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Showing posts from March, 2009

Today I had a laughing fit...

I was practicing my Palm Sunday play and had a laughing fit. I don't know what triggered it (well, kinda, but it was not really funny), but I could  not stop...I tried, but I couldn't. This is one more thing that I will have to try to get a handle on. I have written about this before, but I think that this is the first time it has happened in public. I am relatively (ok, really) embarrassed. I will try to get control of things.  Another thing that happened today is that I had to meet another Dr. Not for myself, but my son had a test yesterday, but the Dr. wanted him to be on Zithromax today. Well, when I met with him, he was amazed that I am doing as well as I am. When we described the surgery, the Dr. agreed with the other Drs. that I can not do anything without a working cerebellum.

Today was a generally nondescript day....

Now, I don't know if that is the correct word or not (this short term memory loss is killing me), but it was a "normal" day because nothing abnormal happened. I went to work, picked up my wife for lunch, took my son to the Dr., went to the hospital to visit a church member...it was really a kinda mundane day...exactly the type of day I have been looking for for 3 months. What stands out about today is that there is nothing that stands out. Every day there seems to be an "aha moment" where I learn what I can or cannot do, or what I should or should not do, or I do something the for the first time. But today was not like that. It was just a normal day. For that, I am thankful.

Friday I had my first funeral...

I know that it is a couple days after the funeral, but it was a really big event for me. Not the fact it was a funeral, but because it was my first funeral after my stroke. When you come to the realization of how close you came to death, no funeral is ever "mundane" again. Not that any funeral was mundane, but you approach funeral's differently. I do think that it was a good funeral. The only difference, unnoticeable to everyone except me is the fact that I can no longer read ab obituary without using something to keep my place. I used to be able to keep my hands at my side and read most things, but now I lose my place pretty easily, so I have to use my finger to keep my place. I also noticed that I don't "think on my feet" as quickly as I used to. I used to do a funeral without any "seams". Now, I have to pause every now and then to think about what I am going to say next. Again, it is unnoticable to everyone except me, but it is different. Overa

Yesterday I got an interesting phone call.

Yesterday I got a phone call on my cell phone. It was a 1-800 number, so I immediated thought it was a "your car warranty is expired" call. It turned out to be anything but...it was Focus on the Family. I had called them, and e-mailed my story to them, and they were calling back to tell me that, though they could not promise anything, the broadcast team would probably be in touch with me soon.  When  I answered, the person on the other side asked for "the miracle man Rev. Mead". I said that this was Rev. Mead, and she said that she was amazed at my story. When I told her that I was getting ready for AWANA, she was even more amazed. When I said that I had been playing basketball earlier at the Rec. Center, she was really blown away. I told her that, though I did not wish for another stroke, I also did not want to waste the stroke. If all that happens is I had a stroke and go on with my life, then it is wasted. If it is used to encourage someone else, or to cause som

Yesterday I went to meet with my oldest's counselor...

What I cannot believe is that he is going to be a Senior in High School. Time has passed very quickly. It seems like only yesterday that he was a little baby in a swing, and now we are making plans for him to go to college. This opens a new era of money...we have to anticipate scholarships, we have to look at what colleges cost, and,  most importantly, he has to do well in college (Based upon his High School rank, he is shaping up to do well in college). When I think that 3 1/2 months ago, I was unconscious in a hospital bed and recovering from a stroke, this feels pretty good. I am very proud of his accomplishments. He is currently ranked #19 out of 135 in his class. IF he can get straight A's this semester, that might rise. However he ranks, he has done his best (I think) and for that I am very glad. The only problem (sorta) is that he took Algebra I in 8th grade...Knoxville requires at least 7 semester of HIGH SCHOOL math...in other words, even though he took Algebra I, Knoxvill

I went to the Rec Center today...

Ok, so I know it has been awhile since I have posted, and I know that I said that the focus of the blog was going to change, but, not so much. I was thinking that I was done writing about my experiences  for my stroke, but I'm not. Today, I went to the Rec Center for the first time by myself since my stroke. The first thing I'm going to say is that, if you have never seen a man with no cerebellum try to play basketball, then you have never lived. Actually, I did pretty well. I played basketball and walked a few minutes at a time. I did not get over tired, because I am not supposed to my first time back. It felt really good to play basketball again. I could not spin (not that I did it well before) and I could not do layups very well (see the last parenthetical comment). It really was great. I missed the opportunity to lift weights, and I walked around the weight room (but I did not lift at all). I plan to go to the Rec Center more often, maybe every day.

One thing that will probably not go away for a long time...

I don't know what to write this morning. In truth, my situation has changed, and because of that everything has to change. But, at the same time, I HATE being treated like I am a stroke survivor. By this, I mean that every time I have borderline blood pressure, every time I have shortness of breath, every time I have some sort of pain, and every time I don't feel "right" people think I might be having another stroke, or worse. Nevermind that the stroke specialist has already told me that this will probably "never happen again". Never mind the fact that I can do other things generally well. It seems as though everything is being filtered by that one event. Now, I can deal with it. I am not going into a depression, I am not feeling worthless, it just annoys me. Maybe it shouldn't. Maybe I should just be grateful that people really care about me. OK, I do and I am. But it still annoys me. What I wonder is this: do people not trust me? I feel like EVERY situ

Well, I have to agree with this...

I was surfing the web and came across this article on a blog I check every now and then. My thanks to Jeff Porter and stroke-of-faith.blogspot.com for his work on this: "b ecause the typical stroke victim is age 55 or older, an emergency room's staff may not suspect a stroke when a patient under 45 arrives with telltale symptoms, the researchers said. They urged doctors to be vigilant for signs of a stroke even if the patient is young, noting the importance of quick treatment to prevent lasting damage. "Accurate diagnosis of stroke on initial presentation in young adults can reduce the number of patients who have continued paralysis and continued speech problems," Dr. Seemant Chaturvedi of Wayne State University in Detroit, one of the researchers, said in a statement." I know that when I went to the ER, they did not treat me as a stroke patient. Perhaps it is becuase I also had the symptoms of Spinal Meningitis, or maybe it is because I was only 38 years old.

Today is my first "post stroke" cold...

It really started last night. I was really tired and did not feel overly well last night. I could not sleep really well last night because I was congested, and then today, for most of the day, I was pretty run down. I will say one thing: I was glad they warned me what to expect from a cold. The Drs. told me that a cold may feel like another stroke: not that I am stumbling and I cannot talk, just that I don't feel right. Not like I used to feel when I had a cold, this was more a feeling that I was confused (I remember telling my wife that I was going to be quiet because I could not say the right words and I was saying words incorrectly and such.) Now, I am not saying that I felt REALLY BAD, I am just saying that I was I just did not feel right. It seems like the more congested I got, the more I lost my balance. Not that I was stumbling and staggering around, but I was really unstable. I feel better now, but I don't feel "good" yet. I will probably just stay at home tom

I am tired, but I feel great.

Yesterday, my oldest (16 years old) left for New Orleans. Last night my younger children spent the night with someone from the church. So, my wife and I did two things (keep reading, it is not a bad thing). We went out to eat at Texas Roadhouse last night, and we spent today cleaning my youngest daughter's room. Now, that may not be how someone with young kids may choose to spend a day without kids, but I was really excited to be "normal" again. I helped with lowering the bunk beds, I fixed the tops to the cabinets (they were loose), I went to the store to shop for church tomorrow (we do cookies and doghnuts before the service). So, now I am tired, but I feel great.  I really enjoyed being used by me wife. But, more than anything I feel great because it is one more reminder that I can do things that I felt were not possible again. Paul told the Corinthian church to "be steadfast, immovable, always abounding the work of the Lord forasmuch as you know that your labor

My interview went well this morning...

I know that I expect the interview to go well, but I think that it really did go well. I was able to talk about my stroke, about how the Lord has led me all the way, about the Drs. surprise every time they see me, about prayer and why we should pray, and what happens when things don't work out the way WE think they should.  I found the interviewer tobe genuinely nice and easy to work with. The biggest reason for the interview was twofold: first, to tell people that Drs., though they have training and God can use them, don't always know the future. Second, I wanted to thank everyone, especially the people who don't know me, for praying for me during this time. I am still overwhelmed everytime I read the surgeon's notes. What he said, in a nutshell, is that the surgery is an attempt to save my life, but it will not take away the deficencies in my life. Boy, when he saw me, he was surprised. I give all glory to God, because I fought hard, but He sustained my life so that

I have not posted in a few days...

Ok, so I know that I have not posted in a few days. It has not been an oversight, I have just not had anything to write. However, tomorrow is another big day. I have an interview with KCWN in Pella about my stroke. I have spent the last few days just looking over the emails and the prayer requests for me. I have also looked at the surgeon's report. I guess the best thing to say is that my situation was pretty grave. The surgeon that did my surgery said in his notes that surgery would MAYBE save my life, but it would not erase the deficiences from the stroke. He told my wife that I might not ever be the same. Truthfully, he told my wife that I might not survive the surgery, but without the surgery I would certainly die from the swelling. All I know for sure is that no one, no Dr. has anticipated me being this far this soon. They said that iMIGHT get back some of my capacity back over time, but NOT NOW. That is one thing I have a perfect score on: EVERY Dr. said that I should have a

Sometimes we will just have to be wise...

Ok, so I know more than anyone else that at times people are disagreeable. Since my stroke I have had more instances of my emotions being, for lack of a better phrase, wacky. There are times when my kids are enough to drive me crazy (My wife says that is not a drive, it is a short putt). I am just glad to be here to be driven crazy by them! During those times I try to isolate what causes me to get that way and avoid the situation. What I am doing is not avoiding the situation, I am avoiding the emotions the situation causes. For instance, if I feel myself getting irritated, I simply detach myself from the situation as soon as possible. It reminds me of something Jesus taught on the sermon on the mount. He was talking about sending his disciples as sheep to the slaughter. But, the application is the same: Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. (Matthew 10:16) Now, I believe that if every person, in every situation would live by THAT verse, it would virtually eliminate all strife. So

Why do we argue?

Since my stroke, I have more and more instances of being misundersood. It could be by me wife, it could be by my secretary, it could be in church; I know what I want to say, and I think I am saying things clearly, but people don't know what I am talking about. Sometimes it is because I think of something, then say it assuming everyone knows what I am talking about. The problem is that they don't know what I was thinking. Sometimes it is because I think I know what someone else is talking about, so I respond, only to find out that wht they are talking about and what I had heard are two different things. The truth is, it is irritating. Not so much (I hope) for the people who I talk with, but it is really irritating for me. I want everyone to understand me perfectly the first time. At times, I even argue the point, even though most times it is because the other people don't know what I am saying. It reminds me of what Paul told the Corinthian church. In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul i

This will be my first "post stroke specialist visit" post

Since I have seen the stroke specialist, and she seems to think that this was a one and done type of thing, the question for me is, "where do I go from here?" Obviously I want to move on, but I never want to forget from whence God has brought me. Truthfully, I was on death's door. Dr. Benjamin thinks I had less than 2 hours before the swelling got to the point that there could be no more hope. So, again I ask, where do I go now? I am reminded of Paul's words to the church in Corinth in his second letter to them. He said, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. (II Corinthians 1:3-5) The truth is, I want to use my situation to be a blessing to those

Let me see if my movie works...

Ok...I am going to try something that I have never tried before...I am going to try to upload a movie I made about me stroke to my blog. If it works, I am a genius, if it does not, then I am still a genius, but not one who can post movies to his blog. (Just kidding...)

I had my appointment with the stroke specialist yesterday.

All I can say is that I don't think I could have had a better appointment. First, I need to say that she was surprised, not at the fact I am walking because she thinks I would have gotten there soon anyway, but she was surprised that I was walking as soon as I am. When she came to get me, she said that she expected to see me in another state, but not walking. Then, once I was in her office, she revealed the "smoking gun" that no one else has been able to find, yet. Before my appointment yesterday I had an MRA of my upper chest, neck, and head. In the hospital, they only did an MRI, MRA and CT of my head and neck. What she said is that I have an artery, the left ventricular artery, to my brain that is completely blocked. Now, I know that sounds bad, but she said that in my case it is good because it will not allow further clots to go to my brain, but I am getting ahead of myself. Basically what happened is that sometime in the past, when is unimportant, but somteime in the

Today is my appointment in Iowa City.

Well, today is the day that I have been waiting for a month. I hope (of couse, it depends on what she says) that after today I will be done seeing doctors. The only nice thing is that you have to be accepted to Dr. Davis, but my understanding is that SHE wants to see ME. It is nice to see a Dr. that wants to see you instead of vice versa. Anway, I should know more after today than I have ever known before. The Dr. today is a stroke specialist. I have seen neurologists before, but each of my neurologists want me to see THIS Dr. apparently she is the best in Iowa dealing with strokes. If I stump her, then I don't know what I will do next. A part of me wants her to say that she cannot see anything wrong with me, she is baffled, so I just have to go home. At the same time, another part of me wants her to find something wrong with me, tell me what causes it, what the prevention is and to have a nice day. I cannot have both, but either would be nice.

I had an interesting day yesterday...

Ok, by now most of the regular followers of my blog know that I try, unsuccessfully at times, but I try to keep most of the posts pretty positive. I write about what I did, what I tried, and sucess I had, a Dr. visit that went extremel y well (as all my Dr. visits so far have done). But, this will not be one of those posts. Yesterday was a really interesting day. I would say that as long as I stayed busy, I had a normal day. But, when I was at home, just sitting, I was really down. I can't explain it, I was just a Negative Nelly all day at home. That is not like me. I am usually an Ollie Optimist.  When everyone else is down, I can usually find a reason to be encouraged. But, yesterday I was in the dumps all day at home. I can only guess why: it is because I saw pictures from before my stroke, and I was missing that life. The truth is, my current existence stinks. Oh, I am getting used to it and I am not going to go Postal on someone, but truthfully it stinks. I have to learn almos