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Cat on a hot tin roof

One of my favorite plays is “A Cat On a Hot Tin Roof.”  I’ve always enjoyed Tennessee Williams writings. Often there is an anti-hero who speaks bitter truth. In the tortured souls of his characters, he often exposes the dark side of life. In 1958, Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman filmed the screen adaption of the play. It’s a great movie even though in the 50s era they had to sanitize the realities Williams words. I have often blogs about my headaches. My last post was in anticipation of my third Botox treatment.  As I write this blog post, I’m sitting in the dark in the middle of the night with a headache.  If I should take the Norco or just tough it out. Newman’s character “Brick” had a confrontation with his father about secrets and “mendacity.” Brick stressed alcohol is the only way to deal with the stress of living. As I contemplate this pain, this line in the play/movie resonates to me “Like a switch clicking off in my head. Turns the hot light off and th
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Dark Places

For several months my sleep pattern has been disrupted. I often wake up between 2:00 to 4:00 in morning. It is because of the constant headaches. Plus our dog Lucy expects me to sit in the dark living room and she expects a treat.  It’s like a dystopian Pavlov’s dog situation. Frankly, she gets a rawhide and I take a Norco to relieve the pain. She eats her treat and my pill kicks in to relieve my pain. She then sits by the window in search of the elusive cats. And I think about the peaceful dark space in my head. Of course, people are worried about my sleep pattern. And I am conscious of this situation as well. On the other hand, I do enjoy this time. Often I have bogged about my stroke recovery. There are no visible issues. I do not limp. My communication is much better then several years ago when my aphasia was so obvious.  Nevertheless, after nine years of strokes and aphasia, I am on the brink of my 60th birthday. I have noticed my struggle with the aphasia is more

Descending into silence

Because of my strokes nine years ago, I have a condition called “Aphasia.” Does Aphasia affect a person’s intelligence?   NOPE.  A person with aphasia may have difficulty retrieving words and names, but the person’s intelligence is basically intact. Aphasia is not like Alzheimer’s disease; for people with aphasia it is the ability to access ideas and thoughts through language – not the ideas and thoughts themselves- that is disrupted. Nevertheless, my words - or the lack of them - seems to have gotten worse. The repercussions have damaged my self-confidence.  As a result, I am withdrawing from social media for the time being. This includes my blog. My blog was a place I felt safe to express my thoughts. But for now I am doing a self imposed silence. I don’t feel safe anymore. I will lurk in the shadows but not post or comment.

Aphasia and Gas

 Today I went to the convenient store to get some gas for my car.   I told the clerk that I needed “$10 bucks on number 5.” The clerk seemed perplexed and I said, “Is something wrong?”  At that store there are six spots for gas. I was at the store at 4:30 AM at the parking lot was empty other than my vehicle. She said, “You want $10 bucks on number five but you are parked beneath number four.”  I sighed and explained not because of my Aphasia sometimes numbers are difficult for me to distinguish. But I’m a good tipper restaurants!

Garage and Aphasia

Recently I was having trouble opening my garage door. We have had the same code for years to open the garage door. After several frustrating tries garage door opened. Instantly I was worried that my brain fog manifested to the point where I could not remember numbers.  Aphasia is different for different people. For me, handwriting, numbers, and reading are difficult.    After my strokes, I was supposed to walk for exercise. However, my wife would let me walk until I could understand the numbers for our address. Even now punching in a garage code and looking at the numbers for our street address is difficult. When I am exhausted or stressed it’s even worse.  The good news is the issue with the garage door code was a dead battery.

COVID-19 and Strokes

The COVID-19 pandemic shouldn’t reduce access to stroke rehabilitation Thursday, October 29th is World Stroke Day and for the nearly 800,000 lives changed by stroke in the U.S. each year, rehabilitation offers a way to achieve the best possible recovery from a stroke. As a stroke survivor I know firsthand the importance of rehabilitation. When I was recovering from two strokes in January 2012, it was a long road and I couldn’t have done it without support from my family and my therapists. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic changes the way healthcare is delivered, it is important for stroke survivors to take advantage of the first three months after a stroke. After a stroke, a person may need therapy to learn to walk or talk again, re-learn skills needed to be independent, recover communications and cognition skills, and address other consequences of stroke. For six months, I endured intense speech, occupational and physical therapy about six times a week. Unfortunately, during the COVID-

A shadow of a man who used to be Mark Dunham

 Recently, I was contacted by a woman seeking political office. She asked me to endorse her for a national office for a trade association. I asked her why my endorsement would make a difference especially because I haven’t been around that industry for 15 years.  She responded writing, “You are still known and well loved by so many CEO's across the country! This will be so impactful!”   When I announced that I was not running for another term to be on the Board of the College of Western Idaho, at the same time I did announce my endorsement for woman to replace me. By the deadline to file for that seat, my endorsed candidate was unopposed. She thanked me and said my public support made the difference.   Around 20 years ago, an incumbent Idaho Governor asked me to chair his lobbying committee.  In other words, he wanted to use my “name” and reach out to all of the lobbyists in the state to help his reelection campaign.   When I asked him, “why Mark Dunham,” he’s said, “