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Day 1 (it's really 36 hours)


My Memphis adventure did not start well. Woke up to two inches of "slurpee" which I had to drive in to get to the train station - a trip that would normally take about an hour wound up being an hour and a half. Finally made it to the station with five minutes to spare only to find out the train was running a half hour late. The layover in Chicago was long, boring and noisy. I saw more more Amish people in Chicago than I've seen in my whole life in Michigan :0) The train was supposed to terminate in News Orleans but wound up terminating in Carbondale, IL because of a train derailment earlier in the day and we were to be bussed the rest of the way to Memphis. Unfortunately, they only had one bus at the station when we arrived which quickly filled up - we were told another bus was on the way and would be there in about half an hour if we wanted to wait so a group of us decided to catch the next bus. Two hours later at 4am the promised bus finally arrived and we all piled in and tried to find comfortable sleeping positions for the four hour bus ride. Finally arrived in Memphis and headed to my hotel hoping they would have a room available for a (very) early check in - of course not. So I hung out in the lobby and had some breakfast while housekeeping put a rush on getting a room ready - after 24 hours of traveling all I wanted was a shower and some sleep. After a couple hour nap I headed out on the town - I explored Beale St and some of the area around my hotel but I was really too exhausted to do anything more. The sight seeing will start in earnest tomorrow after a good nights sleep.


Day 2


Well - I think I fell asleep around 7pm and didn't wake up until 5am - ever then I just laid in bed and watched TV for an hour so. Then it was time to take a shower and head down to the lobby for some breakfast. After breakfast it was off to the Burkle House - it used to be a stop on the underground railroad during slavery. The tour was very informative - once we finally got to take the tour - they were about an hour late opening. I would have left and went back later but it was a five block walk to the trolley stop and I didn't want to walk it twice :0{


Lunch was garlic and Cajun shrimp at the Blues City Cafe on Beale St and then it was off to the Civil Rights Museum were I spent the afternoon and could have spent several more hours because there was so much to read. Then it was back to my hotel room after a stop at Subway to pick up something to eat for supper. Now I'm going to take a cool shower and relax for the rest of the evening.


Day 3 (another 36 hour day)


Checked out of the hotel and left my luggage to pick up later. Went to the Peabody hotel to see the ducks - they live on the roof of the hotel and twice a day they ride the elevator down to the lobby and march to the fountain to swim - very cute. Then I made my way back tho Beale St to see the Rock & Soul museum - it was a good tour but there were only five rooms - I would have thought it would be bigger. Stopped at A. Schwabs for an old fashioned milkshake (yummy!) And then headed to my hotel to collect my luggage and head for the train station. After checking my luggage I went across the street to the Arcade which is an old 50's diner where Elvis used to eat. Back in the train station I asked the lady at the counter if the train was running on time - nope at least an hour late due to thunderstorms in Mississippi. After another long, boring layover in Union Station it was time to finally get on the train back to Michigan (which thankfully left on time and actually made it to Flint on time) and then drive home where I took a bubble bath and then collapsed into bed and slept for ten hours.


All in all, it was a good trip and I had fun but I really wish I'd had my AFO to use before I left since I did a lot of walking and my ankle is pretty sore. I really enjoy taking the train to get to places it would be too far to drive on my own but I hate being at the mercy of mother nature, Amtrak's horrible schedules and their old, outdated equipment that can (and frequently does) break down if you look at it cross-eyed.


It's been so nice not having to get up at 6:30 every morning (I was never a morning person and the stroke certainly didn't improve that - lol). I get to eat my breakfast at my leisure, do some cleaning and then get to the pool before the hordes of kids and teenagers show up. The stinkleys have really been enjoying having mumma home too as that means they can spend as much time as they want outside now that the weather is starting to warm up.


I had a job interview at an apartment complex this week and I think it went well - we'll see if I get a call back for a second interview. It's only 20 hours a week but, right now, that's all I'm looking for - plus it's mostly an afternoon job which will fit in perfectly with my aforementioned lack of morning motivation.


My trip to Memphis is coming up quickly - only two weeks to go!!! I was hoping to have my AFO before I went but unemployment and lack of insurance has put that on hold until I find out if I qualify for HealthyMI insurance.




leap of faith

So I got in touch with HR today and told them I wanted to take the severance package and that it would be fantastic if they could get the paperwork done in time so that Friday could be my last day - we'll see how long it takes them. I did talk to the HR person about what a horrible place it was to work and she told me that they had heard that from other people that had left - which made me feel better because I was beginning to think I was becoming paranoid or overly sensitive because of the stroke. The good news is that after 21 weeks I can file for unemployment if I haven't found another job by then.


opinions please

So my 60(ish) day evaluation was today and it did not go well. Apparently I'm not friendly enough and I don't help my coworkers enough. I can't say I'm surprised - I think they've been looking for ways to get rid of me that can't be blamed on my disability. They did ask if I might still be interested in the severance package that was offered last year and I told them that I might be. I emailed HR today with some of the questions I wanted answered if I'm going to consider it seriously.


The stinkleys and I are ready for winter to be over!!! Playing "let the cats out, let the cats in, let the cats out, let the cats in" is becoming a tiresome game - especially when I see a furry head in the window two minutes after I get back to my chair and get comfortable.


The job search is slow - it seems like everybody wants somebody with a bachelor's degree and five years of experience even for just a general office job.


Therapy is going well - my OT says she can see improvement in my arm (nothing in the hand though). We've been working on carrying a bag on my left arm but it's hard to concentrate on relaxing my leg and trying to walk normally while also concentrating on keeping my elbow bent and raised so the bag doesn't fall off - the first day we tried it they told me I was walking like a drunk cuz I was wobbling all over the place :0). That led to a discussion with the PT about possibly getting a brace to help with the walking part so at my next therapy session they had someone come out that specializes in custom made AFO's to watch me walk and discuss some possibilities. They did a mold of my leg that day and it should be ready for fitting in the next week or so.


I had applied for disability online in the fall of last year and received a questionnaire to fill out because they wanted more information (that was just before Christmas) so I was trying to check online to see what the status was but I kept getting an error message so I called only to find out that they had no record of me even applying so I went online and applied again. That was actually kind of good because this time I filled out the remarks section with things I've been experiencing since going back to work full time. Things like an almost constant headache from looking at a computer screen all day, the constant ringing in my ears that I've had for years and it seems like has been worse since the stroke, the fact that walking for any distance at all wears me out and the fatigue that some days makes getting out of bed, taking a shower and brushing my teeth seem like a herculean task.


First of all my doctor finally got my updated note to HR limiting me to working 8 hours a day and (surprisingly) I haven't heard of any repercussions yet - we'll see what happens down the road when they realize I won't be doing overtime during the loan bonanza this spring.


My brain has been pretty foggy the last couple of days - I'm not sure if it's from my fall last week, stroke fatigue or just utter boredom from doing nothing but comparing papers to information on the computer (which is very tiring for my eyes). Also, for the last couple of days I've been really cold at work - cold to the point of actually wearing my coat at my desk.


On the bright side my Dr sent a note to HR stating that I can work no more than 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week - we'll see how well that goes over. Now for the bad news - I managed to slip and fall on a patch of ice last night and of course I landed on my affected side. I went to the Dr today just to make sure I hadn't damaged anything and she seems to think I just banged myself up but sent me for xrays of my wrist and ribs just to make sure nothing is broken. Gotta love winter in Michigan!!! At least I'm not alone in my pain since my son also slipped and fell this morning walking to the bus (he managed not to damage anything though).



I met with a job placement person through Michigan Works a couple of weeksd ago and she revamped my resume and did up a generic cover letter for me which she's been sending out to various employers for me. I've also been sending it out for positions I find interesting. I hope I get some nibbles soon because I can't do this job much longer - especially if they keep demanding overtime every week. I have no problem working 40 hours a week but anything more wipes me out. I think my new supervisor is one of those people that are nice and concerned on the surface but really couldn't give a rat's ass how the job is affecting me.


I had a meeting with my supervisors today where I was informed that I will be doing all the indirect loan review since the person who's doing it now is moving over to input - happy happy joy joy (not!!!). They also told me that I can't take unpaid time for my therapy like they originally told me - now I have to use my PTO time. I'm making an appointment with my vocational counselor to work on finding a different job.


So I've been at my new job for a couple of weeks now and I have determined that it's the most boring job in the world. I'm growing callouses on my behind from sitting in a chair and reviewing loans all day to make sure the right information was entered on the system. Coming from the accounting world, I'm used to a more mentally active job. On the other hand, there's no overtime required, no stress, no customer contact and as long as I work 35 hours a week I can take whatever time I need for therapy without burning all my PTO time - plus it pays the bills.


I'm replanning my trip to Memphis that I had to cancel last June because of the stroke. I asked a friend if she wanted to go with me but I haven't heard back from her yet. If she can't go I'm going to be by myself because my son hates to travel and opted to stay home and take care of the cats instead. I'm taking the train so the only driving involved is back and forth to the train station which is about an hour away. I will admit I'm a little anxious about the trip since I haven't traveled since the stroke, let alone by myself.


big day tomorrow

I start my new job tomorrow - not sure how I'm going to like it. Apart from dealing with all the doodlies I loved my other job - as long as I was left alone to play with my numbers I was happy as a clam (unless of course my accounts didn't balance). This job is second day review on loans to make sure they were put on the system properly - sounds boring to me - but it pays the bills. I had my son help me move some boxes and stuff from the building I was in to my new building - it's amazing how much crap you can accumulate in a desk/cubby over the course of 10 years!! And the best part is facilities is going to move the bench I've been resting on during my lunch hour to the new building as well.


TGIF!!!! It's been a long week and I would have given anything to feed the stinkleys and go back to bed this morning. We're moving more and more of our department to Traverse City which means I have less and less to do and that means I'm getting closer and closer to moving to my new job which means that I'm going to have to sort through ten years worth of crap in my desk. I went out to dinner with a bunch of ladies I used to work with and was up WAY past my bedtime but it was worth it!!


I had to call my insurance company and have them reprocess some of my therapy claims that didn't get paid because they occurred during the time when I was waiting for my employer to send me the paperwork to COBRA my insurance - I almost had a heart attack when I got the bill for almost $5000!!!!


I have a doctor appointment on January 7th and hopefully I get the OK to move to 35 hours a week.


My son is starting to get on my nerves - when I get home in the evening the first words out of his mouth are "what's for dinner?" To which I reply "what did you make?". The child has been home for an hour and knows how to use the microwave and heat up a meal - why should I have to make his dinner the moment I walk through the door?


i survived!!!

I finished my first full week working six hours a day. Thank goodness it's Friday and I have a couple of days to relax and catch up on household chores cuz I certainly didn't get much accomplished after work all week - I basically made dinner and cleaned up and that was it!! We have a bench outside of our office that I've been laying down and resting on during my lunch hour - one day my boss came through and gave me a funny look and asked if I was ok. I got a tour of the new office where I'm going to be working sometime in January - it's huge!! I didn't notice if they had someplace I could lay down but I asked our facilities manager if I could take the bench with me when I moved if they didn't - he looked at me and laughed and said "we'll see".


I took over doing Thanksgiving several years ago when it became too much for my mother to do. Since I wasn't able to cook this year we went out for our Thanksgiving meal today (I had the shrimp basket since they didn't have the Cajun shrimp pasta I really wanted) - which means I get to sleep in and relax tomorrow (other than occasionally getting out of my chair to let the stinkleys in or out). A friend invited me to spend Thanksgiving with her and her husband since my son is at his dads house but, since I started working six hours a day this week, I'm taking the opportunity to catch up on my sleep and recuperate. Here's wishing everybody a very happy Thanksgiving and remember if you drink don't drive.


winter has arrived

How do I know? Because the stinkleys don't spend more than an hour outside at a time. It seems like no sooner do I let them out and get comfortable in my chair then I see a furry face pop up in the window saying "let me in mumma - it's cold and wet out here". We got a little bit of snow the other day which reminded me that I need to get to Cabela's and get a set of slip on grippers for my shoes or I'll be skating down my porch steps. I also dropped my winter coat off at the alteration shop to have the zipper removed and replaced with buttons to make it easier to fasten and bought some mittens (I need to practice getting the left one on over my balled up fist).


I'm done with therapy until after the first of the year (my insurance will only pay for 60 visits a year) which is sort of a good thing because now I can concentrate on getting back to full time at work. I still go to the pool everyday and do my arm exercises and some swimming to keep in shape.


Trying to cook one handed is becoming a pain in the patootie since I'm trying to cook real food as opposed to frozen dinners and packaged meals. Lots of stuff is NOT made to be opened one handed. My son is beginning to dread the phrase "Carl, I require your assistance".


first day of work

I survived my first day back at work. A lot of the day was spent on the phone with the help desk getting all my accesses set up again. And I got an early Christmas present - there aren't any available extensions in our phone queue so I won't have to answer phones for the forseeable future!!!


I actually wanted to go back last week but the return to work note didn't have a specific date of return on it so HR wouldn't let me go back. And of course the doctor was on vacation so it couldn't get sorted out until today. I received a call from HR today saying I was approved to go back to work starting Monday - I told them that due to the nature of my job I'd rather wait until Wednesday, only to be told that I had to be there on Monday unless the doctor would fax another note saying I couldn't start until the later date (overkill on dotting the i's and crossing the t's in my opinion and the doctor's but whatever). So my first official day of work is The 5th!!!


As to why I do 't want to start on a Monday - I work in the Card Services area of a bank and everybody that had a problem with their card over the weekend is calling bright and early on Monday morning to complain. It's also the first of the month so everybody's card that expired on the 31st is calling to see why they didn't get a new one (even though they never bothered to notify the bank that they moved a year ago ). Plus the third is social security day and all the people that are calling to check on their direct deposit somehow manage to get lost in the phone queue and wind up in our area. To sum it up Monday's are hell in the Card Services area - especially the first week of the month and, frankly, I don't need that kind of stress on my first day back!!!!!



I had an appointment with the neuropsychologist today and he gave me the all clear to go back to work part time!! He said not to be surprised if I get more tired than usual (which I expected) and to take my time working back up to full time.


I DID IT!!!!!

In the words of the immortal Willie Nelson "I'm on the road again"!!!! Now I just need to get the spinner knob and turn signal adapter on my car. Who's ready for a road trip?? :0)


The instructor didn't schedule enough time so we couldn't do any highway driving and he didn't have a turn signal adapter for me to use. And he had some nitpicky things he wants me to work on - I cut my left turns too close, I didn't use turn signals in the parking lot, I didn't stay in the center of my lane (too far left), I didn't slow down for the railroad tracks and I didn't leave enough space between me and the car stopped in front of me at an intersection. One more session and I'll be good to go.


My appointment with the neuropsychologist was last week and I have mixed feelings about what the results are going to be. Some of the tests I think I did really well on and others I know I completely bombed. I know they look at the testing as a whole and not individual test results, but I'm still worried that he'll say I'm not ready to go back to work yet. I don't think I can take anymore sitting around the house watching TV.


I get to do my driving assessment this week and hopefully I'll get the all clear to drive which will alleviate some of the boredom. I'm really looking forward to being able to drive myself again and not have to rely on other people!!!


what do you say?

Whenever I'm out in public with my shoulder sling on I get comments like "that looks painful" or questions like "what happened". I say I had a stroke which seems to shock most people - today I wanted to say "I hurt it sliding into home plate" or something equally as outrageous. What do you say to people when they ask "what happened"?


something new

So - I decided to start blogging (you lucky people are in for a treat - or maybe not - lol). My OT ordered me a hand splint to keep me from making a fist during the night - except for that icky, sweaty feeling you get when you're in contact with plastic for any length of time - it was surprisingly comfortable. At least I wasn't awake half the night trying to keep my hand unclenched. She also started using the e-stim in hopes of jump starting some hand movement since the only thing I can do right now is make a fist and get my pinky to move - we like to joke about how my hand is coming back bass ackwards cuz I can't do anything the easy way. I get to do an on road driving assessment on October 9th so hopefully I'll get the all clear to start driving again - not being able to drive myself has been driving me nuts because I'm a very independent person. I also get to go see a neuropsychologist next week and as long as he doesn't find anything wrong that my ST has missed I think They'll let me go back to work soon.


And work is a whole other story - the last time I stopped by to visit they were telling me how my job has changed since I left - if I was going back to my old job the way it used to be it would be a piece of cake. Hopefully somebody else will continue doing that part of my job and they'll give me general work to do. And then, since my job is technically going away by the end of the year, I was offered another job that will be a lot less stressful.


We have to have blood work done every year at work and fill out a health assessment if we want the lower insurance rate and mine was yesterday. If a doctor was looking strictly at my numbers - which were almost perfect - he never would have thought I'd be at risk for a stroke - but like I said before I seem to do things bass ackwards and make life as difficult as possible for myself.


Thus endeth my first blog.

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