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GeorgeLesley

Stroke Survivor - male
  • Content Count

    415
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  • Country

    United States

About GeorgeLesley

  • Rank
    Associate Mentor
  • Birthday 06/05/1945
  • Age 74

Contact Methods

  • Stroke Network Email
    Yes

Shared Information

  • Stroke Anniversary (first stroke)
    12-08-2006
  • Facebook URL
    http://georgegradek
  • Interests
    fishing, camping hiking, motor home rv'ing, reading,handyman, erector sets
  • How did you find us?
    Google Search

Registration Information

  • First Name
    George
  • State
    TN

Recent Profile Visitors

11,348 profile views
  1. GeorgeLesley

    I don’t know what your deficits are, they are likely different than what mine are/were. But two things that greatly turned my life around were Saeboflex for my left hand/arm and Active release to get my muscles moving again. The Saeboflex really woke my left am/hand up and was covered by insurance. The active release got me walking again and able to carry my canoe again but was not covered by insurance. It took me 10 treatments which I paid for myself and it was worth every penny. i also tried several other things, just like you including acupuncture(limited short term benefit), neuromove, did not work for me, and several massage therapies with short term effect. The bottom line is that it is really up to you to do your own research and experimenting. When I asked PT/OT/Stroke DR’s why they did not tell me about these things to try all I got was shoulder shrugs. They only know what they specialize in. Search and try. It is not easy, but progress is possible. you might give both Saeboflex and active release a look, they are on the net as well as neuromove, even though it did not help me, it might help you.. Good luck.
  2. GeorgeLesley

    I would suggest you consider a mountain dulcimer like I play. One of the main reasons I chose it is because it only has three strings and the melody string which is played with the left hand only uses one finger to slide up and down the fret board. No chording needed! Many players now do chord with it but the original dulcimers were not built with a fret under all the strings, only the melody string. I play mine that way and do not attempt any chording, dulcimers usually come with two melody strings to increase volume, but many (like me) take one melody string off, much easier to tune. it also is played by putting it in your lap. Strumming or picking with the right hand is easy and is done the normal way. another option would be a lap harp which I also have now, it is played with a pick in one hand only.
  3. GeorgeLesley

    Waiting it out

    We are waiting things out like the rest of the world these days. Lots of small news nothing dramatic to report. We got our grand daughter back home to New Zealand finally. She was trapped for a few weeks in Northern Ireland. She was visiting family and stayed a bit too long and then for awhile could not get back to NZ. We finally got her a ticket on Qatar Airlines and she is back home now, but still in a mandatory 2 week isolation. The entire country of NZ is in a lockdown until the end of April anyway so no matter. On a different subject mum is showing signs of change and appears to be losing ground. To be expected, she is 97! Has had several mini strokes, probably TIA’s. Still mostly ok but not mobile anymore. Wheelchair only now. Still of good spirit but does not read books much anymore or write letters like she did. We do not take her out of the house anymore. Conversations with her are much simpler and shorter than before, but her personality is still as sweet as ever. Lesley and I just keep chugging on day by day, all of our planned travel is either cancelled or on hold at the moment. I go out for supplies once a week, Lesley stays with mum. Nobody gets into our house for any reason at the moment and we only go out when vitally needed, then with gloves and mask, etc. we just cannot risk bringing anything home and getting mum infected. We are also at risk since we are both over 70 ourselves, Lesley having had her 70th birthday earlier this month. I have been busy doing some long delayed chores on the motorhome and will be doing more when it warms up a bit such as oil change, grease job, installing a few new brighter lights, and wash and wax. That is a big job since it is 34 ft long it takes me two days to do it, but not much else to do now anyway. It has also been a very good time to exercise regularly. I now Do about an hour and a bit every two days and am feeling as fit as an old guy can feel! It has also been a good time to practice my music. I hav been practicing nearly everyday for an hour or so and it is paying off a bit. I have been really trying to play a few songs without using sheet music but play from memory. Not easy for me to do, but with practice and repetition it is working. I have also been reading a book on “self talk” which describes how to program our brain for success and not failure. I was skeptical at first, thinking it was just another motivational self help book, but it is actually much simpler, the theory makes sense to me, and so far seems to be helping some. Anyway, I am really enjoying trying to play music, something I never thought I would or could do and now am doing a bit of, having fun and enjoying having taken on a new challenge at age 74 and actually having a bit of success and enjoying it. Go figure! Like everyone else I wonder what has happened to our world and if or when it will get back to what it was. My opinion is that it will be forever changed, better in some ways and worse in others. I suspect that travel will be different, as will higher education and probably all education will be affected more at home , less on campus which will prove to be far cheaper, more work at home, less business travel, more awareness of personal hygiene in public which will lower the death rate of seasonal diseases. Most of this will be good. the bad is that some businesses will not survive. Cruise ships will have to change or die. Air, rail, bus, mass transit, and boat travel will all struggle to become accepted again. Social gathering in public places, retail stores, even large private gatherings will be awhile returning to the new normal. Sports will be forever changed in ways I cannot predict, but the human need to compete will bring sports back in some form. My biggest concern is for the economy. There will be changes, spot shortages, supply line changes and disruptions lots of unemployment, and even some political uncertainty. I hope I am wrong on all of this, nothing would make me happier than to be proven wrong. Some of the experts I read are saying deflation is coming, some say inflation is coming. Both are bad, pick your poison. My best advice is get out of debt if possible and stay that way. Anyway, life will go on, some of the changes that are happening wil be for the better, some not. For now, it is time for mum and I to have a cup of tea. bye for now
  4. GeorgeLesley

    Nice to hear you made it to New Zealand. A beautiful country for sure, especially the South Island. I fear cruise ships will not be sailing for awhile now. Lesley really wants to go on one but they are not my thing. So I have strongly encouraged her to find someone else and go enjoy a cruise someday. They will sail again after they upgrade their sanitation and ventilation systems.
  5. GeorgeLesley

    Willis, I grew up in the Elkhart, IND area. 50% of all RV’s in the USA are made in Elkhart county. We have been to the RV Hall of Fame. Neat place. thanks for the kind words about exercising. I really have to force myself to do it some days, but in the end it is worth it.
  6. GeorgeLesley

    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.
  7. GeorgeLesley

    Deigh, no I do not read music. One of the attractions of the mountain dulcimer is that it is easy and all you do initially anyway, is follow the numbers of the frets on the music sheet. You only have to move your finger on one string (the melody string) and move it to the desired fret. The other (good hand) does all the strumming and no cording with multiple fingers is needed which is good because my left hand cannot do much of that. Even I can do that! Obviously there is much more to it but for me at the moment, less is more.
  8. GeorgeLesley

    Wow guys, great reading. On my blog (gizmo, gadget guy) on this site, I have been writing about my new journey into trying to play a musical instrument for the first time at age 74 and a stroke survivor. So far going well and having lots of fun. I have also noted that a lap harp would be an easy instrument to play and will probably try it in the future.
  9. GeorgeLesley

    Thanks Sue. All of us here in Tennessee wish you a merry Christmas as well. Mum is still doing great at age 97. She is looking forward to her letter from the Queen at age 100 and at this point I would not bet against her. I must say that having her live with us has made the past 2 1/2 years among the best years of my life As I mused back on my past few hobbies I was just struck by the similarities between trying new hobbies, some of which failed, and stroke recovery efforts, some of which failed as well. i suspect these similarities would apply to many of life’s challenges. The good news is that I have learned that with persistence usually something eventually works.
  10. GeorgeLesley

    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
  11. GeorgeLesley

    Sounds like a great trip happy you could see so much. Singapore is a beautiful place for sure.
  12. GeorgeLesley

    Heather I posted a pic of a lap harp on the top of my blog entry, I don’t know how o post it here in the comments section.
  13. GeorgeLesley

    Thanks for the encouragement. Heather, look at a lap harp I think is what it is called. The store I have been going to has them and I will likely get one someday. It is the perfect size to travel in our RV with. It is maybe a foot at it’s biggest and is shaped somewhat like a triangle. Only plays with one hand using a pick or wooden hammer. You can get printed sheets that fit under the strings to guide you to which string to hit next.Good luck!
  14. GeorgeLesley

    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.
  15. GeorgeLesley

    Bummed out

    We just attended the funeral of my best male friend of over 30 years. We went thru so much together, he was at bedside when my first wife passed, I was with him thru his divorce, present wife and I were married in his house by the preacher that preached my first wife’s funeral, both he and his now widow asked me to counsel with them before they were married, etc, etc. he and his now widow were happily married for over 20 years. He was too young, only 62. He and I could and did talk every month for usually over two hours about everything and nothing. His widow is now asking for my assistance in settling things and helping her set up he finances. A task that will be as difficult as any I have ever done, but I must do to fulfill my promise to him and her made long ago. He had cancer and from what we all expected, he would have some good time after what appeared to be a very successful treatment regime. Not to be. He passed two weeks after treatment was completed. Shock, misery, anger, no words to describe how I feel now with no desire to “get over it and move on” Thanks for letting me rant.
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