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I decided to create this blog because:
One-year post-stroke, I sought out a “one-stop-shop” online with comprehensive information and assistance from another stroke survivor to help me answer the questions I had, and to provide practical information to help me recover. When I couldn't find anything, I thought it was time to start listening to the people who'd encouraged me to create such a vehicle early on, as you’ll see in the next paragraph. So here it is, 2.5 years in the making! Please enjoy!
Several of my stroke therapists and advisors suggested and encouraged me to do this. I thought it was a ludicrous idea at first, as I could barely get through each day walking without falling, or reading without experiencing extreme fatigue, or staying on track mentally. Not to mention - just get through my daily therapy sessions and my home life required a lot of my energy! As I improved, I changed my mind and began the long process of finding the right website expert and creating a meaningful vision for my blog.
I wanted to provide a service for others who had experienced what I had, as I’ve been in the service business my entire adult life, i.e., hotels, airlines, and small business owner providing employee training services. I also feel we are on this earth to help each other in whatever way we can, so this was a natural transition for me.
I’ve had 30+ years of writing experience as the owner of an employee training company where I wrote custom-designed programs on various human resource-related topics, a college professor; and the author of numerous articles for hospitality newspapers, magazines, and textbooks.
My stroke occurred in September of 2015. I was alone in the bedroom of our cabin near Flagstaff. It felt like a zipper was running down my back. Somehow, I knew I was having a stroke, but I had no idea how I knew that.
I immediately knew I had to call 911 on our landline phone. However, it was in the living room on the top of an end table.
I tried to call out to our neighbors, but my diaphragm had been damaged, so my voice was impaired.
I was terrified!
My immediate concerns at that moment were:
How would I get to the living room without the use of my left side?
If I made it, how would I retrieve the phone from the table? (As I immediately realized I couldn’t raise up due to the stroke damage of my core?)
Thanks to a lifetime of exercise and sports activities, I knew my legs were strong. I began pushing myself down the hall on my back, with my only functioning leg. Wall-to-wall carpeting helped tremendously with my traction!
Once in the living room, the challenge was to retrieve the phone from the table. Since I couldn’t raise up with my core, I laid on my back and pondered. Luckily, there was a small pillow on the arm of my chair next to the table. I gingerly lifted and balanced the pillow on my right foot, delivering it onto the table next to the phone. I pushed the phone down to the floor with the pillow and called 911.
After what seemed like an eternity, the paramedics from the fire department down the hill arrived, but the front door was locked.
I asked the paramedics to try the back door, which was open! I was then whisked me to the hospital in Flagstaff.
Once at the hospital, my stroke was diagnosed as a “Massive Ischemic Stroke in the Basal Ganglia area of the brain,” which is on the right side of the brain, thus causing the left side to be affected.
After one week in the hospital, I was transferred to St. Luke’s Acute Rehab facility in Phoenix, where I spent 3 weeks.
MY FIRST DAYS
My very first steps were two weeks after my stroke at St Luke’s Acute Rehab facility where I took four steps which felt like a mile!
First Days Home
Four weeks later - home at last!
SWAN Rehab & Entire Care Rehab
Therapy at SWAN for 2 years, 5 days a week, 4 hours a day.
By the way - Kay Wing - owner of the center - told me later they almost didn't take me at SWAN because I was in such bad shape! Well I ended up flourishing there, thank goodness!
In recent months, I've been working with Bonnie Pond, OT and pelvic floor specialist, at Verde Valley Medical Center in Cottonwood, on my incontinent issue which has existed since my stroke. She's fabulous! She's already helped me a great deal!