list

I am still recovering from the loss of my best male friend last month, but slowly getting some better. His widow has called for help a few times, but not much. That makes me feel like she is finding her own way thru the grief and that is a good thing. I am quite willing to help, but will only do so when asked.   On another note (pun intended), long time readers may remember a blog I wrote in 2014 about wishing I could play a musical instrument. The Essence of the blog was that I have always envied those that can just jam away with reckless  abandon playing an instrument. To set this up, first of all I have no known musical talent. Logic, math, science, mechanics, etc, etc, that’s me.   well for several years now I have watched Lesley play a mountain Dulcimer on occasion. I have wondered if I could play a simple stringed instrument. My concern has always been that since my stroke in ‘06 my left hand fingers move, but not quickly so playing an instrument that requires both hands to be active would be a problem for me.   fast forward to now. A few weeks ago I went to a new music shop that just opened up in our small town. The owner plays and teaches the mountain dulcimer and Lesley knows him. So I went to his shop and talked to him about playing and explained my problem. He smiled and told me that the mountain dulcimer was designed to play only one string with the left hand. Eureka! All I have to do is slide one finger on my left hand back and forth stopping where desired to create the intended note. No multi finger cording with three fingers moving at once needed. Strumming with my right hand is no problem.   So, I bought a very good used mountain dulcimer and a book and few other odd bits and am now practicing some everyday. My song list is limited to a few simple ones at the moment, but I think I can slowly learn to do this thing. I can get lessons at the store and have 4 free ones coming with the instrument. So far I have just practiced at home to get familiar with it. Now I know enough to at least ask questions and have some idea of what he is talking about. When I stumbled thru the first song by myself I really felt as though I had accomplished something I had dreamed of all my life but really did not think I could do.    Lesley has started to slip into my practice room now as well when she hears me practicing. I always let mum know when I am going to practice so she can remove her hearing aids! I will not be doing any concerts anytime soon as my song list is all of two songs at the moment, but hey I have only been at it two weeks.   so one more thing off the bucket list and a new hobby found, something that both Lesley and I can do perhaps together in the future.   well guess that is it for now, just had to crow a bit about another fantasy actually coming to pass.

GeorgeLesley

GeorgeLesley

 

We are back

We just returned  home from our month long vacation to India, Singapore & Malaysia. It was fun filled trip. We had planned to do sight seeing with hubby's side of family in small AC Mini bus, trip was planned by hubby's older brother & we had lot of fun together. I get along well with every one so traveling together is always fun, though because of my unsteadiness on getting up & down tall steps & places if there is no railing,  hubby was always by my side & my sister in laws, so I always felt safe though I did tumble at one place but no major damage. This trip we had planned to visit hubby's childhood friend in Singpore, he has been inviting us for ages, finally we made it happen & had great time with them, attended wedding in India with family & reached home just in time for kiddo's thanksgiving vacation. Kido  is enjoying his college & getting mature day by day & don't seem to hate me any more & do love me. today we decided to go for frozen 2 movie luckily he sat next to me instead of dad & was ok with me holding his hand, one of the highlight for me. my heart filled with joy & gratitude. one of the song in movie which hit  the chord with me, when you are in darkness just take one step at a time & do the next  right thing, don't think about future, just take one step at a time & do the next right thing, & soon you will be out of tunnel. That song is so true, I am here living proof , & lived to tell it while siting at the movie theater with love of my life & holding his hand and feeling grateful  & happy to be alive & surrounded by so much love & happiness. kido & I both loved the movie, hubby was dozing on & off  while both of us were having fun in our own way lol.   Asha  

HostAsha

HostAsha

 

Heart Felt Thanks, I am lucky

How can a month be full of some of the saddest moment and the highest highs and show me where the gratefulness grows.   Today I'm morning a very good friend of mine here in the nursing home that I met shortly after I arrived years ago. There were times when I thought that she was going to outlive me even though she was in her late 90s. It's a mystery that she did not reach a hundred I'm told but I'm not sure which number after 5 she reached but anyway there she was sitting at the table with the deck of cards I know I seen her before and she always was playing solitaire. Even in the dining room I would see you're playing solitaire waiting for her food or waiting to be taken somewhere. She never went anywhere without her cards. No I was too caught up in my problems with my leg but when they did get me on a good management plan I would go into the common room pretty often and see her there.   One day she just called me over and safety want to play cards he talked clear and she seemed to have good vision and hearing and so when I found out how old she was later on I was surprised. But on that first day she taught me how to play double solitaire. I never heard of The Thing but not being a solitaire player I wasn't sure about any of it. But then other people were telling me that she taught her own way but that really wasn't how to play solitaire and of course I had a good laugh over that and that was just fine with me if I was playing my own way.   So then as we got to know each other she sometimes didn't see so well but she was very hard of hearing in fact she needed to wear hearing aids to even hear it all and when they weren't in well we just played cards. Sometimes I'd order food and share it with her in the dining room and we were friends and played cards pretty often. But then as my leg pain would come back I would be in my room more and I wouldn't see her. And she'd come and see what the world was I doing in my room. And sometimes she would come to find out how she could get some more cards. When I first met her her cards were disappearing like crazy. And of course we would get them from the activities director here and pretty soon they said they couldn't give her any more cards. Well then I stopped at the store and I asked my friends and family to send cards and they did sometimes they were kind of cool cards to and then last Christmas my son went to Costco and bought a huge package of playing cards. He said don't give them to her all at once. And I gave her probably a pack of month they weren't disappearing so often and at least she knew that she could come down and asked me how to find some cards and I always had some. And if you could see the look on her face of relief Shear relief as if her very existence relied upon being able to play cards and I think it did. Well this past year I had to spend quite a bit of time in my room and they said well why didn't you just go out in a wheelchair not understanding that vestibular problems that come about as a result of an infection are related to stroke. Let me explain that a little bit more clear every time I had an infection in my body and at this time it was my leg from a lymphedema problem I would have all of my stroke deficits bombard me. Sometimes I would have such shaky hands and no coordination and other times I could barely be able to sit up straight I would just always keep going over to the side it seems like whatever my stroke deficit problems were or enhanced greatly. And nobody wants to leave the room like that. And I had a lot of pain. A leg infection in a leg that already has CPS is not anything anyone should have to live through. But I made it through and I think that I've grown accustomed now to have my legs wrapped but I didn't see your 4 month really it seem like when I was out there she wasn't it just worked out that way. And then when I did see her she says to me you've been away a long time where did you go. And when I explained to her where I was she nodded we exchange the I miss yous. I often wondered why she had never come down to my room but maybe it was harder for her to get around now to. But anyway we were back playing Solitaire again. But this time we were able to go outside and play by the fountain like we did before because she had had a number of fall because she would lean over to reach a card and so they didn't really want her out of their sight. She was also having to use oxygen and there wasn't an oxygen thing on her wheelchair so they would just set it next to her. She wasn't eating in the dining room anymore she was eating in the main common room by the nurse's station. Sometimes I stayed down there with her but when I discovered that they had put her on a pureed diet I couldn't in good conscience eat in front of her. I saw her face that she tasted the food and she just looked disgusted and said Bland. She only ate about 50% before and now she ate even less than that. She was somebody that had watched her weight closely because after all she was an Olympic silver medalist in Diving. She was also in the Canadian Air Force during World War II and taught women exercises during that time. She also spent a lifetime teaching exercises two women everywhere. She was truly inspirational. And here she was always in all the activities and you would just see her playing cards she loved to play cards. I was very lucky and I'm thankful that I met her and got to spend time with her.   The other thing I'm very grateful for is that my daughter and I have reconnected and I've enjoyed seeing pictures of my grandson who has undergone surgeries to repair congenital problems and he's healthy and thriving. My daughter and I seriously can't remember why did we have problems that's what we said to each other and we laughed. In the long run all those things are so meaningless. The bigger loss outweighs those Petty things. I know she miss me and I know if I had never stopped reaching out she would have thought that I didn't love her anymore so I never did stop and one day she just saw it me on social media looking for her and she decided to contact me again. When you're a mother you forgive everything. You just love. But unconditional means. So I'm so lucky I'm so very very lucky they have both of my children now. Now I just pray that they would be able to work out their differences and heal .  It all  goes  back  and was about stroke stuff. It really threw everything off in our lives. But enough is enough and they just want to heal and be content. We're not guaranteed forever and we don't have time to lose. So I'm just very grateful for all of these things. I'm grateful that my lymphedema is controlled now and I'm actually wearing a pair of shoes again today Hallelujah! Anyway when I really think about it I could go on listing things to be grateful for that's not the problem the problem is truly remembering those things when I feel down or aggravated. So I'm glad that at least one month out of the year we take time to be thankful and from the thankfulness to be joyful. And this is a fun time of year to eat LOL I hope everybody here has a very wonderful Thanksgiving I know I'm grateful for this site and for all of you have been so supportive all these years and also forgiving that I am not always the listener that you are to me. Happy Thanksgiving!

SassyBetsy

SassyBetsy

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