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Death and illness during a pandemic

I have not blogged recently. It has been difficult to keep my thoughts together. There are many reasons, I think. The Covid situation is an underlying cause. My anxiety about this makes me too lethargic and sad.In this midst of Covid, a friend’s 17-year-old son drowned. Watching my son deal with his first death of a friend has been disconcerting and heartbreaking. Grieving is a personal thing and the anguish is even worse when having a funeral is not an option. During this horrible month, we have also been dealing with my mother-in-law’s deteriorating health. Trying to adhere to social distancing is tough enough yet struggling to find the best care has been overwhelming. Care facilities are not safe in these days even if those places took new patients. The medical systems are overwhelmed. We are overwhelmed as well.The next issue are my damnable headaches. My doctor thinks they are tension headaches, and I agree. With this surreal worldwide condition and the emotional toll of death an…
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Pandemic and my son....

Yesterday, I was having a conversation with a friend. I mentioned that this dreamlike pandemic has made me even more protective of my 15 year old son. With this great unknown I tell my son and my wife how much I love them. Probably too much.

I started my blog in 2008 as a sort of diary of my son. Since that time, I have posted 331 stories. The focus of my blog changed after my strokes. My first blog post after my stroke was short and exhausting to write. At that point, one of my many therapists made me do some blog posts. It was my homework just like repeating the alphabet and practicing counting.

As my recovery progressed, the blog posts were often dark and angry reflecting my mindset at the time. I would lash out about my angry fears, depression, and the loss of me. It was not until a reporter, Dan Popkey of the Idaho Statesman, told me that my blog was part of his research when the newspaper published a story about me. I realized that my angry rants were actually being read!


Stroke survivors are champions of social distancing

In the midst of this bizarre pandemic, in my little world, this situation is “just inconvenient.” I prepared for social isolation 8 years ago when I had my strokes in January of 2012.  

Stroke survivors are champions of social distancing before it was a "thing!"

That month I lost my ability to communicate, my job, my security, and what I thought was my identity. Despite my strength, the strokes did not prepare me for the catastrophic social isolation that ensued.

For the first year of my recovery, the isolation was overwhelming in several ways. Because of my aphasia, I could not communicate. The loss of literal of my voice was horrifying. I could not talk at all. Even now, 8 years later, my “speaking” is hesitant and slower. Later in the day, I miss words and get confused. Everything is very deliberate.

Aphasia is not just the loss of “talking.” For me, it is the loss of reading, handwriting, and some aspects of math.

Today as I type this blog post, I am “speaking” the words as …

Pandemic and Isolation

My wife mentioned to me that we need to document this surreal pandemic. It is tough to even describe the “everyday tasks” we now take for granted. In Idaho where I live, the governor has issued a “stay at home” order. Most people do not know what that really means.

"Liquor and gun stores" are essential yet
accounting firms are not? If this is the Apocalypse, maybe one of the four horsemen in Revelations will be drunk with a gun.

The unknown is scaring the whole world. The widgets of our worldwide economy are disrupted. People are starting to realize the term “social distancing” and “supply chain” issues. The heralded digital economy is great. However, the bottom line is farmers and the dependent businesses make the whole world work.

In my small universe, I am dealing with the unknown ramifications of the pandemic.  

I am on the Board of the College of Western Idaho. We serve around 34,000 students in several locations. The college is aggressively working to deliver education “o…
After my strokes 8 years ago, a group of fellow stroke survivors formed the Idaho Aphasia, Apraxia, and Dysarthria Support Group. We meet weekly in person at St. Luke's in Meridian, Idaho. We developed a Facebook presence as well (Idaho Aphasia, Apraxia, and Dysarthria Facebook). We have followers all over the world now. "Strokes" are physically debilitating of course. However, the social isolation is often the worst part of "recovery." Stroke support groups fill an important need for being "connected" even when a stroke survivor loses the ability to communicate especially "talking." I have suspended our "face-to-face" meetings until this world wide pandemic is over. This world wide pandemic makes stroke isolation even worse. I really want all of you to know – survivors, care-givers, nurses, therapists, and staffs of the hospitals who support our group – that I appreciate all that you do. I need this group for me sense of well b…

Strokes and headaches! Oh My!

Recently, I have had several severe headaches. I have had headaches ever since my strokes. My neurologist still does not understand why I have those headaches. It seems that the particular part of my brain that was damaged should not result in pain.  

Nevertheless, as I tell new stroke survivors, every stroke and recovery is different.  I have headaches. I just deal with the reality.

About 3 years ago, I was plagued with similar pain. Ultimately, I got a CT scan. That scan three years ago indicated that nothing has changed. I dealt with it.

The recent series of headaches have been similar to the ones 3 years ago. After 6 weeks of pain, I finally went to the ER mainly because the intensity of the headaches was extreme. Two days ago, three Norcos did not help.

Therefore, I went to my safe place, St. Alphonsus Regional Trauma Center in Boise, Idaho.  I spent 18 days there after my strokes 8 years ago. At the ER, I apologized to the staff because I feel guilty wasting time and resources bec…

Handwriting and aphasia

A couple of days ago, I blogged about my new years resolutions. Today, I did my first "handwriting" task. Writing 4 sentences was really tough. I knew it would be. I got stuck on the words "sentences" and "tough."

It is my "handwriting." I have always "printed" rather than using cursive. My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. White, was not "nice to me" (in my 3rd grade mind) so I rebelled and printed.  

Her only redeeming trait was she drove a 1959 Buick Electra which I loved. But I digress.

The rest of my resolutions are a work in progress. I have not used the treadmill yet. Often, I endure headaches. For about two days, my headaches also caused nausea and lightheadedness. It was too dangerous to try.

Today, of course, I feel better so I am doing too much again. I took my son to school. I changed an outlet in our kitchen. I stained some wood for a project. I installed a lighted outlet cover. I did my chore of handwriting and I am writi…