Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday Comics

For Better and For Worse
Lynn Johnston - 2008-07-22

"It's good to see you outside, Jim!"
Scott Adams - 2013-07-26

"You failed the online ethics course for..."

Jim Davis - 2013-07-25

"Ants have eaten all of our tofu!"

Delainey & Rasmussen - 2013-07-26

"I think you have the makings of a hoarder!"

*For Better and For Worse" is a serious topic of stroke but with a very nice cartoons. It is all about Grandpa Jim had a stroke and 88 further cartoon "strips" that happened to Grandpa Jim. See as well 
 the cartoonist Lynn Johnston.
** I tried to get low or free price at the people for the images for the cartoons. It was too high for Stroke Survivors Tattler i.e. we are not a regular newspaper and our budget is very low. Fortunately, you will have to do only 1-click more to see the cartoon image, it is legit and it is free using and
*** Changed from "Pickles" to "Betty" -- "Betty" is a excellent cartoon and Gary Delainey & Gerry Rasmussen are authors/artists/cartoon-strips and they live in Edmonton.

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ What Can a Limited Mobility Person Do?

Jo Murphey
The Murphey Saga
Sunday, July 21, 2013

As I sit here in front of my computer I ponder what a difference a little over a year makes once again. On my calendar the date is circled in red with blue stars and no, not for the belated 4th of July weekend. I had written in "Moving Day."

No this isn't mine but close
(Hitting the rewind button on my tape player) Today was the date we'd set to move our tiny house on wheel onto our property to begin homesteading our compound. Even though it would only be part-time for the next six months. We had planned to start constructing the out buildings like the chicken house and pens.

Now this house plan sits idle with just the stack of recycled lumber and the 8x12 trailer frame sitting in my side yard still waiting to be completed. Where did I get recycled lumber from? Two places. My 12 x 22 foot playhouse was torn down because of flood water damage and was replaced, and my son in law is a contractor. There are all sorts of goodies he found for the project like doors and windows, and a host of electrical equipment which would have gone to a landfill somewhere because someone was upgrading or there just wasn't enough for another large building job.

I had some shingles leftover from the original playhouse which was slated for my roof. I searched high and low for apartment sized electric appliances because most RV equipment runs off propane and I didn't want to go that route. My tiny house was to be solar and wind powered. There was to be a gutter rain water catch system similar to the one installed in my home. The master bed would be a futon with a thick, cushy mattress on the ground floor instead of in the loft and the loft area would be storage. That's the plan anyhow.

(My tape player makes a funny sound as I quickly punch the stop button and fast forward to the present.) All of that changed with my stroke. As I said all of it is sitting under cover waiting for me to get my arm back enough to do the work involved. Maneuvering around the tiny space will not be a problem. In fact, it would be easier than my home. I just have to build it. Yes, I could get my son in law and grandsons build it for me, but I want to build it myself with their's a goal to work towards.

In the meantime work continues on the property. Three wells have been dug to various levels depending on the use. Livestock, laundry, and gardens don't need to thirty-foot wells for pure water like humans prefer. The shallow wells all have hand pumps. Our "little" family did that by hand a weekend at a time. Three more deep wells are planned.

The pond is finished and complete with a solar powered aeration pump. Duck weed is growing by leaps and bounds uneaten by fish and livestock yet, and the snails are healthy so my organic fish/swimming pond is ready to go. The baby bass and brim are on order for stocking it. The stumps have been cleared for six home sites. Although only one is needed right now for one daughter and her family. My husband and I plan on staying in our tiny house. It's just moving at a much slower pace than I want it to.

Yes, God is working on my impatience issues. I just wish He'd hurry up. Still I'm still working on researching various aspects of homesteading. Currently it is hydroponics for the greenhouse, another out building on hold. Obtaining knowledge, and the trial and error period is done before we move onto the compound. Once we go off grid, that's it. The only concession is the need for modern medicine, but in a pinch I've got substitutes for almost anything.

Yes, that's free pallets and a tarp
I really don't want large animals like cows and horses. They are just too expensive to maintain and I really don't like the idea of a large animal knocking me off my feet. Ducks and chickens for eggs, and meat. With the added benefit of free organic fertilizer. They even partially till the soil with their scratching and keep the bug population down. Two of my daughters have already started raising their flocks of layers and meat.

Rabbits for meat and fur for sweaters. Ooh! Angora sweaters!  Angoras and other breeds are in the hutches waiting for the move. I haven't figured out a way to knit one-handed but then I haven't tried either. The ultimate in luxurious warmth. Hey, just because I'm homesteading doesn't mean I can't have creature comforts and be stylish too.

Goats for milk, cheese and meat. With the goats you get the added benefit that they will clean out the undergrowth and keep the grassy areas clipped. Everything has dual or triple purposes. I haven't gotten the goats yet because of my stroke and a limit on how much I can do in an urban setting.

So what can a person with limitations, like me, do? Anything I darn well please to do with adjustments.
  • How about home schooling the rugrats? I do hold a degree in education up to middle school. But a degree isn't necessary.
  • Teaching other adults how to prepare food for long term storage or homesteading.
  • How about all those free range, organically fed eggs? We can only eat so many at a time. Someone has to negotiate with stores and set delivery schedules.
  • Being a chef once upon a time, I did a lot of butchering. Deer meat, chickens, ducks, and goats all need to be processed. Notice I don't mention daughter and I are allergic to pork. 
  • I can fish with some assistance with baiting and unhooking the fish. That's what I have grandchildren for. <big, fat grin> 
  • While I may be limited in motion, I guarantee I can still supervise and teach. 
  • I can feed and care for my chickens and rabbits. Although I need assistance with the slaughter. That's a two-handed job.
  • Think of creative recycling projects. Nothing goes to waste.
  • I still can harvest eggs and cook.
  • I am a survivalist at heart.
I really don't like being limited. Who does? But there is still plenty I can and will do. I'm just spreading my wings this year. I might take flight next year or the year after.

Nothing is impossible with determination.

See the original article:
       From The Murphey Saga

Moving More may Lower Stroke Risk

Jeff Porter
Stroke of Faith
Thursday, July 25, 2013

A regular visitor to this blog won't be surprised - exercise is good for you!

I regularly run 4-10 miles - occasionally longer - and now, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health suggests that moving more may lower stroke risk:
  • The findings revealed that regular, moderately vigorous exercise, enough to break a sweat, was linked to reduced risk of stroke. Part of the protective effect was due to lower rates of known stroke risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity and smoking.
  • “Our results confirm other research findings but our study has the distinct advantage of including larger numbers, especially larger numbers of women as well as blacks, in a national population sample so these provide somewhat more generalizable results than other studies,” said Virginia Howard, Ph.D., senior author of the study from the School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham.

"Enough to break a sweat" is a good measure for exercise, at least in my experience. And it makes sense that exercise will help address high blood pressure and help with other key stroke risk factors.

Walking is a good start - cheap exercise most people can do.

(Photo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

See the original article:
      Moving More may Lower Stroke Risk
      from Stroke of Faith

Antonio Damasio: The Quest to Understand Consciousness

Uploaded on Dec 19, 2011
SSTattler: Great lecture! I will re-publish sometime in the fall. Every morning we wake up and regain consciousness -- that is a marvelous fact -- but what exactly is it that we regain? Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio uses this simple question to give us a glimpse into how our brains create our sense of self.

Antonio Damasio's research in neuroscience has shown that emotions play a central role in social cognition and decision-making. His work has had a major influence on current understanding of the neural systems, which underlie memory, language, consciousness.

Antonio Damasio is a leader in understanding the biological origin of consciousness. He also argues that emotions, far from being barriers to it, are a crucial component of decision-making. He is founder and director of the USC Brain and Creativity Institute, which draws on partners across academic disciplines to use the explosion of new neuroscience results to tackle issues from mental health to societal and global change.

Damasio is the author of Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain, which was adapted into a musical composition performed by Yo-Yo Ma at the American Museum of Natural History.

Standard YouTube License @ TED Talks

RMR: Cool Old Canadians

Uploaded on Nov 23, 2010

Claim kinship with the best.

Standard YouTube License @ The Rick Mercer Report

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Saturday Comics

For Better and For Worse
Lynn Johnston - 2008-07-21

"If only the walls could talk !!"
Scott Adams - 2013-07-15

"Your phone# is missing a digit and your email..."

Jim Davis - 2013-07-14

"You say this is the latest fashion trend ??"

Delainey & Rasmussen - 2013-07-12

"...more calories sleeping, you need to have a BMR"

*For Better and For Worse" is a serious topic of stroke but with a very nice cartoons. It is all about Grandpa Jim had a stroke and 88 further cartoon "strips" that happened to Grandpa Jim. See as well 
 the cartoonist Lynn Johnston.
** I tried to get low or free price at the people for the images for the cartoons. It was too high for Stroke Survivors Tattler i.e. we are not a regular newspaper and our budget is very low. Fortunately, you will have to do only 1-click more to see the cartoon image, it is legit and it is free using and
*** Changed from "Pickles" to "Betty" -- "Betty" is a excellent cartoon and Gary Delainey & Gerry Rasmussen are authors/artists/cartoon-strips and they live in Edmonton.

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ "Please Sir, I Want Some More."

Jo Murphey
The Murphey Saga
Sunday, July 14, 2013

I have come to the realization that stroke survivors are a glutton for punishment in regards to physical and occupational therapy. We are like Oliver in Charles Dicken's play Oliver Twist...'Please, sir, I want some more.'

I find myself back in physical therapy after my latest round on Botox injections. I laid or sat on the mat for the initial evaluation and I'm talking to the therapist. "A little more, pain level about a 5, that's it." Because the spasticity kicks in and my pain level shoots to about a 7. I feel like Oliver being the only voice speaking up in a large group.

Granted other aphasic stroke patients can't verbalize as well as I can. Many others just do not speak up. I tend to be very vocal. I'll talk you through my therapy routine. If you don't communicate with your therapists, you are only hurting yourself.

I call my therapist a terrorist to her face and she laughs. She knows I don't really mean it. I asked for this, almost demanded it. It's the only way for me to regain the use of my affected side. I know if my limits are not pushed there is no improvement.

I use pain as an indicator. I'll push until I reach 7 out of 10 because even my heart attack was only a 7 out of 10. Then have been a few occasions when I've hit a 10. When I was shot. When I was in a helicopter crash. When I fell down a flight of stairs in an apartment complex and broke several bones. It is not an enjoyable feeling. At 7, I may have tears rolling down my face and my words will catch. At 10, there will be tears, my mouth will open and close but no sound will come out. So if I'm talking to you, I'm fine.

Even if I can't speak like the early days of my stroke, the nurses and I worked out a set of signals. At 7, my hand will be slapping the bed. At 10, my eyes are shut tight and my functioning hand is in a fist. Again, if I'm making noise, I'm okay.

In some ways, I think my therapists appreciate my candor. I have worked with many of them over the years on various assorted parts of my body. I know they don't intentionally want to do me harm. Their job is to help me get better. In my mind, if I don't tell them; they don't know. I am very opinionated and vocal so you can image how my aphasia affects me.

I'm always fair. I give them the benefit of doubt. I weigh
everything in pros and cons. Nothing is all terrible or all fantastic. I'll try anything until I can prove it doesn't work. There have been plenty of times I've been skeptical and been proven wrong.

Like the OT's use of the fluidotherapy machine on my paralyzed hand and wrist. I couldn't see how grit and warm circulating air would enable me to move my hand. I thought it was a useless, waste of time for about a month. Then I noticed how relaxed my hand and wrist were after spending a few minutes in the machine. I'm not totally sold on it yet, but I'm starting to see some benefits. Now, I'll ask for it or paraffin before stretching.

While I will work my paralyzed extremities at home. I'll wearing the braces and supports until pain causes me to take them off. I'm proactive in my therapy or as much as I can be. So haven't the therapists taught me how to do everything by now? Probably. Possibly enough for me to do most at home, so why do I go? They can get better angles working on and with me than I can do by myself. I've used headboards, footboards, shower curtain rods, and assorted other things to mimic what they do at home, but still it takes two hands and sometimes a knee to pull and stretch muscles out to the fullest and keep everything aligned. That I can't do by myself.

So I'll continue to be a glutton for punishment and ask, "Please sir, I want some more."

Nothing is impossible with determination.


Lara Lacombe July 14, 2013 said... You absolutely have to take charge of your health like this--it's the only way to really make progress. Good for you for knowing that!

J.L. Murphey July 15, 2013 said... I believe everyone should be more proactive in the choices in life.

Amy July 15, 2013 said... You had cancer 4 times, a heart attack, a stroke, you were in a helicopter crash, and you fell down a flight stairs??? Am I missing anything? Survivor is not the word for you.

J.L. Murphey July 15, 2013 said... Yeah Amy, a whole bunch more but not mentioned here. LOL So what is the word for me?

See the original article:
      Sunday Stroke Survival ~ "Please Sir, I Want Some More."
      from The Murphey Saga

Winnipeg Folk Festival - Day 1 & Sit to Stand Therapy & ...

Dean Reinke
Deans' Stroke Musing
Friday, July 19, 2013

Winnipeg Day 1

Wednesday - Even with our best intentions we didn't get driving until 9am. Jammed 4 bicycles onto the back rack, filled up the huge Thule carrier on top and crammed everything else for 4 people into the back of the Subaru Forrester.

I got the left back seat, great for therapy, alternated between wedging the left hand between the door pillar and the seat in front of me, trying to stop the damnable bicep spasticity. Or  getting the left hand onto the grab bar above the window, I spent 20 minutes failing at that, could not get the fingers open at the same time as I got the hand up to the bar. Finally asked my friend for help, just holding my arm up was enough to get the fingers around the bar. I then spent the next 45 minutes swinging my elbow to the left and just holding it there. And clasping the bar so my hand didn't fall off. No rest on any car trip for me. 5 hours to the Canada border, no problems entering. Another 2.5 hours to the Birds Hill Provincial Park where the camping and concerts are. We are in the quiet campground as compared to the festival campground where  music and drumming go all night. We meet our Maine friend who is already there, with 6 live lobsters for dinner tonight.

Sit to Stand Therapy - Winnipeg

You can only have foldable chairs that are only 24 inches high, called backpack chairs. This means that the front edge of the chair is only 8-9 inches off the ground.gLike this RIO backpack chair:

Normal people just put both their hands on the armrests and pull/push themselves to an upright position and start walking. With my left arm spasticity I have a different method, it involves using just my right arm to pull my butt forward until the right butt cheek is on the front bar, then either kick my left foot underneath me with my right foot or pull it under with my right hand. Reach under my butt with my right hand to push up with, don't use the right arm rest, that tips the chair.  Then  propel myself upwards mainly with my right leg.  I used to short circuit this in past years my having one of my friends just yank me upwards. Then I stand in position for a minute or two until my legs feel uncramped from all the sitting.    I do this dozens of times every day. Notice the attached pillow, I would sleep in it for some of the more boring concerts.

See Other Articles - Winnipeg Folk Festival:
Sensation Stroke Therapy - Winnipeg Folk Festival 
Winnipeg Folk Festival - Day-1 
Winnipeg Day 2 
Altered Reality Stroke Therapy - Winnipeg Folk Festival 
Walking Stroke Therapy - Winnipeg Folk Festival 
Jumping As Stroke Therapy - Winnipeg Folk Festival 
Action Observation - Walking at Winnipeg Folk Festival 
Tarp Run/Shuffle - Winnipeg Folk Festival
From Deans' Stroke Musing

Bud Clyde Commercials

Monty Becker
Stroke Survivors Tattler
Published on Oct 12, 2012

A collection of Buderweiser commercials featuring the Clydesdales as the "Hero's".

We had a lot of fun working on these productions and training the horses. Join us on Facebook -

About Turtle Ranch is home to a large herd of custom trained horses and cattle. We encourage productions to utilize the beautiful Wyoming locations either on our ranch or in the surrounding areas. We can also bring our animals to your location choice.

Some comments:
Dennis Bueno Whomever writes the commercials is a genius as well as creative. Love , love, love those commercials AND the Budweiser Clydesdales!  
thebros293 omg is that brewer on top of the carriage 
Jonna Hagemeyer I totally love these commercials...I laughed and cried watching them. I could watch them over and over again!!! Way to go Bud!!!! 
Rambler Zepp Thanks so much for uploading all my favourite Bud ads with those big handsome gentle giants and the lovely Dalmatian dog. Excellent, even though I get a a few tears in my eyes watching them. Bud is also my favourite drink, there's nothing like a cold one!

Standard YouTube License @ Turtle Ranch

What is the Cloud? (sort-a with pictures on a napkin!)

Uploaded on Jun 27, 2011

I've been drawing this on the back of napkins for years, so I thought it was about time to get it down on video. :)

A few comments (total about 50+):
neenu mathew Very good explanation... Thank you very much. 
Matt Mansfield When I was creating this video, Steve Jobs had just announced the launch of iCloud so that's why the cloud was on many people's minds. I did not mean to imply that Jobs had anything to do with creating or defining the cloud. 
Nick Reva Clean and concise. Used this to explain to my wife what I talk about around the world :)  
Anilkumar Shankar Wow.. just what i wanted... clean and simple!!! Thank you so much Matt!!! 
Zubayer Fahim good video. learn something new about cloud computing. thanks you Matt. keep up the good work.

Standard YouTube License @ Matt Mansfield

Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts

Published on Mar 2, 2012 In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

Some Comments (of Total = 4,407!)
Brawlers Up Tv i stopped feeling ashamed.. proud introvert! 
razorrahmo Very enlightening and salient points! Thank You Susan! 
Julia M. As a 15 year old introvert, I really relate to this talk. I love spending time with friends and collaborating on projects I'm passionate about, but I also fiercely guard my alone time. I used to try and fight my instincts to spend time working on my own, but now I welcome it. 
LankyAlpaca I don't think that's you being introverted, rather you have a quite a common problem called stage fright, everybody's got it, even the extroverts. 
Rozax #TeamIntrovert! My language classes were wild about group work. This makes sense, right? You need to speak to learn the language. But we spent so much time memorizing and writing stupid grammar lessons (that's a grammarian saying this) and I wanted to continue reading. We were told to speak, but not really how. As often as possible, I wheedled my way into the odd-student-out so I could work alone. As an aside: I hate the word "widower". A baker bakes, a teacher teaches, a widower... 
Cris Ramirez I am an introvert as well. I liked this video, it pointed out that being an introvertperson does not make you any less sociable. Also it doesn't require you to pick a side, rather to understand an individual who prefers solitude over other things. 
KingSNAFU I'm introvert but I enjoy being in a city too do my reflection. I've always like cities because youcan be alone without actually being alone.

Standard YouTube License @ TEDtalksDirector

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Saturday Comics

For Better and For Worse
Lynn Johnston - 2008-06-09

"No problems!... How's gramps?"
Scott Adams - 2013-07-12

"I'm more of a big idea guy -- a conceptualist ..."

Jim Davis - 2013-07-12

"Garfield hid my car keys ..."

Delainey & Rasmussen - 2013-07-12

"I sent a velvet hammer as foosball challenge..."

*For Better and For Worse" is a serious topic of stroke but with a very nice cartoons. It is all about Grandpa Jim had a stroke and 88 further cartoon "strips" that happened to Grandpa Jim. (See as well 
 the author Lynn Johnston).
** I tried to get low or free price at the people for the images for the cartoons. It was too high for Stroke Survivors Tattler i.e. we are not a regular newspaper and our budget is very low. Fortunately, you will have to do only 1-click more to see the cartoon image, it is legit and it is free using and
*** Changed from "Pickles" to "Betty" -- "Betty" is a excellent cartoon and Gary Delainey & Gerry Rasmussen are authors/artists/cartoon-strips and they live in Edmonton.

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Coping with Crowds

Jo Murphey
The Murphey Saga
Sunday, July 7, 2013

Now I don't know about y'all, but I have difficulties with crowds of people even if it's only family. So you can imagine what my 4th of July family reunion was like with four generations of family...only 100+ made it this year.

Ever since my stroke, I get extremely uncomfortable in a group of four or more people. My brain goes into sensory overload. At my monthly stroke survivors meeting there might be forty or fifty of us in a room, but only one person speaks at a time. I can manage that but regular get-togethers like this past 4th of July family reunion, Christmas, or my recent deluge of family doing deconstruction on my brain shuts down. It's just too much.

This is a far cry from my pre-stroke self where I taught in a classroom with fifty students or did round robin discussion groups with hundreds. I could listen and respond to ten different conversations at once. Now, my brain doesn't know where to focus on the multitude of conversations going on. They all begin with "Momma," "Jo," "Grandma," or "Honey" and they are coming from different directions. I get a tilt-a-whirl sensation where I have to shut my eyes and close off my hearing. It still does a year post stroke.

I know I'm not the only stroke survivor that feels this way because others have expressed the same thing. So it makes me ask when will it get better? I get the same answer I get when I ask how long does recovery take? It depends on how fast your brain rewires itself. If it manages to rewire. A lot of help that is if you are the impatient sort like me.

Those two words are as helpful as "IF." If I spend more time in groups will it get better faster or will I just be spinning my wheels? If I gradually build up to larger and larger groups will it help? Nobody has an answer. Weighing all my choices I chose the last one to try.

The Fix (for me)

I have found over the past year of testing this theory it works.
  • Just after my stroke, one on one was comfortable. Constant eye contact was essential and one subject with constant reminding what the subject was. Any more than one was an overload situation.
  • After six months after my stroke, I was managing a three-way conversation with three people so long as it was the same subject. I would need reminding what the subject was. Limited eye contact with speaker. Any more was an overload situation.
  • After ten months after my stroke, I was able to have a four-way conversation on the same subject. If a new subject was introduced, I'd have to be reminded what the original subject was. No eye contact is necessary.
  • After a year, six people in conversation about a single subject. Overload occurs with the addition of a seventh person and multiple subjects at once. The brain goes tilt.
So there is improvement as my brain rewires. There is hope that I'll be able to write fiction again with multiple characters given time. Maybe by my fifth year post stroke if my improvement continues and I continue to push my limits. One day I may be able to say Dyslexic/ADD what's that. At least I have hope that I can overcome my deficit.

Nothing is impossible with determination.


Zan Marie July 7, 2013 said... My friend who is a TBI survivor is the same way, Jo. That's how I started editing her work. We were at a local writers meeting and everyone was critiquing her writing, a grammar intensive session, and I realized she couldn't take what was being said in. I asked to take her offering home and do an edit and email it to her. She was thrilled and that's why I edited her book. 

She says it gets better, though it can still be hard if the crowd isn't aware and takes turns.

J.L. Murphey July 7, 2013 said... And that's why I chose you out of the 60 that offered and the twenty-something I interviewed for my stroke book. The fact that we know each other other places helps too.

It getting comes in waves on a beach with ebb and flows.

Lara Lacombe July 7, 2013 said... Sounds like you are improving!

J.L. Murphey July 8, 2013 said... Improving, yes. In small steps. I did manage the 4th fairly well but we sat off to the side so people came up to us in a one-on-one situation. It helps to preplan.

Amy July 8, 2013 said... 100+ people???? That gives me anxiety just thinking about it, good for you!

J.L. Murphey July 9, 2013 said... Amy, Usually our family reunions are closer to 350 people. I'll take 100 any day.

See the original article:
      Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Coping with Crowds
      from The Murphey Saga

Unique Visitors Statistic - Jan 1st-2012 to Jul 6th-2013

John C. Anderson
Stroke Survivors Tattler
Here is Unique Visitors Statistic for this year and a half:
  • SSTattler has a UV statistical drop and relative low in Summer Break, Xmas, and Easter but I think it is normal for this site i.e.  everybody has a break during the summer and various holidays (especially for professionals).
  • We have stat's 3 peaks during the conferences about stroke - the end of summer 2012 (Australia), the fall 2012(Germany), and early 2013 in Hawaii (USA).  Hawaii peaks for our site at 298 hits.
  • The 6 months during January/2013 to June/2013 hits above 200+ except for Easter(196 hits).
  • The Tred Power is just the average hits but so far it is going up.

A New Blog Author in SSTattler - Robin

Welcome Robin -- See as well About Us.
SSTattler: I will re-publish in September / 2013.

Author - Robin
Rocky Mountain Stroke Survivor
  • Little did I know when my husband took this photo of my two children and I a few days before Christmas in 2012 that the new year would bring something none of us were expecting: a stroke.
  • As a 31 year old mother of two small children, I struggled to come to terms with my new life and how it affected my family.  
  • Like many others have done when confronted by a major life event, I started writing about it.  When I could do nothing else, I kept typing.  
  • And I discovered that I wasn’t alone.  There is a whole community of stroke bloggers.
  • And then the Rocky Mountain Stroke Center, where I have received most of my therapy, discovered my writing and asked me to write for them.  
  • This blog expresses my views only. The Rocky Mountain Stroke Center has never been involved in the content.  
  • This blog is also not intended to provide medical advice of any sort.  I am simply writing about my own experiences and those of other stroke survivors in the hopes that others will benefit from reading it as much as I have from writing it.
  • I was and is a Family Physician but see Before the Stroke ...
  • Please see my blog Rocky Mountain Stroke Survivor.

New Hope for Recovery for Stroke Patients


An estimated two million Americans who have suffered a stroke or other brain injury have the condition known as aphasia. Evidence continues to emerge showing that the brain is able to recover even many years following injury. Laura Landro joins Lunch Break to discuss. Photo: Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

The Devastating Statement in Therapy:
       “You have reached your plateau.”

Mark A. Ittleman
The Teaching of Talking
I’ll make this as brief as I can since it is a common occurrence in the rehabilitation field.  It involves telling the person who is receiving rehabilitation they have “reached a plateau.”  I have seen the devastation of what that can do.  I have seen the depression, angst, and feelings of diminished self worth and hopelessness that a client or family member feels.

Often in human endeavors people have said:  “That can’t be done.”  “It’s impossible,” or there is “no way you will ever walk or talk again!”  We have read the stories of people who have overcome adversities and refused to listen to “educated opinions.”  When people don’t want to exert themselves the conversation frequently leads to the opinion that it is not achievable.

I knew of a man who was in such despair after being told that he had reached a plateau, by inexperienced clinicians, that he took his own life.  His wife thought that the “professional should know,” and therefore did not question the recommendation to stop therapy.  She later started seeking other professionals to help her husband but unfortunately it was too late.

Please realize that the “plateau” is a common term used when the clinician or therapy institution does not have any more answers.  Realize that it could mean you have drained the “knowledge base” there, and that it is time to seek other opinions, institutions, or professionals who may know of other ways to deal with the rehabilitation challenge.

Mark A. Ittleman, M.S., CCC/SLP
Senior Speech Language Pathologist
Author:  “Teaching of Talking”

A Conversation with a Caregiver who is using The Teaching of Talking

Mark A. Ittleman
The Teaching of Talking
READER: Thank you again for your book its making a difference for us both.He is not as depressed now.. God Bless You

AUTHOR: Thank you so much for keeping me in the loop. Let me know if I can be of any help to you in clarifying things! It's so great to follow your progress with your husband. Are you using imbedded questions, Please let me know!

READER: yes we are using Imbedded questions, and its working great. Just today i asked him what our sons name was (DG is our sons Nick Name) and he said it but it wasn't very clear but was understandable. He is progressing slowly but it's working when others said it would never happen. Thanks to your book and your Shared knowledge of a PT. I'm getting more and more excited everyday.. Thank You Mark...

AUTHOR: Great. Often when speech is not clear it may be helpful for you to either say the word louder or draw it out; prolong the word and say it very slowly emphasizing each syllable.

READER: thanks i will keep that in mind, tomorrow as we work together. He is so excited that he is able to get words out clearly. His ST didn't work with him like i'm working with him now. Your book has been more helpful than the ST was. Again I Thank You

A Nursing Student Said To Me Today...

A nursing student said to me today, after observing a speech therapy session with a man who was hospitalized after CVA and Aphasia. "Every nurse who cares for people with a stroke and aphasia should learn the Teaching of Talking Method." His wife was learning how to stimulate speech and language with the Teaching of Talking Method and I asked the nursing student to join us. Both the nurse and wife were so excited since they picked up some of the methods and immediately started stimulating this gentleman's speech each time they saw him.  Hmmmmm... Hadn't thought of that... How important this would be for a neuro-nurse or rehabilitation professional! The great ideas people can come up with!

Mark A. Ittleman, M.S., CCC/SLP

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Saturday, July 06, 2013

Saturday Comics

For Better and For Worse
Lynn Johnston - 2008-06-08

"Going to take great-grandpa Jim to..."
Scott Adams - 2013-07-05

"I migrated our northern data centre to the cloud"

Jim Davis - 2013-07-05

"Every morning I wake-up and think..."

Delainey & Rasmussen - 2013-07-05

"I won my foosball with a Bip-Bop-Boinga!"

*For Better and For Worse" is a serious topic of stroke but with a very nice cartoons. It is all about Grandpa Jim had a stroke and 88 further cartoon "strips" that happened to Grandpa Jim. (See as well 
 the author Lynn Johnston).
** I tried to get low or free price at the people for the images for the cartoons. It was too high for Stroke Survivors Tattler i.e. we are not a regular newspaper and our budget is very low. Fortunately, you will have to do only 1-click more to see the cartoon image, it is legit and it is free using and
*** Changed from "Pickles" to "Betty" -- "Betty" is a excellent cartoon and Gary Delainey & Gerry Rasmussen are authors/artists/cartoon-strips and they live in Edmonton.