Friday, July 31, 2015

Alone Again

The Pink House On The Corner
Friday, July 31, 2015

My dear friend, Lori, left on Wednesday so I am alone again. I think, the thing I miss most is having someone to say "Good morning!" to every day.  This business of being a widow is a lonely one...

So I am back to aimlessly wandering this lonely old house, this house that seems no longer like a home, but a museum of memories.

Lori & Kona

Lori did help me accomplish many things, for which I'll be forever grateful.  We did manage to donate lots of medical supplies & equipment, including Bob's manual wheelchair, to the local hospice (though I still have the expensive hospital bed and power chair, I have contacted a medical supplier about selling the bed, but I'm not sure if the wheelchair is even paid off, yet.) And dispose of prescription drugs. And tidy up many other things including storing Boomer's things and picking up Boomer's remains (my little memorial table grows, I hope no more). Also did some fun shopping at thrift stores, antique shops, etc. -- and found a new (used) couch for Kona! This to keep her off my antique furniture:

My High Blood Pressure

Dean Reinke
Deans’ Stroke Musing
Friday, July 31, 2015

Yesterday I was planning on giving blood again. Got there, took my blood pressure,186/98. Never been higher that 140/88. The cutoff for donating is 180 so I'll have to do it another time.

I will not be taking any blood pressure medications. If I need to I'll use beet juice and watermelon juice to lower it. DO NOT follow my ideas, you can ask your doctor but I'll guarantee they will know nothing about more natural ways to reduce blood pressure.

See the original article:

Road Blog #3

Tim Seefeldt
Brain Food Cafe for the Mind
Posted July 29, 2015

We were road warriors today — about 14 hours on the road.

That included stops for snaps at Kakabeka Falls (see K’s pic below), for grub in Marathon and a near sunset shoot at a scenic spot on Lake Superior. There were a couple of stops on the big lake. One of which included me singing a rendition of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Not quite up to Gordon Lightfoot’s standard, but not bad if I do say so.

Coffee, Redbull and a combo of Van Halen 1, Led Zeppelin 4 and lots of other great numbers got us through. But the caffeine is wearing off. Gotta crash.

Don’t you crash before looking at these great pics from Kristina:

Aphasia: 7-Suggestions for Speaking Improvement
         (Learned On the Other Side of the Pond)

Mark Ittleman
The Teaching of Talking
July 29 / 2015

Dear Readers and Friends:

Malka and I have returned to America from a 6 week assignment in London where we were consulting with families regarding their loved ones with speaking difficulties.  We went to train family members and interested friends in methods that help people improve the ability to speak.  Therapy was provided in their homes and schduled for many hours each day.

Multi-family housing in London
It is our sincere belief that in many-most cases the assistance of family members is critical to the improvement of communication and the ability to speak, as long as the person with the speaking difficulty is stimuable, or able to imitate sounds, syllables, words, phrases and sentences and has the ability to comprehend and recall. The method of speech and language stimulation involves stimulating speech within a conversation that involves inquiries into an individuals interests, values and expertise. We believe people will be more forthcoming with speaking if given the opportunity to speak about what truly interests them. Then there is a true reason to speak!

This article summarizes some of the learnings from the London experience, and we  hope you will also benefit and apply some of the principles when helping your family member, loved one, or client.

What we learned that can help you…

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Amy Shissler
My Cerebellar Stroke Recovery
July 28, 2015

I’ve gotten a few shiatsu massages.  I used to think that my former yoga teacher was the most intuitive person that I had ever met until I realized that I was badly manipulated and brainwashed for a few years.  And I finally realized that it wasn’t her intuition that helped me so much, it was my own intuition which she was trying to take credit for.

The woman who I go to for these massages, she is by far the most intuitive person that I have ever met.  And she is the real deal, she has no agenda whatsoever other than to help me.  She is very happy to be working with me and helping me.  I am amazed by the things she has told me, about myself, that I’m working on(that I never told her).  It’s very difficult just from looking at me and having a 15-minute conversation with me to tell that I’m dealing with SOOOOOO much.  My last few posts have very much leaned towards Eastern medicine rather than Western, hmm.  :(

I feel wonderful when I finish these therapeutic massages and am very much at peace the rest of the day.  I very much hope that this is a cumulative effect as meditation was for me.

Road Blog#2

Tim Seefeldt
Brain Food Cafe for the Mind
Posted July 28, 2015

The Canadian Shield rocks!

Kristina and I just chowed down in Ignace, ON. We drove 10 hours today to get here, starting in Shoal Lake, MB. We bedded down there instead of making it to Winnipeg.

Skies were looking kinda foreboding. It was getting dark. And there had been construction making it tough to tell where the road ended and the gravel began.

Turns out that was a good thing. Shortly after checking into our motel, it really started to pour and there was booming thunder and sky-piercing lightening. Then tornado warnings started showing up on the TV. Including for where we were.


We finally got to sleep around mindnight but were woken by another round of thunder and lightening.

The morning news told us that we missed a tornado that touched down by just an hour’s drive.

My Only AC Is In My Car

Diana Smith
Beyond Reality
Posted July 28, 2015

I don’t get a commission on the sale of this car. I just happen to drive by it once in awhile. One of my drive by shootings, taken at the wrong time of day for optimal camera lighting.

I took the dog for a break from my oppressive house. It seemed too warm to sit around and stew for a straight 24 hours more. Now I am almost out of gas, and it is hot again today. The end of the month gets harder and harder to manage my nonexistent funds. I take on too much pet care. I try to work harding in listing my Ebay items for sale. The more I list the more disorganized my house becomes. I have packing materials all out of the bin. I blame the slow payers. If they had paid already my stuff would have been shipped out and I could clean up. I have a lame excuse for everything. It is starting to cool off and get dark. I forgot to water my garden, so off I go now until the mosquitos tell me otherwise.

See the original article:

Secondhand Smoke:
         Does it Have a Deadly Link to Stroke Risk?

Jeff Porter
Stroke of Faith
Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Photo by Global Panorama via Flickr.
We know smoking is linked to increased stroke risk - among many other dangers.

It's possible that even being around smokers might bump up your risk. Check out this recent study how secondhand smoke is tied to raised stroke risk:
"Our findings suggest the possibility for adverse health outcomes such as stroke among nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke and add to the body of evidence supporting stricter smoking regulations," said lead author Angela Malek, of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. 
Researchers analyzed data from nearly 22,000 white and black American adults older than 45. About 23 percent said they were exposed to secondhand smoke in the previous year. 
Between April 2003 and March 2012, there were 428 strokes among the study participants. There were 352 ischemic strokes (blockage of blood flow to the brain), 50 bleeding (hemorrhagic) strokes, and 26 strokes of unknown subtype. 
After adjusting for other stroke risk factors -- such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease -- the researchers found that exposure to secondhand smoke was linked to about a 30 percent increase in nonsmokers' risk of stroke.
I can't exaggerate the dangers of smoking. It's the only legal product I'm aware of that kills you when you use it as the manufacturer intends.

See the original article:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Road Blog #1

Tim Seefeldt
Brain Food Cafe for the Mind
Posted July 27, 2015

Kristina and I hit the road at 8:35 this morning from Sherwood Park, AB. Thirteen hours have passed and we’re in Shoal Lake Manitoba, at the Shoal Lake Motor Inn.

We could’ve kept going, but road construction and a coming thunderstorm forced us to stop.

We had a quick pit stop in the Alberta-Saskatchewan border town of Lloydminster. Gassed up again just east of Saskatoon in beautiful Colonsay, finally stopping for some grub and a Pil at Brown’s Social House in Yorkton, near the Manitoba boarder.

It was beautiful prairie driving through foreboding skies and some rain. Sometimes lots of rain. But when we hit Manitoba, the skies were clear so we soldiered on. Then it got dark. And the road construction erased the road markings. And clear sky gave way to clouds and lightening.

So, we’re taking a powder in Shoal and will hit the road again bright and early Tuesday AM.

Take a look at some of K’s pics.

Colonsay, SK

See the original article:

Excitement I Would Like to Share

Sass Freeman
July 27, 2015

On returning home from a lovely lunch and time out with friends on Thursday, I was greeted by Nick informing me of the arrival of a splendid magazine and within it a lovely article, on stroke and my story. Along with this, the surprise on looking at it, was the icing on the cake, to see they had promoted my book and informed people on how to purchase it if they so wish. As you already know only too well by now, it is not only my passion to help fellow survivors and their families but also to raise greater awareness in order to help prevent strokes that can be prevented.

At Home
This magazine, The Celebrity Lifestyle Magazine, ‘at home’ has helped do exactly that.

The magazine article informs the reader about the dangers of stroke; that it can happen to younger people. In the last fifteen years alone the number of woman aged between 40 and 54 admitted to hospital as a result of stroke has risen by 30%, and by 50% in men of the same age group. They also touch on it being the leading cause of disability in the UK, the hidden effects of stroke, some common factors of stroke and how it is also a cause of financial concern and burden to the stroke survivors and their family. As the survivor, I know only too well, as much as they long to return to work- I fall into this bracket- sadly we are unable to do so. Also, they illustrate clearly the most common signs to look out for when someone is experiencing the onset of a stroke. Then they go onto my story and my book.

If only more magazines would write splendid articles such as this we could inform people so much more easily and quickly therefore saving lives. Personally, I feel I cannot thank this magazine enough for not only the realisation of exactly that but also acting on it, therefore doing something about it, for the cause of greater awareness. This is the kind of magazine you want to buy. It has your usual articles such as fashion, travel, lifestyle & beauty products, but what is the point of all of that if we are unwell or worse. This has to be the perfect combination. What the public want regarding beauty products along with showing the reader that they care. Congratulations, ‘at home’, I say. #50shadesofsuccess

See the original article:

Monday, July 27, 2015

Wheelchairs and Stroke Survivors,
         aka Talk to Me When You're Talking to Me

Joyce Hoffman
The Tales of a Stroke Patient
Jul 26, 2015

China had the first-recorded wheelchair in the 6th century, made of plant reeds and iron wheels, and then Spain, Germany, and England later, ably transported, mostly through wars, the disabled by other wheelchair materials. Many centuries later in the 1700s, in Bath, England, the most popular wheelchair, albeit cumbersome, looked like this:

Now we have on the right:

 Look how far we've come. But I'm here to talk about wheelchairs in a different capacity.

There are two Mark Zupan's. There is Mark Zupan, the famous dean of the University of Rochester's Simon School of Business, but I'm talking about the other Mark Zupan, who earned a soccer scholarship to Florida Atlantic University.

Mark Zupan
A football and soccer star in high school, and after a soccer game in '93, when he was 18 years young, Zupan got buzzed at a bar along with some of his soccer team and fell asleep in the back of his friend's truck. His friend, driving drunk, went off the road and Zupan landed in the canal, clinging to a branch for almost 15 hours, resulting in hypothermia and, ultimately, to quadriplegia.

Even though he stands and walks short distances, Zupan ended up in a wheelchair for life and became a quad rugby champion twice. Zupan went on to become a TV and movie personality, appearing many times as "the guy in the wheelchair."

Zupan's autobiography, "GIMP: When Life Deals You a Crappy Hand, You Can Fold---or You Can Play" and his notable championships make him famous.

BHAG - Big Hairy Audacious Goal

Dean Reinke
Deans’ Stroke Musing
Sunday, July 26, 2015

What is a BHAG?

BHAG (pronounced 'bee-hag') stands for 'Big Hairy Audacious Goal' first written about by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their great book 'Built to Last'.

It is a goal that really stretches the organisation way beyond most people's imagination of what is possible. A very good example would be the 'Moon' mission. It should be clear and compelling and act as a great focal point for everyone in the organization. It should engage people and stimulate them. It is a powerful mechanism to stimulate progress, but it does carry great risks. In some ways it is similar to a vision statement.

The following examples come from the site rapid business intelligence success. Here are some examples:
  • The creation of the IBM 360 mainframe computer. IBM nearly ran out of money to pay their staff, but it was breakthrogh that lifted IBM into the next era of computing
  • The creation by Boeing in the fifties of their large commerical jet aircraft. Up till that point Boeing had just been a military aircraft manufacturer. It was a bold transformation. Again the sixties the built the biggest jet imaginable - the Jumbo jet.
  • In the eighties Jack Welch the CEO of General Electric set his company a huge goal - 'To become No. 1 or No. 2 in every market we serve and revolutionise this company to have the speed and agility of a small company.' By the late nineties...he had succeeded.
  • In 1990 Sam Walton of Wal-Mart set a new goal: to double the number of stores and increase the sales volume per square foot by 60% (specifically $ 125 billion) by the year 2000. At that time the largest retailer in the world had only reached $30 billion.
  • In 1934 Walt Disney aimed to do something that had never been done before: to create a full length animated feature film - Snow White. He committed most of the company's resources. People in the industry called it 'Disney's folly', but history proved them wrong. It created a new industry or market. He later went on to produce 'Bambi', and 'Pinocchio' and 'Fantasia'. All were outstanding box office successes.
  • Again in the fifties, Walt Disney set another risky goal(one of 'Walts's screwy ideas') to build a radically new kind of amusement park...known as Disneyland. He repeated again with the EPCOT center in the sixties. Walt Disney's maxim was 'DREAM, BELIEVE, DARE, DO'

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Blogging Volcanoes and Crickets

Tim Seefeldt
Brain Food Cafe for the Mind
Posted July 26, 2015

It’s been a few months of blogging now and it’s starting to make me feel like an insecure kid in my early 20s. Again.

Maybe you know what that’s like? If not, I’ll fill you in.

There are some weeks where you feel like a million bucks. The “beautiful” people have all the time in the world for you. No matter what you say, they’re digging it. At work or school you’re a rock star. You can do no wrong, your ideas are brilliant, your execution flawless. Folks tear up laughing at your jokes. No wrong can be done by you.

Then there are the other days where you could swear you bathed in garlic and that your brain and mouth are horribly out of sync. You can do no right.

This is how it feels with the blog. Some weeks I hit ‘publish’ and the readers flow like lava from a volcano. I’m on fire. The reader numbers tick away faster than I can count ‘em.

Other weeks, it’s crickets. The reader numbers seem to be going in reverse.

What did I do wrong? Why don’t they like me anymore? Why? Why!?

That’s part of the reason why I haven’t hit ‘publish’ for a while on a new blog. There are two other reasons, though.

Smart Phones and Stroke, Part 2

Rebecca Dutton
Home After a Stroke
July 26, 2015

Problem. I used a flip phone for years so I could call AAA if my car broke down, but a trip last year to see my brother showed me I need a smart phone. When I got to my destination the temperature gauge showed my engine was very hot. I knew the area so I drove to the local Toyota dealer which was closed because it was Sunday. If I had a smart phone I would have learned that a taxi service was only two miles away. I could have left my car at the dealer, had a taxi take me back to my hotel, and waited for my brother to arrive the next day. My brother talked about loaner cars, but they do not have the modification that lets me control the gas pedal with my good left foot. I decided to buy a smart phone before I took my next long trip.

Training. It is a good thing I bought an iPhone several months in advance. This gave me time to attend free training sessions held by Verizon. For example, there are multiple ways to delete items in Contacts, Messages, Calendar, Notes, and Photos. To delete you touch a picture of a trash can at the bottom left or bottom right OR touch the word delete at the bottom right, bottom center, top right, or right side of the screen. To make the word delete appear, you may have to touch the word edit, pull an entry to the left, or scroll to the bottom of a file. The chaos during staff meetings at Apple must be remarkable. I also needed several months to learn how to use Google and Google maps because using them on an iPhone is different from using them on a computer. I finally felt comfortable using Google Maps so I was thinking of leaving my Garmin GPS at home until I could not get cell phone reception in a small town near my home.

Friday, July 24, 2015

In Mourning...

Jo Murphey
The Murphey Saga
Sunday, July 26, 2015

The funeral is done and over with and now begins the mourning process until the healing comes to pass. Like I've said many times before, there was no sense in mourning my husband while he was alive. Now I mourn. Wednesday was the first day of the rest of my life as the window turned into a door that opened wide showing new possibilities.

I actually held myself together pretty well for the sake of my children and grandchildren. That was true until I saw my little sister walk up to me before the graveside service. She is my only blood link to my mother and I was a little, lost child searching for her mother's hug of comfort. She hugged me tight as I broke into gut wrenching sobs. I was totally spent afterwards. I sat like a cast away doll in front of the coffin while the minister performed the service. Silent tear rolling down my cheek. I fully expect to to have many such melt downs in the future.

The minister, our  retired pastor, drove five hours to be present and had a five hour drive back home afterwards. God Bless him for his service orientated heart. It was one of the requests my husband had made before he died. Our church has seen two other ministers come and go since this pastor retired, but he was the one my husband felt closest to and called friend.

After the funeral my old neighborhood, where my father still lives, prepared a feast. Smoked pork butts, mountains of potato salad, and other goodies. I didn't partake of the pork because of my allergies, but honestly I didn't think I could swallow a morsel with the huge lump I had in my throat. It did look yummy though. My sister in law and her husband said their goodbyes and made their way home to Pennsylvania, and our youngest daughter and family left for their Texas home. In a couple of weeks, they will be transferred yet again to Alabama. The third time in a year, but at least they'll be closer.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What My Hand Did

Barb Polan
Barb’s Recovery
July 21 / 2015

Tom has a cousin who has a waterfront cottage in Maine. The cousin's husband had a stroke more than 10 years ago, but ended up with no disabilities as a result. Before I had a stroke, he was the only experience I'd had with a stroke survivor. What a false impression that caused.

We went to visit the cousin, her husband, and their dog (the only other Lowchen we know) this past weekend. It's a 3-hour drive, so Tom planned a rest stop at the NH Welcome Center located just before the NH state liquor store on I-95N. I need a bathroom often enough that, yes, Tom knows the locations of every rest area along any routes we travel.

I limped my way into the building, remembering to step to the right as I encountered oncoming walkers on the sidewalk. Instead of yielding to the right as most people do when encountering someone walking toward them, since the stroke, I have automatically gone left. Tom had to tell me to pay attention and step right because, for a long time,  I didn't recognize I was doing it wrong. Perhaps that is caused by my left-side neglect, which I was diagnosed with in rehab. Left-side neglect means that my brain ignores the left side of my body; for me, it means that I walk my left side into door frames, kick my left foot into furniture, and drive too close to the center line on a road. Unable to detect my left half, my brain has changed its sense of where the center of my body is.

In the restroom, there was no line and the handicap stall was at the far end. Once inside the stall, I used my unaffected hand to pull the door shut, then tried to get to the bolt to keep it closed. For the past 5 years, I have successfully closed and bolted the stall door in every public rest room I have encountered. Not this one. I tried maybe 10 times, but couldn't manage to slide the bolt.

I finally decided I'd let the door stay open while I peed - what was the chance of another disabled woman coming along in need of the stall? And if one came, she, of all people, would understand my problem. And who cared, really?

Conceding that the door beat me is just not my style, so I decided to give it one last shot. This time, though, I pulled the door closed with my unaffected hand and held it still while I whacked the bolt with my affected hand, sliding it closed.

My motion was a wild swing, entirely synergistic (the muscles working together to get the job done rather than the controlled muscles I used to have), and my fingers stayed fisted, but what a sense of accomplishment!

See the original article:

Mediterranean Diet and Alzheimer's Disease Prevention

Bill Yates
Brain Posts
July 21 / 2015

There is an urgent need to identify strategies to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

The role of diet as a prevention strategy is controversial. Some research evidence supports a role for a Mediterranean diet in cognitive health and dementia prevention.

A recent brain imaging study adds to this evidence. Dr. Lisa Mosconi and colleagues at New York University School of Medicine completed a cross-sectional study of brain magnetic resonance imaging and diet was completed in 52 older cognitively normal individuals.

The key elements of the design of this study were:
  • Subjects: Community subjects participating in a longitudinal brain imaging study with a mean age of 54 years (standard deviation 12 years). Approximately 2/3 of the subjects were women.
  • Study measures: Dietary information was collected using the Harvard/Willet food frequency questionnaire and subjects were rated on adherence to a Mediterranean diet using the MeDi. This scale rates intake of fruit, vegetables, legumes, cereal and fish as beneficial with dairy and meat intake rated detrimental. Information on dietary fat and alcohol were also used rated for a nine-item Mediterranean diet score. Subjects scoring greater than 5 were rated as Mediterranean diet adherent. 
  • Brain imaging: All subjects completed a cross-sectional brain MRI using a 1.5 Tesla scanner. Volumetric brain measures were calculated using FreeSurfer software.
  • Statistical analysis: Multivariate general linear modeling was used to assess the correlation of diet (high vs low Mediterranean diet adherence) with correction for a variety of potential confounding variables including age, gender, family history of Alzheimer's disease, APOE gene status and BMI.
The brain analysis focused on regions of the brain known to show atrophy with Alzheimer's dementia.

And Bob Would Be Proud

The Pink House On The Corner
Tuesday, July 21, 2015

So yesterday, Lori and I stopped at Pier 1 to look for porch chairs for our front porch.  This is something I've been meaning to do, long ago, and one of those things that is hard to do, without Bob.

But Pier 1 had a sale, and I said, "let's go" and we found the perfect chairs for the porch. Unfortunately, or perhaps I should say fortunately, two of the chairs were a bit "wobbly" when we set them on the floor to inspect them. So I asked the salesperson if there was a "wobbly discount"  and he laughed and said, that yes, he could give me "wobbly discount" of 25% off -- this in addition to the sale price which was already 30% off.

So I got the two wobbly ones. I figured it really didn't matter much since our old porch floor is uneven to begin with, and anything will be a little wobbly. So, we hauled them home. And they are an excellent match to the antique wicker table that Bob and I bought back in January.

Bob always loved a good deal, he was always the one to "dicker" a price down, and he would have loved the idea of a "wobbly discount"! I can almost hear him laughing. He would have been proud of me.

Meanwhile, the little heart pendant with Bob's remains broke open again, and I had to go back to the funeral home yesterday to have it repaired --- grrrr....   This time they are sending it somewhere to have it reglued.

On Sunday, Lori and I did a "spa day" -- a massage and hair cut for me, mani/pedi for her.  It was fun. And some desperately needed "take care of Diane time" for me.

See the original article:

Was Your Stroke an Emergency? Not All That Long Ago...

Jeff Porter
Stroke of Faith
Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Photo by Chris Violette
via Flickr
We've gone a long way.

Twenty years ago, a stroke wasn't considered an emergency. No treatment to reverse or limit a stroke's brain damage.

In 1996, the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator was approved to treat strokes. That also caused a great deal of rethinking how health care providers responded to strokes. What was not an emergency suddenly became one. That meant a lot of rethinking of roles and actions of health professionals when a stroke happens.

An interesting take on that history and more ideas evolving, focusing on when stroke care is a statewide effort:
The stroke system of care concept has evolved over the past 15 years because of advances in treatment. Before federal approval of tPA in 1996, no treatment existed to reverse or limit a stroke’s damage to the brain, says Michael Frankel, M.D., chief of neurology and director of the Marcus Stroke & Neuroscience Center at Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta. 
“Stroke was not considered a neurological emergency,” Frankel says. “It sounds stupid to even say that today, but there was no proof that anything we did helped people. We didn’t have the sense of urgency to bring people in quickly, to assess them quickly, to save the brain and, therefore, improve outcomes.” 
Approval of tPA was the very beginning of the stroke system of care story, Frankel says. The CDC’s creation of the Coverdell program in 2001 helped to move things along. 
Georgia was one of the first states to receive federal funding and, from the outset, its stroke registry was more than a disease surveillance program. It harnessed stroke data to drive change.
More treatments - drugs and devices and more - are becoming part of stroke treatment. So we can't stop thinking about ways to improve. It's far too important.

See the original article:

Monday, July 20, 2015

I'm Free!!!

Jo Murphey
The Murphey Saga
Sunday, July 19, 2015

The past couple of days has been surreal. The phone calls, the people, the internet blew up, but besides all of that for me personally, I've been set free. I still can't wrap my brain cells around it yet.

Some say I'm in shock or denial, you know, a grief stage, but that's not it. I have prepared and even had multiple dry runs of grief over the last twelve years. I've got the rest of my life to work the grief process out. There hasn't been a day that I have focused solely on me in a very long time. This weekend I ate when I wanted, slept when I wanted, and was only forced with anything when I force myself. Like the picture I broke free of my chains.

Sounds kind of cold and heartless, doesn't it? But today was a prime example. I went to church services for the first time in three years. I didn't have to worry about who was going to sit with my husband so I could go. I didn't have to worry about anyone's drug schedule. I didn't have to be concerned with if the service ran over. It's been ten years since I've been able to do that.

It dawned on me today as I changed into my slacks and blouse without the continuous sound of the oxygen condenser. In fact, the medical supply company pulled all of it out of my house the day after my hubby died.(My request) I've got a living room back and unable to move any of the furniture back in there. The plan is to use it as a staging area for things I plan to eliminate from my house. A keep, sell, donate room. But I digress...

The thought struck me that with my hubby out of the house I could actually use chemicals to clean with. Whoa! I haven't used anything other than baking soda or dish soap to clean with in years! I can actually use chlorine bleach again!

2015 Midwest Recumbent Rally

Click on Midwest-Recumbent-Rally for many more details...
Join us August 7th, 8th and 9th, 2015 for the 22nd Annual Midwest Recumbent Rally!

Register for a chance to win an ICE Adventure FS 26!

Events on Friday & Saturday will be held @ the Hostel Shoppe in Stevens Point, Wisconsin! Sunday's "SUPER TOUR" starts @ The Jensen Center in Amherst, Wisconsin.

Those wishing to eat Saturday's or Sunday's lunches or order a t-shirt are encouraged to pre-register by July 25th, 2015.  Only limited amounts will be available on a "first come, first serve" basis the day of the rally.  All registrations received after July 25th, 2015 will pay a higher price.

The start of the Super Tour at the 2014 Midwest Recumbent Rally:

Standard YouTube License @ Larry Reeve

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Tadpole Update: Reported to July 19th

John C. Anderson
Stroke Survivors Tattler
Rails to Trails Tour (aka RTT)
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Decpina, North Carolina
and back
(June 1st to September 29th)

Date           | Start           ✔︎ = DONE
6)Jun 27-Jul 1 | Sioux Falls, SD                             
               | ✔︎ The Sioux Falls Bike Trails - 30 miles
7)July 2-7 | Bloomington, MN                             
               | ✔︎ Dakota Rail Regional Trail - 25.5 miles
               | ✔︎ The Luce Line State Trail - 76.6 miles
               | ✔︎ The West River Parkway Trail - 8.9 miles
8)July 7-12    | North Branch, MN                            
               | ✔︎ The Soo Line Recreational Trail - 10.5 miles
               | ✔︎ The Gateway State Trail - 18.3 miles
9)July 12-24   | Motley, MN                                  
               | ✔︎ The Central Lakes State Trail - 55 miles
               | ✔︎ Paul Bunyan State Trail - 121 miles
               | The Heartland State Trail - 49 miles
               | The Lake Wobegon Trail - 62 miles
10)July 25     | Duluth, MN                                  
               | The Willard Munger State Trail - 63 miles
11)Jul26-Aug 1 | Rheinlander, WI                             
               | Northwoods/Pedal Across Wiconsin - 350 miles

Jul 16, 2015 - "Rails to Trails Tour"

I went to Rotary Staples Club have lunch there, I sat in meeting. Bob introduce me as cross country "Cyclist"! I speak 20 min I talk about HHT, cross country, Spokes Fighting Strokes foundation I even talked about Cat, she's courageous woman. She started I wish Cat was here, she is my riding partner and speaking partner. I meet with Brenda Halvorson she is general manager for Staples World newspaper !!

Attitude is 90% of life, think positive! "Fins Up"

-- Dan Zimmerman

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Until We Meet Again

Jo Murphey
The Murphey Saga
Friday, July 17, 2015

My beloved has gone on before me. He drew his last breath as I watched. His fight to remain on the Earthly plain is over. There is no more pain. No more struggling for each ounce of oxygen. He is with our Heavenly Father, his grandparents and parents whom he loved and was truly loved by.

A part of me wants to yell Hallelujah and be filled with joy. But my selfish side fights useless tears of grief from a heart torn out of my chest.

Yes, I'm the wife of an angel now. All there is left to do is heal until I can smile again.

See the original article:


The Pink House On The Corner
Friday, July 17, 2015

My friend, Lori, arrived late Wednesday and yesterday we went out to lunch and pretty much spent the day catching up.

Today, she went with me to pick up Boomer's "cremains". I put Boomer's box of ashes, along with his collars, next to Bob and Zenith. My little memorial table grows cluttered.

And then Lori removed Boomer's dog bed, anti-slip rugs, etc. from the living room because I could not bear to do it.

It is so good to have someone here with me, to help me through this all.  I feel bad that I seem to spend most of the time crying, so I'm sure it's not much of a "vacation" for her. We stopped for lunch today and while seated at the cafe, "our song" (I'll Stop The World and Melt With You) came on the radio and I had to run out the door --- as I was in sudden tears and did not want to make a spectacle of myself in the crowded restaurant.

This morning, Bob's cousin Mark flew into Tampa on his way to Sarasota and called me as he was quite literally "passing through" our town and then stopped by, to give me a hug and see how I was doing. This is Bob's favorite aunt and uncle, Aunt Mary and Uncle Dick's son.  Which is the only part of Bob's family that has kept in contact with me since Bob's death.  I have been pretty much dissed by all others.

Meanwhile, Kona is a gem

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Futuristic Brain Probe Allows for Wireless Control of Neurons

Dean Reinke
Deans’ Stroke Musing
Thursday, July 16, 2015

Have your doctor respond to when their hospital will be using this for stroke survivors. Never is not a valid answer. This could be used to deliver drugs directly to the brain instead of having to pass thru the blood brain barrier -- Futuristic Brain Probe Allows for Wireless Control of Neurons.

A study showed that scientists can wirelessly determine the path a mouse walks with a press of a button. Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, created a remote controlled, next-generation tissue implant that allows neuroscientists to inject drugs and shine lights on neurons deep inside the brains of mice. The revolutionary device is described online in the journal Cell. Its development was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Remote Controlled Brain Implant.
Mind Bending Probe - Scientists used soft materials to create a brain implant a tenth the width of a human hair that can wirelessly control neurons with lights and drugs. Courtesy of Jeong lab, University of Colorado Boulder.

It unplugs a world of possibilities for scientists to learn how brain circuits work in a more natural setting.” said Michael R. Bruchas, Ph.D., associate professor of anesthesiology and neurobiology at Washington University School of Medicine and a senior author of the study.

The Bruchas lab studies circuits that control a variety of disorders including stress, depression, addiction, and pain. Typically, scientists who study these circuits have to choose between injecting drugs through bulky metal tubes and delivering lights through fiber optic cables. Both options require surgery that can damage parts of the brain and introduce experimental conditions that hinder animals’ natural movements.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Craving Being Alone

Jo Murphey
The Murphey Saga
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

This week has been really rough not only because my husband is actively dying. I'm SURROUNDED!

I've rarely had any alone time with just me and my husband. A revolving door has replaced my front door and the line of people trying to get in to be of help is growing larger by the hour. You've got to remember I'm basically a self sufficient person used to getting it done. I should be grateful.

Even saying that, I'm not opposed to help when needed. BUT STILL... family has been staying and feels I should not be left alone with my husband. They don't want me to be alone in case he dies as if I'd drop off the deep end when he dies and I can't handle it. They are hovering. A really morbid picture of buzzards circling the dying pops into my mind as I type this. But that is UNKIND. I know they are really doing it out of love and concern. They are also grieving.

My two fairly local (within 100 mile radius) daughters are taking shifts so I never am more than a couple hours alone with my beloved. Someone else is always here. I'm just complaining, I know I should be grateful for their attentiveness. I guess I've got to complain about something because this is a helpless situation and nobody can really do anything and they feel helpless too.

My beloved has been in a coma since yesterday. He speaks aloud in his state. I hear him talking to his mother. I am comforted by this because she is waiting for him. The death rattle type breathing and for the last twelve hours, the smell of death fills my nostrils. All I want to do is curl up on the bed with him as we did in happier times.

What is he waiting on? Nobody at hospice can understand, but my daughters and I know. He's waiting on his baby girl. She'll be home with our newest grandson in about three hours. I expect him to pass on quietly after that.

See the original article:

Independence is a Myth People Cling To

Rebecca Dutton
Home After a Stroke
July 16, 2015

A stroke forces people to deal with becoming dependent. Having a stroke helped me realize that independence is a myth. For example, do you cut your family's hair and change the oil in your car? When able-bodied people rely on others they call it interdependence. Production companies cash in on the myth that able-bodied people are independent by making reality TV shows about people living in remote parts of Alaska.

TV shows a man eating dinner, but they do not show him buying the bullets that killed the animal, the knife that skinned the animal, and the salt, hot sauce, and cooking oil that made the meal tasty. TV shows a wife standing in her garden talking about putting up vegetables for the winter, but they do not show her taking out dozens of glass jars with twist-on lids and the large pot she needs to heat the jars of food so she does not kill her family with botulism. TV shows people riding on snow mobiles or dog sleds, but they do not show them buying gas, intricate dog harnesses, and nails to make a sled. Then there is the technology that makes living in the wild possible - boots and socks. These people are not living independently. They just shop less than we do.

When I was an OT, one of my goals was to get clients to a 7 on the Functional Independence Measure (FIM). Seven on the FIM = independence minus the skills needed to set up and clean up an ADL task. However, reality TV proves by clever omission that true independence does not exist. Reality TV also shows that contributing everything you can to share the workload makes a difference. Requiring assistance means a stroke survivor still has ways to be helpful. My goal now is to be as independent as I can and graciously accept the kindness of others. Click on the volunteer label below to see posts about my helpful angels.

P.S. Why did the people who created the FIM think omitting set up and clean up for a task was a valid way to define independence?

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Company -- Finally

The Pink House On The Corner
Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tomorrow, I have a dear friend arriving from up north to stay here for two weeks. This will be my first visitor since Bob died. Since then, I have been utterly alone.

And it's been so hard. Harder than I ever imagined. Some days, I just feel paralyzed. Other days, I feel like a zombie -- on auto pilot. Most days, I am in tears. I have not been doing so well.

I know, people say, "well, good thing Chris is there" and she is, and I'm grateful -- but, Chris does not understand this at all.  For one, she's never been married, let alone had a soulmate, and she's impatient with me to "get it together",  sometimes to the point of harping at me and criticizing me --- for example on July 4th when I was really breaking down, her response was "Well, I always spend holidays alone! It's not bad! You just have to keep busy!"  grrr...   In addition, she's going through her own medical crisis -- so pretty much spends the days either vomiting or with diarrhea -- and I get the whole story on that...  So, not much support there, I'm afraid.

I've been reading some memoirs on widowhood, (just finished Joan Didion's A Year of Magical Thinking, and Gail Lynch's In Sickness & In Health and am working my way though Joyce Carol Oates A Widow's Story) and the thing that strikes me is that at first, those widows are surrounded by family and friends -- and I haven't been.  I'm just here alone.  Which really, by the way, sucks.

So! I'm looking so forward to Lori, my dear old friend (we've known each other since high school) arriving tomorrow and staying for a couple of weeks.  I really, really need this -- and I've made her promise that we will do a "spa day" with a massage and hair cut (the latter for me, I really need one) and she must drag me there, if I protest!