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azrabbit

Stroke Survivor - female
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Everything posted by azrabbit

  1. Happy Anniversary azrabbit!

  2. Happy Anniversary azrabbit!

  3. azrabbit

    Arizona Group 1st Meeting

    Stroke survivor Marcus and her son Garret - holding the sign. Steve sent me the wheelchair graphic and I grabbed the logo off the net. Denny (my husband) made the sign.
  4. azrabbit

    Maxine the Caregiver

    This is how I feel some days!
  5. azrabbit

    Our New Quadracycle

    From the album: Denny's Journey

    Denny and I have always been active cyclists. In fact, we rode our tandem in several 100Mile plus rides. After the stroke, we were looking right away for a bike we could ride together. After a long search, I found it on the internet. It is actually two Sun EZ1 with a special coupling unit. We use clipless pedals for Denny to keep his foot on the pedal. We have ridden every day since we got it, including to and from therapy!
  6. azrabbit

    I'm Back for a Check Up

    It has been since May that I have taken time to blog about our lives. Many of you have sent messages to check in on us and let me know that you have thought of us and were missing me on the site. It was heart warming to receive those messages. Thank you for caring enough to lure me back. So, what has happened in the past year....there is so much to tell that I don't know where to start. Our lives have changed in so many ways. The most joyful change was the birth of our beautiful grand daughter, Isabella Anne. She was born last July and we were so fortunate to be there for the birth. We drove our motorhome from AZ to WA and spent the summer camped along the Snoqualmie River. Denny was so happy to be outdoors for the entire summer. He amazed me with all he accomplished. Internet access was poor at best and thus began my drifting from being so active on Stroke Net. We had campfires most evenings, ate a TON of wonderful fish and the dogs and I explored the river daily. Of course, much of our time was spent enjoying Isabella and helping Carrie. I was delighted to find the blackberries all along the river and did my best to pick them every day. The dogs loved them too and would bite them right off the bushes. We had blackberry cobbler often and in spite of all my walking, I think I gained several pounds. I even made balckberry jam - my first time! After labor day we drove home down the Oregon coast and camped along the way. It was so nice to be traveling again. Then it was back to reality and the heat of Phoenix. My daughter and her husband moved back to Scottsdale in August so coming home was not as difficult as it could have been if they had chosen to stay in WA. They live within a short bike ride of our house and we get to see them often. Once we were home, I began the plans to purchase Denny's custom made trike. It came from Germany and was made just for him with all the controls on one side and a special calf support for his weak leg. It was a surprise and was supposed to be for his birthday. We made plans to go to California to pick it up and I told him we were going to celebrate our birthdays and enjoy the ocean. We were in the car and not quite out of town when I received a call that my father was very ill and they suspected he might not make it through the day. So we turned the car around and heading to his care home. He was in septic shock from poor cathater care and a severe bladder infection. I won't go through all the details, but suffice it to say, Dad was sent directly to the ER and never went back to that place again. He is amazing and recovered well. I can't beileve he is 90 years old and so strong. He has not had one incident since he was moved to a new facility. Once we knew Dad was going to be ok, we planned our trip again. It rained the entire time we were there. I was lucky to get us a room right on the ocean WITH a fire place. So we ordered room service, watched the waves and just enjoyed our evening and days. On the day we went to get the bike, I told Denny I just felt like taking a drive. The bike shop knew we were coming and had the bike sitting outside with a big red bow and a sign on it that said Happy Birthday Denny! He was so excited! He took off in the parking lot and I was afraid we wouldn't see him again. When we got home it was raining again and he couldn't ride for several days. Finally the sun came out and he got to ride. After making sure he had his cell phone, plenty of water and some snacks, I kissed him goodbye. Mind you, this is the first time in nearly 2 years this man, who up until his stroke rode his bike or ran every day, was on his own and making his own decisions on where to go and when to come back. After about an hour, I saw him sitting on his bike at the curb. He called me on my cell phone and told me he was going to ride some more. I was so happy for him. When he came home an hour later, he was SO tired. I asked him how it was. With the biggest smile I have seen in a long time, he said, "FREEDOM.! YES!" This bike has been better than any therapy or medicine. He is riding all over. He is using the time on his rides to take photos for his blog about traffic and bike saftey. His blog is pretty neat - and his vocabulary is growing each day. He is mentally and physically stronger than ever. I am so thankful. The other big change is I took a full time job. I ended up closing my consulting business due to the fact that I couldn't travel and leave Denny home alone. The cost of private health insurance was killing us - we were spending over $20K just on insurance, deductibles and copays. So I started to look for work. God smiled on us again. A friend of mine was at our annual Christmas Eve party and had just started a new job earlier in the year. I asked her about her job and told her I was thinking about going back to work. She stopped dead in her tracks and said, "I think we have a job that would be great for you." But, they were not going to fill the position until May. I didn't think much of it, but told her to keep me in mind. Meanwhile I started working on my resume. About three weeks later she called and asked me to send in the resume. Long story short - I was hired and started work on Feb.18. I was so worried about Denny and afraid that he would get depressed or bored if I was gone all day. We made plans for him to go to a couple support groups and tried to schedule some routine tasks around the house so he had something to do every day. I don't know why I was worried - he has jumped again in growth. Not only does he find plenty to fill his days, he has started cleaning the house!!! Yes, ladies - even the bathrooms. He knows how much I love clean sheets - so every Friday, he strips the bed, washes the sheets and remakes the bed. Granted, sometimes the sheets are on the wrong way, but they are clean! I don't know how he gets all those pillow cases on with one hand, but he does it. The Denny who always loved taking care of me, the one I thought I lost to the stroke, is coming back day by day. He is still the romantic he once was. For valetine's day, he rode his bike to the store and bought me flowers, champagne, strawberries and chocolate to dip them in. For our anniversay, he had the champagne in a bucket of ice and sitting next to the tub, candles lit and music playing when I got home from work. So what's next? Denny is still part owner in a river rafting company. So, we have plans to go white water rafting next week with our kids. It will be our first time on the river since the stroke. Denny won't be able to run the boat like he used to, but one of his partners is going to come along and captain the boat for us. We are really excited to go. I will be sure to post some photos. Thank you again to all my dear friends here who cared enough to keep in touch. I hope this novel didn't bore you. For those of you who don't know us, maybe this post will encourage you if you read my earlier blogs and see just how far we have come in Denny's survival. Don't give up hope, it really can and does get better. I posted some photos in our gallery of his new bike and of beautiful Isabella.
  7. azrabbit

    I am sad to hear of your loss Jean and Don. I am sending you hugs from Denny and I and a good old fashioned wet dog nose kiss from my best buddies, Kelly and Kojo.
  8. azrabbit

    Ruth, My heart just aches for you and all you have dealt with recently. I don't have advice, except to try and find some time to recharge - like Sue said, this is the time to take people up on offers. If the don't offer, then ASK. I wish I could send you a day of rest in a bottle that you could take as easy as a pill. However, if vitural hugs help, then I am hugging you right now.
  9. azrabbit

    Sue - I just love to read your blogs!!! They are always so thoughtful and in return, give me much to think about and consider in my own life.
  10. azrabbit

    Thanks to you all for reminding me how special you all are - for keeping us in your thoughts! Denny is off on a bike ride as I type. It is starting to get so hot here, he has to get in all the rides he can. I am thinking about buying him a Wii so he has something to do when it goes over 100 here in Scottsdale.
  11. azrabbit

    My hubby had acupuncture treatment along with chineese herbs. He always said it helped - especially with the tone in his arm and the pain in his back from the irregular gait. He had semi permanent staples in his eats and felt they really helped. I think it helped somewhat with the aphasia, but since he was trying so many other things at the time, I can't be sure. I think as an adjunct therapy to his other therapy, it was very beneficial. He also reacted well to massage, especially hot stone massage. He also uses an herbal supplement that our herbalist gets for him - it is only available in Germany. When she travels there, she brings back a supply for him. I think it really helps with his cognition. BUT, the best therapy so far has been gettin him back riding his bike every day.
  12. azrabbit

    :bouncing_off_wall: This is great to see Kim! Keep riding - the smile on your face is so wonderful.
  13. azrabbit

    HI Kim, I have been reading all your blogs. I am sorry you have to wait out this year's ride, but don't toss in the towel on riding all together. Maybe you need to consider the type of bike you are riding if it is irritating you shoulder. What kind of bike do you ride? Is it a regular up right or a recumbent? My husband was an avid cyclist before his stroke and is now getting back into riding. It takes a long time to build up the stamina you once had, but it will come back. We used to ride in the MS150 every year. We haven't tride it since the stroke, though he has hopes of doing it one of these years. Keep blogging and keep us posted on your riding.
  14. azrabbit

    :laughbounce: That is so great Donna. But what is even better is that you don't give up and you keep trying. You go girl!
  15. azrabbit

    AZrabbit and Denny's adventures

    Photos of our summer, new grand baby and Denny's new trike
  16. azrabbit

    Our summer home

  17. azrabbit

    Flying High

  18. azrabbit

    Great story Phyllis. Denny has several different canes he likes to use, depending on where we are going. But his two favorites are 1) his walking stick that he used to use when he was a guide at the Grand Canyon. 2) He has one that is a rattlesnake skin wrapped around a cane, complete with head and fangs! Needless to say he gets a lot of comments on that one.
  19. Denny has continued with his letter writing campaign. Wow - is he ever getting some interesting replies. I have thought many times to jump in and "help" explain things to the recipients, but then decided I would let it ride out and see what the responses look like. It seems as though some people really care and try to connect and decipher what he is saying. Those that don't, just don't reply. Or they reply with an email that has "?????????????? Sorry - don't know what you are saying." He was in his office for several hours the other day. I went to check in and see how he was doing. Asked him what he was up to. "I bogging" he said. "Bogging?" I asked. "Hard," he says. Still not quite getting it (it was a slow brain day for me) he showed me what he meant. He was trying to register online with the local paper to be a community blogger! I couldn't believe it. I told him that was a good idea, but maybe something we should do together since most blogs are more than just one or two words. He thought that would work out ok. Continuing on his environmental bent and his frustration with our dependence on oil, he decided we needed to buy a "red" car. Our car is brown. I couldn't figure out 1) why did we need a red car and 2) what was wrong with the brown car. Turns out after lots of back and forth guessing games, he was trying to say he wanted us to drive a "GREEN," as in hybrid, car. We went round and round on this one. Guess who won? Not me. We are now the proud owners of a "Red" - actually it is slate colored - Ford Escape Hybrid. Denny just keeps telling me, "Good car, red, cool, map, tunes." This means that it is good we got a green car and it is so cool because it has a navigation system and satellite radio! Still, our friends were a bit confused when Denny told them about his new red car and took them to see the new slate colored car! It is really strange to be in the car and have it be totally quiet. I thought things would calm down a bit, but today we were off to Best Buy. He wants to buy a small camcorder that he can use with one hand. This we figured out after he drug out all his other video recorders and pointed at each one saying "Big." Then he kept holding up his one hand by his face and saying "Small." "You want a small video camera?" I finally figured out. "Exactly!' he exclaims. Then he shows me the Best Buy ad for a small $99.00 video camera that can take 30 minutes of video. I asked him what he needed it for - thinking maybe he was making plans to take movies of the new grand baby in June. Boy, was I wrong. "Traffic! Bad, lazy driver. Bog!" So I guess his "community bog" is going to be a video "bog." That's all for now. I'll keep you posted when he gets his first "Community Video Bog" up and running.
  20. azrabbit

    Thanks Jean! This is a great start for his signature line. I think I might add it to his email too so when he writes letters to the editors it will help as well. THANKS BONNIE - great to chat with you! We are looking forward to getting away from the heat.
  21. azrabbit

    Thanks Asha! Jean, I do have trouble saying no. As far as the car goes - I have always wanted to make the switch to hybrid. When Ford offered me 120% of book for my trade in, I decided, what the heck! It is hard to say "no" to anything that keeps him interested and active and enjoying life. The problem is he doesn't have a good concept of money. I am thinking of piling up $20 bills and then trying to give him a visual of how much $100 dollars is. Great idea on the signature for the blog. If only I could write like you!!!
  22. azrabbit

    Yep - he is really something. Most days he just about drives me nuts, but we seem to figure it out. I have found with him, communication is more than just words. You have to watch for each gesture, sound effect, letters he writes in the air - backwards I might add so that when you look at the letter he is writing, you can read it as if you were watching it be typed on a screen - and pictures he draws. If you put it all together and know him like I do, you can pretty much figure out what he is trying to say. Sometimes it amazes me the words he is able to speak. Yesterday we were enjoying some tea and warm banana muffins I had made on the patio. The dogs were doing their very best to beg. All of a sudden Denny comes up with "frenzy." Took me a bit, but I finally figured out he was going for "feeding frenzy" in describing the dogs. Thanks Donna and Sue for the warm comments. Sue, you and Ray are in my thoughts a bunch lately.
  23. azrabbit

    I can't wait to meet you Bonnie!
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