These are some of the notes from the Disability exam: 12/12/08 MRI of the brain and skull reported craniectomy changes of the posterior fossa; extensive areas of infarction of the cerebellar hemispheres in the PICA distribution as well as the pons and middle cerebellar penduncles. 4/23/09 VA neurology note: noted to have mild nystagmus on lateral gaze and mild 6th cranial nerve palsy with slight left facial droop. 1/6/11 DIAGNOSES: Stroke, affecting the bilateral cerebellum and pons, due to dissected vertebral artery, with the residuals of: fatiguing, mild dysphagia, mild aphasia, left hemiparesis with mild weakness and fatiguing and lack of endurance of left extremities, episodic tremors, episodic dizziness, headache from occipital muscle tension headaches, intermittent tinnitus. Although there is no evidence of damage to cranial nerve VI nor VII per se; the veteran has had damage to the pons, the area where the cranial nerves originate, the dizziness and tinnitus are consistent with inappropriate processing of signal coming from the labyrinth and cochlea along CN VIII to the areas of the brain damaged in the strokes.
A few years ago I was presented with the opportunity to come back to Stratford, Iowa, to First Baptist church, as their pastor; for those of you who have followed this blog for some time, FBC in Stratford was my first pastorate. Let's just say I prayed about it as I was jumping at the opportunity. The church has a parsonage, so I could live there and not have to worry about a houe payment; and I needed to slow down, and this was a part time position (which, as a side note, allowed for me to get a greater disability from the VA than when I was working full time with St. Croix Hospice...) We love Stratford, and absolutely love the church; the people are wonderful and accepted us, again, with open arms. This was, for me, the perfect position: I get to pastor a church I LOVE, I get to do life with people I LOVE, and I have already had the opportunity to do weddings and baptism services for kids (adults now) that I have known their entire lives. IT IS GREAT. The longer I have been here,