Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Best Christmas Present Ever!

I got the best Christmas present ever! I had been playing phone tag with my DAS (Disability Adjudication Services) worker (for Social Security Disability) since Friday morning. For some unknown reason, my cell phone went straight to voice mail rather than ring through. We called each other several times each time getting each other's voice mail. Finally at four o'clock, I left the final message on her voice mail, "Tag you're it. We'll try to play again on Monday."

Contrary to my own motto of "Why borrow trouble by worrying," I spent the weekend in turmoil. I worried that the evaluation didn't turn out well and my days of independent living was over. I mean what else could it be? The psychologist said it would be a month before they got the test results. I did feel that I had done poorly on the testing after it was over. That was a alien feeling for me, who has aced almost every test since high school.

I chewed my nails off on my functioning hand AND my nonfunctioning hand after prying the fingers loose from a fist. That's pretty bad because I haven't chewed my fingernails in years! I tried to keep knitting or spinning wool going, but I could only sit for so long before I was doing something else to take my mind off of the worry. I know I sounded like a whiny child to God in my prayers. Needless to say, it was a l o n g weekend.

Monday finally rolled around and I popped awake at 5 AM. Too early to call her back or her to call me. I stalked the clock with glances every five minutes...sometimes more often. I fidgeted until my rump was sore. I got up to play with the cats, and then the rabbits. At 730 AM I pushed the auto dialer on my cell phone and got her voice mail. GRRRR! Then playing devil's advocate, I decided to wait thirty minutes to try again.Wherever I went my cell phone was in the pocket of my flannel shirt. I didn't want to spend another day playing phone tag with her.

I was sitting at my desk when the phone rang. I pounced on it. It was only the drug store telling me my prescriptions were ready. GRRRR! Double GRRRR!

At long last about 10AM, she called. I sat and answered her questions. She told me she had received the evaluation report from the psychologist. I asked her outright if the results showed that I was competent. When she started off with saying that I had some definite issues, I wanted to reach through the phone and choke her. I wanted to scream at her to tell me a simple yes or no, but I bit my tongue and answered, "Uh huh." She continue on with the report.

Finally after she finished, I asked her point blank because I still didn't know the answer. "Am I mentally competent to live independently?"
She responded, "According to this report, you are highly intelligent, independent and capable. Yes."

She also told me she'd have her findings sent to Social Security by the end of the week. The cardiology report was enough to disable me. The stroke and fibromyalgia were additional disabling events according to them. Social Security would put the whole thing through their meat grinder process and I should have their results right after the first of the year. Here, I'm crossing my fingers for a positive result.

Before I ended the call I told her she had given me the best Christmas present ever and I thanked her profusely.

 But it all of this leaves me wondering...why couldn't this have been done over two years ago with my own disability claim instead of waiting until after my beloved's death? My disabilities are my disabilities. Granted my grieving heart is a little worse for wear after a year, but my stroke results and my fibromyalgia haven't changed. But once again, I'm not borrowing trouble. Right now I'm celebrating.

Wohoo! I'm mentally competent and I can live on my own!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Some Days I Think I'm Fine...

I haven't talked much about my grieving widow side. That's about to change. Some days I think I'm fine and handling my grief okay, and then something happens that makes me fall apart like my beloved's death was yesterday. Yes the first year is toughest and a huge transition! It's hard. The least little thing will upset my calm. It's always unexpected.

For instance...
Hospice called and asked if I could come and hangs my husband's angel on their remembrance Christmas tree. At first I said yes. Then as I was showering, I realized that I hadn't even been to his graveside since the funeral. I started crying and couldn't do it. It sounds like such a little thing to do, but for me it was impossible right now.

I was driving to physical therapy and a Christmas song came on the Christian radio station I listen to while driving. "A Different Kind of Christmas" by Mark Schultz.

It was the first time I've heard it. The tears started rolling down my cheeks so bad that I had to pull over.

The fact that it's the Christmas season doesn't help. It will be totally different than any I've had in all my years. I will be totally alone. All my children (sisters, brothers & my father too) will be in their own homes with their own families and in laws. My father will be in North Carolina with my stepmother's children. So instead of there being 50-75 head of people, there will be just me. Now I've had my share of invitations to join this or that family or friend, but I've declined. I just don't feel joyous.

Another part of me, I finished a mental competency test where I was drawing blanks for about half the tasks or couldn't verbalize the snswer. It didn't exactly bolster my feeling of well being. It will be a month before I know the results. Having a spouse die isn't enough to have to go through. I have the possibility of my independence taken away hanging over my head too. While I'm muddling through, I am not good company. Waiting has never been a strong virtue of mine.

Lastly, I received a package in the mail yesterday. It wasn't something I ordered. Inside I found two notes. The first one was an apology from the company for the long back order status. The second was a hand written note from my beloved to accompany the gift. I don't know if he meant it as an anniversary or Christmas present, but it was totally unexpected!

Some days I think I'm fine, but other days I'm a total mess! So now you know. May each of you have a blessed Christmas with you and yours.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sunday Stroke Survival:Hog Tied

I'm going to be hog tied for the next couple of weeks with no time to write or edit.
Going into the holidays my schedule explodes with doctor appointments.
Dec 10th - Botox
Dec 12th- Psych eval for Social Security Disability
Dec 14th- Orthopedic for my torn rotator cuff
Dec 21st- Cardiology
That's on top of my twice a week therapy sessions.

I've been busy knitting mini Christmas stockings for all my relatives. I'll be stuffing them with Sea salted caramels, chocolate dipped Pretzels, two types of fudge, and other goodies from my kitchen. So far I've gotten 50 stocking made. Only 15 left to make.

I still haven't learned to be in two places at once or growing more hands.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Stroke Survival: Blech! Icky! Yuck!

For the past two weeks, my positive attitude slipped to where it nonexistent. Not even once a blue moon does it happen. It's been years since I've had a full week with no redeeming qualities. I guess I was about due.

Maybe I got up on the wrong side of the bed. Wait I can only get up on one side of my bed, so that can't be it. Even if I could sleep in my bed. (I explain this farther down)  Nothing tastes good. Nothing feels good. And, all my little blessings that I count on for hope vanished. I was a horse rode hard and put up wet. Even today, it hasn't let up and I'm feeling depression creep in.

It started after I got a letter from Social Security. They have scheduled me for a competency evaluation. No one in my entire life has doubted my mental competency before. I'm the one everyone runs to with their problems. I have some cognitive issues since my stroke. I'll admit that freely. I can't add or subtract in my head anymore, but I always have a calculator handy. I can't count change correctly, but I mostly use my ATM card for that very reason. All my bills a guess-ti-matedly paid in advance until February.

Reading may take several attempts before I fully understand what I am reading. I don't write coherently pen to paper, which is why I use the computer when I can. The dyslexia makes reading fiction almost an impossibility. The fact that I still seeing black dots in my left eye compound my vision problems. The black dots are floaters of blood inside my eye. They are getting smaller and in time they will disappear just like when I had a partial tear of my retinal a dozen years back.

Yes, there are quite a few things I cannot do because of my physical limitations, but hey, I'm taking care of all my daily needs. I hit the majority of things that have to be done and I'm not afraid to ask for help. I haven't burned my house down around mt ears, yet. I did manage my terminal husband's care before he died and was Johnny on the spot for everything. But yet, I may not be competent mentally and physically. Didn't a judge rule me ineligible for disability almost two years ago? What's up with that?

This whole thing has stuck in my craw. What if I'm deemed incompetent? A guardian has to be appointed. There goes any freedom and independence. Everything I've fought so hard for almost four years to regain is for naught. It's a whole, big, jar of stinky, festering worms. It doesn't help that each day I realize something new I'll lose. The prospect actually terrifies me to no end. Just the possibility.

So all of this has been hanging over my head for two weeks and still another week to go before the appointment.

During this also I impinged and tore my rotator cuff in my affected shoulder. Don't ask me how I did it. I have no idea. I just woke up one morning with moderate pain in my shoulder and almost screamed when I tried to move it. One school of thought is that it was induced by my upper arm spasticity. Surgery is again out of the question since I failed my last cardiac stress test. I wouldn't wake up from the anesthesia. So once again it's more therapy for my shoulder. and cortisone shots  but I've used all my insurance visits so it's private pay.

Now back to why I haven't been sleeping in my bed. Charlie horses in my unaffected leg. At first it was every couple of days now it's a couple times a night and it lasts until I get up and walk it off only to return an hour or so later. It only cramps up when I lay in my bed. I can sleep in my lift chair or sitting up and no cramps. I boosted my potassium and magnesium intakes with supplements thinking that was the problem. It's not. That's the major malfunction with the diuretic I take for my heart condition. These mineral levels can drop significantly. None of my other drugs have changed.  I'm not exercising too much, the pressure sore finally healed again.

The thing about these, besides the lack of sleep and pain, is when I reposition my leg to relieve the charlie horse the front muscles of the leg will go into spasm. So it's a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation. I'm writhing in pain trying to put on an ankle sock, AFO, and shoes to get up and walk around because then, neither muscle will cramp. There will only be the hangover effect of the pain when I crawl back into bed fifteen minutes later. I'll just fall asleep again when that dull ache sharpens and the cramping begins again. I've turned myself around in the bed to press the headboard (neat trick with only one repositioning my whole body), but the spasm is too strong. I'll have to do the process all over again. This hasn't helped my awake disposition any.

This week in southeast Georgia we had a cold snap. Night time temps hit the upper 30's. I still had my windows opened. BRRRR!  It was in the low 50's inside my house. Why were the windows opened? They've been opened since my girls opened them. They require two hands to operate even to close them. Not that I minded when it was warmer, but this nice, cold breeze was now coming into my house. I called my daughter and told him that I was going to call my neighbor to close them. She told me not to bother that she was getting off from work in a couple of hours and would do it.

I went to therapy and when I got home, she was here. She closed the double casement window and turned to say something to me, her feet tripped her up, and she fell. She landed on her knee first and then pitched head first onto the carpet. She reached her hand up to her forehead and it was pouring blood. Head wounds always bleed bad. So I went and got a towel out of the bathroom to staunch the flow. It stopped within a few minutes of direct pressure. Then I looked at her knee. A bad bruise was already forming. She said it hurt but I helped her to her feet and she could hobble. We cleaned and bandaged her head. I knew she was hurt. She fell in the office but my floor are only padding and carpeting covering a concrete slab.

She closed the rest of the windows and almost immediately it got warmer inside. She said she was going home and would pack her knee in ice. This child had spent her entire life fighting rheumatoid arthritis, she knew what to do plus she worked for hospice. I told her to call me when she got home. She promised she would.

The next day she couldn't bear any weight on the leg. So she went to the ER. Results- a mild concussion and a fractured knee cap. She sees the orthopedist next week to find out how much damage she did to her ACL and meniscus. I know she's probably has some torn cartilage in there too. Which will mean surgery before she can go back to work. Her patients will miss her. My home owner's insurance will pay for everything, thank goodness. My poor baby is miserable and it's all my fault. Me and my limited body.

I was already feeling under the weather. Post nasal drip trickling down my throat was causing more esophageal spasms to the tune of three times a day. This really sucks because I'm basically choking with a partially obstructed airway not to mention being hoarse and croupy afterwards. By Tuesday, I knew I had a sinus infection. Not only could I see it, but taste it as well. Darn allergies. I called my PC figuring I could at least get an antibiotic. It being Thanksgiving week, I knew he wouldn't be back in his office until Monday. His office staff are his family members and I remember them as small children. His daughter said he was seeing his last appointment, but if I could come in, he'd check me out. I was thanking God for every green light. I walked out with a new nasal spray and a prescription for Leviquin.

I rushed to the pharmacy to get it filled. Once home again, I popped the first horse pill and shot the nose spray up each nostril. I sure didn't want to be sick for Thanksgiving. The spray brought instant tears to my eyes followed by a burning sensation in my sinuses.I looked at the ingredients of the spray to make sure it wasn't hot sauce. After a couple of minutes the pain subsided. I washed my face and started cleaning the bunny cages. When I put each rabbit's toys and cuddlies (a square of fleece blanket) back in their cages they always make a big show of rearranging their cages to the way they like it.

Finally, I sat in front of my computer and read the instructions on the spray. Twice a day. Needless to say I was leery about doing it again. But the second dose wasn't near as bad. The first onslaught just told me how bad my sinuses were inflamed. Now it doesn't bother me at all which is a good thing.

Thanksgiving was bittersweet. For once I could stay as long as I wanted because I didn't have to rush home for my husband. All my brothers and sisters were there, their children and their grandchildren. A house over flowing with too many conversations going on at once. I was lost. It was only at the end when it was just my baby sister, her family and my daddy that I could actually tune into and participate in a conversation. We talked about her first memories of Daddy, different foods we had eaten, etc in a more relaxed manner. All I could think about was how turkey and dressing was my hubby's favorite meal and the competency evaluation coming up.

How have you been?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Stroke Survival: The Squirrel Ran Around the Tree...

Know most of us how to tie our shoes. We learned as children. With my own children, I either used the bunny ears or the squirrel-ran-around-the-tree learning poem seen in this video...

Look familiar? These methods haven't changed much in decades.

But all that changed for me after my stroke. I struggled with one handed shoe tying to the point where I just bought elastic laces. It was a cop out and a way to get my shoes on without breaking out in frustrated tears.  Just after your stroke, the least frustrating method is best because you are having to reteach your body how to do EVERYTHING! I know I'm not the only one who felt like they were in somebody else's body and trying to get it to move normally like a puppet master with disconnected strings. In the beginning, I chose what I could successfully achieve. The fogginess in my brain didn't really start to clear for several months and honestly after three years, there are still some issues that don't make sense when attempted.

Confused and Awkward
For me, it was the double whammy of having a stroke and losing the use of my dominant side also.Nothing is ever easy when you are trying to do something with your nondominant side. After all, for me, my dominant side has been in control for over fifty years. If it takes that long to make my nondominant side to become dominant, I'm just out of luck. It still feels awkward. I still mentally picture my right, affected side as dominant even though it's ate up with spasticity and partial paralysis.

Back to shoe tying or bow tying. I have mentioned before that now my stronger learning capabilities is visual. I spend a lot of time on YouTube and Vimeo just seeing if there is an easier way to do things, or how others missing the use of a limb accomplish tasks. Yes, there is also that "not alone" sense of gratification too.  All written instructions read like stereo instructions in a foreign language to me now. Watching a five to ten minute video cuts around dead brain cells fairly easily for me. I may have to watch it four or five times to get it locked into my brain. But that's the beauty of videos,  you can pause it, rewind it, and watch it again.

I guess it took me about a full year to even attempt tying a bow single handed. It probably would have been easier with shoe laces, but that wasn't the issue I was having. It was the bow on the front of my shorts. It wasn't because they wouldn't stay up because the waistband was elastic. When the ties came undone, they would hang below the length of the hem. This was especially/possibly a messy situation when going to the bathroom. Plus, it looked sloppy untied. I have enough not going for my looks without looking unkempt too. 

So I was sitting on the commode fiddling with it. I had watched several videos on how to tie shoes with one hand. Eventually, I settled on the one shown in this video. It just sort of clicked. There are many such methods so use the one that works for you.

I Love Success!

I hobbled out of the bathroom to my husband's hospital bed. I told him to watch. I undid the bow and retied it again. I was like a kid with a new toy!  I was so proud of myself. My hubby went into the cheering mode like he did with our youngest who'd had a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). You'd have to see this corny, backward hands clapping motion and him barking like a seal. I'll have to get my oldest to do it on a video to share with you. She does it best except she doesn't have his deep baritone voice. It's something that was uniquely his. A sign of approval and pride.

It was so unusual that the girls had mentioned it at the Pastor's visit before my hubby's funeral. It kicked in my PBA (PseudoBulbar Affect) at the funeral when the pastor recreated it for the mourners present. I went from crying tears of sadness to uncontrolled laughter. I had to stand and touch his casket to regain control. 

Anyhow, I can tie my shoes if I ever get shoes with laces on them again.  Right now, Velcro closure orthotics shoes are all I can wear with the special build ups because of my AFO, contractures in my Achilles tendon, and the spasticity in my leg. But in the meantime, I'll keep practicing on my shorts.

Nothing is impossible.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

To California, I Went

Me on the red carpet! EEK!
Bet y'all are ready for an update on my trip to California. It was a whirlwind trip, that's for sure.

My preparations for the trip was no less of a minor tornado of activity also. I shopped for some cooler weather clothes, arranged for the animals to be taken care of, and packed. As I was packing, it hit me that my backpack wasn't going to be big enough so I grabbed my Samsonite duffle out of my closet. Everything fit in there perfectly. The only problem was I couldn't find the shoulder strap. I fiddled with it a few times to make sure I could hold it on my shoulder and walk. It would have to do, I thought as I went to bed. I'll make it manage.

Wouldn't you know the morning of my afternoon flight, my raw spot on my AFO clad foot would break open. Yep, an open pressure sore would definitely complicate things. I went to my doctor. He cut away the dead skin and gave me the usual ointment to promote healing, deaden some of the pain, and keep infection at bay. He had standing orders for me to keep off it. I crossed my fingers behind my back as I agreed to comply. There was no way to put off the premiere or the California trip.

This bag and I have traveled the world
I got home in time to grab my purse and my duffle. It all slung on my shoulder beautifully. I put them in my car and headed to the jet port. My airport doesn't have regular long term parking. It's park where you can and it's free. Because of my handicap license plate, I got a spot right by the front door. These are the perks of living in a small town. After I parked, I went to lift my purse and bag onto my shoulder, and wouldn't you know it, I couldn't get it to stay on my shoulder. Of course, I was juggling them as I pushed the button to lock my van. I didn't get the load seated right again after numerous attempts either.

Finally, I said the heck with it and carried the bag, my purse, and my cane sort of half mast on my upper forearm. The downside of being in a small town airport is that there aren't any porters to help you with your bags either. Luckily, two airport security folks saw me struggling and ran for a wheelchair. I started to protest that I could walk, but I looked at the long passageway and thought better of it. Oh boy! I hadn't even left town yet and Murphy's Law had hit me twice.

As we took off, the rain started. Do I need to mention how rough the flight was? The flight had been delayed for an hour and a half. So much for a two-hour layover in Atlanta while waiting for one of the stars of the movie. He had twenty minutes to get across Hartsfield-Jackson airport before we were refueled and ready to take off. Not that we would have left without him. The weather had gone from a light rain shower with a slight bit of turbulence to a heavy downpour with a light show. Four and a half hours later, we arrive in California. I think if we had actually touched the ground, I would have kissed it.

It was 10 PM PT, but all of us were on Eastern time by the time we reached the Hyatt Regency. So for us, it's 2AM. We checked in and they had taken my request for a close room and no stairs seriously. They were even apologetic about the room only having two full sized beds instead of the usual king suite that had been arranged. I think I got the better deal because I had a garden patio room. Great view of the beach and yachts too. I ordered room service and checked out my surrounding while I waited. After chowing down on a Reuben and fresh fruit, I fell into bed totally exhausted. I had a rude awakening about three hours later with my spastic leg. An unmerciless cramp, it ran from my thigh to my big toe. All I could do was beg, plead, roll, and cry until it was over.

I managed to get a few more hours sleep and awoke more tired than rested. I was excited about the premiere and knew there was a long day ahead of me. This is what the day's schedule looked like...
11:45- lunch with the cast and crew
1:00- media briefing
4:30- meet limo in the lobby. It may sound like down time in between, but the media briefing was over at 3:30.
5:00- event check-in. Walk the red carpet, photographs, get your name tag. I was listed as a stroke advocate.
5:30- cocktail party. I was thankful for the heavy hors d' oeuvres. I sampled most of everything from mini sliders to the smoked salmon.
6:00-8:00- the movie- Disconnected screening.
8:00- Q&A
9:30- after party. I have to admit that I'm not a hip partier any more. I asked to be taken back to the hotel at 10:30. Again, it's Eastern time last call (2:30 AM).

I did mange enough time to swing by the hotel gift shop for some souvenirs for my daughters.  The only bad thing was the exhaustion coupled with the limo picking me up for the flight home at 6:00AM. There wasn't time for sightseeing. It was all business. By 9 PM, I was in my own bed sawing logs. Like I said, a whirlwind. I'll have to go back to do all the rest. Maybe one day.
Movie poster

Now  about the movie...

The Blurb -
In this first-ever documentary on PseudoBulbar Affect (PBA), award-wining documentarians Doug Blush and Lisa Klein will take you on a revealing journey as they follow the triumphs and challenges of people with certain neurological conditions or brain injuries living with this little-known condition.

DISCONNECTED is both an emotional and uplifting film about fate’s unexpected path and how these families support one another in an unsteady journey of both laughter and tears.

Release Date- 2016
The Trailer...

The man in the first part of this trailer is Scott Lotan. I first saw him on YouTube (the clip of him laughing) when I was first diagnosed and doing research on it. I had the pleasure of flying with him and his significant other Mindy on the way to California and back again. A more down to earth soul as I'll ever meet. We are kindred spirits.

Unlike most in the film, I both laugh and cry with my episodes. I have no real control when it happens or know why it happens other than my damaged brain. For once since my stroke, I felt comfortable around a group of people. It didn't matter that I was paralyzed or couldn't totally control my emotions because they were like me and totally understood. We all had our little episodes and went on. I feel like I've made friends for life. I honestly feel honored by just being included with this fabulous group of men and women.

What I loved about California is no bugs! No mosquitoes or gnats! I didn't get bit once until I got back home.

It's like I keep saying...
You are not alone!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday Stroke Survival: Science Fiction to Science Fact Again

Remember in the movie, My Stepmother is an Alien, Kim Basinger (alien) had this hand bag that could recreate anything in short order? In 1988, this possibility was still just a dream. This movie was before your time, er, um, try to rent/download a copy. The movie itself is hilarious!

That's what I thought of when I first heard of 3-D printers a few years ago. Shades of science fiction turning into science fact.  Imagine the possibilities, both good and bad. It didn't take long for someone to print out a fire-able weapon with it. But, for general purposes, I'll ignore the more shadier aspects of having such a printer.

List price $2,499
While costly only in retrospect, I spent $2,000 on a custom built desktop commuter in the later 1980's. (100 meg hard drive, 12X r/w CD ROM, and a whole whopping 4meg of RAM, and a souped up graphic accelerator) It was a dream machine at the time so don't laugh too hard. Now they are about 100 fold more powerful for a couple hundred dollars. I predict the prices will come down with time just like all the other new technological toys.

The Ultimaker was rated as the best 3-D printer. (Top Ten Reviews  for 2015) I guarantee we will look back on it in twenty years and snort that we ever used such a dinosaur. Just for reference I pulled out my first Atari game console to amuse my grandchildren while packing stuff up. They had fun playing with it but were soon bored with the limited graphics capabilities.

What could one of these printers mean for a stroke survivor?

How about eating utensils that you don't have to order and wait for it to be delivered. You could just print off what you needed; when you wanted it.

How about braces and splints? We have all spent untold bucks on braces and splints over the years. How long did you have to wait, doing without until it was delivered? What if the sales rep could take the necessary measurements and print it out while you waited? Now no more waiting for weekends, or holidays, or production/shipping time to end before you get a usable end product.

What if you needed something special? I know from personal experience, that it took two weeks to get a thumb/wrist splint modified so it would be flexible enough at the wrist to handle my spasticity, but firm and padded enough to prevent contractures in my thumb. During the wait, I had a cocked up wrist splint that spent more time off my hand than on it because the wrist wouldn't allow for the downward spasticity in my wrist. The plastic support actually sliced into my hand.

Anything you can design with CAD (computer aided drafting program) software can be built with these printers. You are only limited by your imagination. That's really awesome, isn't it?  I can see the advent of  a new "Want to/Get it/Now" opportunity opening up with this technology hitting the home markets as it is doing now.

I can see it now, they will become everyday household items that we can't live without like indoor plumbing, electric refrigerators and televisions were to my grandmother. Personally, I'm waiting on disposable clothing and food synthesizers. No more dirty dishes, burnt meals, or laundry! Yeah, George Jetson here I come.

Now I know if you were laughing about my custom built computer, you won't remember this from 1963. This was supposedly the 21st century. Well, the century is not over yet. Remember...
Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sunday Stroke Survival: Blood Pressure Issues

I know you've heard the saying of too much of anything is bad. I always talk about balance. Too low or slow is bad. Too high or rapid is bad. The same thing is true with your blood pressure. Did you know that high blood pressure is not only from bad habits like too much salt and over eating? My four-month old grandson has high blood pressure too!

The only reason the pediatrician can find for this is a strong family history for this problem. Needless to say, everyone is watching him carefully. High blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors for stroke and heart disease. He also has those things in his genetic mixed soup too which isn't a good thing. The genetic markers of family health issues is one thing I wish I could change about the legacy I passed down to my children and future generations. Like his brother's diabetes at age 4 years old. But we can't change our families.

High blood pressure was one of the risk factors that I gained from birth, but it was only a tendency. My strokes were caused by blood clots breaking free from my damaged heart. Coupled with thinning and hardening of my arteries, also a dual family history trait, didn't help. But I look at this precious infant just discovering the world aroumd him and curse genetics.

So how does my daughter combat the high blood pressure in her son? Well for one, she continues to breast feed him. She is also on a low sodium diet. What she eats affects what she feeds him. She makes all his baby food except cereal too. The only sodium she uses is what is found naturally in food. Now, keep in mind, my daughter has no blood pressure issues, but she is doing all of this for her son.

She comes by this naturally so it is no sacrifice for her. She grew up in a organic, low added sodium household. She is also on a low dose blood pressure medicine which passes through her breast milk to my grandson. It doesn't affect her blood pressure too strongly. She finds the more she exercises, strolling the block with her children, the stronger her body counteracts the medicine. But the result is my grandson's blood pressure is now under control. She is also doing baby type exercises with him, not that he's overweight. He is actually small for his age, but doing more.

When you do everything possible to prevent harming your body, sometimes it's the genetic roll of the dice that affects your future. That's what we are praying doesn't happen for my grandchildren who are exhibiting all these genetic health markers at a younger age. With eight grandchildren, I've got a pretty good mix of genetics and dilution from their father to follow. With diabetes, cancer, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, arthritis to name just a few, I'm seeing all of these in a number of them.

So how do you balance the Russian roulette of genetic factors? Try to dilute the gene pool as much as possible through the fathers. Unfortunately this didn't happen for my children or my grandchildren. They ended up with double whammies. The same medical issues on both sides of the families. Poor kids. We don't often think of medical histories when choosing the fathers of our children and maybe we should.

Nothing is impossible.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Yard Sales, Gifting, Selling

I've caught the yard bug that's been going around forever. My #2 daughter and her friends have had it for decades. I went yard saling with them for the very first time a couple of weeks ago. We were looking for a playpen, stroller, and\car seat so daughter #4 didn't have to bring them on the plane with her. They charge for checked baggage these days.We found all what we were looking for plus a high chair for my littlest grandson. All for about $40.

I haven't truly caught the bug, but it was an interesting experience. Don't get me wrong, I've been to yard sales, estate sales, and auctions many times before, but have never searched for anything specific like we did that weekend. I've never gone to yard sales after yard sales, looking for signs etc. Mostly, my experience has been a rub across one and stop because something caught my eye. Auctions are a totally different animal entirely.

Last weekend I went to a yard sale down the street. I picked up two sets of almost new twin sized
mattresses and box springs for free, two rolls cage and garden wire (almost full 50' rolls) with posts ($5), and four repurposed garden seats made from old tires ($10). The rolls of wire alone are $17 a piece in the store.  One bed set went to me  and the other went to one of my grandsons. Then I found a sale that I couldn't pass up a bed frame with drawers and headboard for under $150.I know I planned on the Murphy/desk\bed, but things change. My daughter gave me a corner computer desk they didn't need. I figure the drawers will hold the bed's sheets and blankets. They are really deep drawers.

I purchased vinyl bags to encase  both the mattress and box springs in. I don't want someone else's creepy crawlies and with my allergies, it was a necessary thing to do. I bought a definitely feminine quilt in pinks, purples, and blues. I even found a counter height dining table and chairs in a light wood mosaic top while I was getting my bed for $129. The seats of the chairs are 24" so it's just a question of sliding my behind onto and off of them. Now I just have to find a floral loveseat and I'll be set. I think I scored big time.

I've never even hosted a yard sale although I helped a friend with hers many decades ago. That changed this past weekend. I (well, my daughters) hosted my very first yard sale. I had three of my daughters do the work and they split $300 between them. No too shoddy for four hours work. I've planned on four yard sales to divest all my unwantables. Yes, I have that much stuff to sell and it's a yard full. Everything that does not sell will be donated to Salvation Army, Faithworks, or Goodwill.

I bought an electric spinning wheel and it arrived yesterday. I was so excited! It is something I've wanted for years. I been busy combing out all of the sheep's wool I washed. Since I do short draws only now because of my stroke, it made sense. I still have my handmade wheel too, but spinning will go so much faster with this new wheel. I've been talking to the maker of this wheel for two years now. She was so excited that I was spinning again that she threw in the tote bag for the wheel and the natural wax for the wood protection for free. I always try to buy local when I can, and she lives in Braselton, GA. Well, not exactly local, but in Georgia. Each one of her wheels is custom made so each is made with love. I like that.

Everything is going out this week to various homes and will be finally out of mine. This will leave
my three bedrooms empty at last. It's been a longtime coming. The store room, game house (an actual separate building), the garage/attics will each be separate yard sales in the coming weeks. Then I'll finally be free of all this stuff that was more than I could handle. Most I haven't used or needed in years. My house will no longer be used by my children to store stuff either. They can keep track of their own stuff. It's my stuff; my way from now on. Four rooms of livable space between the living room/dining room, rabbitry/storeroom, kitchen, and bath will be so much easier for my children to go through when I pass, but until then it will be easier for me to manage. Not the 200 sq ft of space that I imagined, but 500. Still a lot smaller than 2000 sq ft. A 3/4 drop of used space. I still have a workable full sized kitchen for canning and cooking. A full sized (5x7) handicapped equipped bathroom, plus a full 12x12 storeroom and a 11x15 rabbitry/craftswoman.

Sort of like this
I've got plans for the game house too. Water damage has ruined the interior walls and carpeting. A neigh's tree fell on the storage closet of the game house and my metal garden shed a couple of years ago. The building will be gutted and left open one one side. It will become my barn for yard equipment, and the new chicken house. The metal shed is history. It was ancient when we bought our property 18 years ago. I'll also be storing my hay in there for the rabbits and chickens. I figure two layers will be enough eggs for me. If I have four, I can sell fresh eggs. Then remaining chickens will be fryers for my freezer. I'm planning on purchasing a dozen to start with. I'm also expanding my gardening efforts. I'll be adding two more elevated raised bed and twp standard 4x8 bed to the garden. The standard bed will grow corn, pole beans, and squash in the three sisters method of gardening. Corn will feed me and the chickens in the winter. The other standard bed will
be my new grass hay area for the rabbits.

Speaking of rabbits, I lost dear, sweet Clover this past weekend. Cause of death, I don't know. She didn't appear to be sick just kind of mopey. I gave all  the bunnies their evening snack and attention and went to bed. In the morning, she was dead. So I'm down one female angora.I'll miss the easiest rabbit to groom. The others are a handful. It leaves Dubu without a mate. I may sell him and go back to my original plan of raising only BEW (blue eyed whites) in my rabbitry. I still haven't decided. Dubu is such a big boy and he hasn't reached breeding age yet.

Well, that's my update. No Wednesday post next week because I'll be flying to California for the premiere. Have a terrific week. Now a blast from the past...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday Stroke Survival: The Effacy of Botox and the Autumnal Slump

Tis the season...for Botox semi failure. For two years in a row the autumn series of Botox only has limited effect. In talking to therapists and other stroke survivors who receive autumnal injections, they stated I'm not alone in this. Although there are no studies that document this effect, alas, it appears to be fairly common.

I'm left wondering why this is. Is it weather factors? It is chillier. For us down south it's a damp chilliness. The kind that seeps into your bones. Is the arthritis flares that make us perceive an ineffective results of the shots. It's a possibility. It could also be an age factor affecting the injections. But why only autumn? Why not other times of the year?

All I know is that this Botox series is a bust. The spasticity in my leg and arm have had little response to the Botox. So I can expect no improvement or recovery of the spastic muscles. It means no forward progress and I strongly dislike this. I always strive for progress, don't we all? While my arm no longer draws up into my chest like it did before the dry needling, the wrist is cocked at greater than  90 degrees. The best I've managed to straighten the wrist is 45 degrees. The hand is also in a light fist and the fingers will extend to 45 degrees, but it's a constant battle to fight the spasticity.

I should count my blessing though. While my muscles contort into these extreme positions it is only mildly uncomfortable now because of the dry needling once or twice a week. I do have to admit that skipping two weeks of therapy will cause the spasticity to get progressively worse. Three weeks between sessions my arm will slowly rise and lock into my chest. So dry needling has a hold over affect that is lengthening with treatments like I first read.

My dry needling buddy, who I've talked about before, has almost a two-month carry over effect between sessions now. He is now Botox free. I know I'll get there too. Considering how bad my spasticity is, I'm lucky to have any hold over effect at all. To have a two-week hold over is better than the 1-6 hour carry over that I had in the beginning. There are less and less active trigger points which causes problems which is excellent. For example, my bicep has almost no trigger points to hit so we are now working on the forearm, hand and deltoids. My traps are still a problem but getting better. They are no longer my steel traps, but more like lead (tough but malleable). Considering both of us have been in this study for post stroke spasticity for less than a year, we remain hopeful of ending this cycle permanently. I would honestly consider our response as positive results.

 By narrowing my view of what success is, I can maintain hope. Small strides or baby steps. When I look at the big picture, I could make myself seriously depressed. Small blessings focus has been my saving grace. Each blessing, no matter how small, is a stride forward. So in the autumnal slump of the Botox series the blessing of not being in the agonizing pain of full fledged spasticity is a greater blessing to focus on. Judging by last year, my winter series should have me on the track of positive, forward gains again. Three months to wait isn't long compared to the almost three years of no progress. I can take heart in that.

Nothing is impossible.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What's My Style and Where is it?

My current dilemma is picking a style of new furniture. I promised all my current furniture to other family members and have put them up for sale so I'm starting from scratch again. All my life what was chosen has had somebody else's input, functionality, and with budget in mind. Now, I'm left with trying to figure out what I want and what style. I'm ready to have what I want; how I want it. But I don't know what that is. I've gone SIX furniture stores and I'm lost.

I need a twin sized bed. It will be easier to fix and it's only just me. I'm 5' squat and so I don't need an extra long twin.I like a firm mattress and preferably a foam one. I'm tired of innerspring mattresses poking me or sagging. I gave away my twin beds that the girls used a decade ago for their children. An adjustable bed would be handy for getting out of bed in the morning, but oh, the price! Is it worth seventeen hundred bucks? If I do get an adjustable bed what kind of mattress and controls do I want? They don't make an adjustable mattress in just foam. Then, the decision on the frame and headboard. The one store I went to didn't have one in stock and the second choice was discontinued.

I decided that I wanted a counter sized dining room table with two to four chairs. The height of the stools/chairs are easier to rise and be seated on instead of regular chairs. No sliding to the front of the chair and rocking to get up. I'm kinda of partial to light finishes on woods. I've always had dark finishes because of the children. Everything was dark finishes so I comprised and got the dark legs with a light top. Murphy's Law...discontinued.

I found a smaller upright freezer. My huge, behemoth went on to it's next stage of life as my root cellar after the compressor died. It served me well for almost 35 years as a freezer so I'm not complaining. My root vegetables stay good for 6-9 months in it. How can I have a root cellar at sea level? I partially buried in and the rest of the exposed surface got an earth berm. That was six years ago and have made do with only the freezer attached to my refrigerator since. I've sorely missed having one. Fourteen cu.ft should do me nicely. My son-in-law shot a deer yesterday. So it won't be empty for long.

Sort of like this
I decided I only wanted a love seat and an arm chair in my living room instead of two sleeper sofas, a love seat and two chairs.  I might have the space for all of that, but that doesn't mean I have to filled the space with furniture. I won't be hosting my large family get togethers here anymore. I was looking for something a bit more feminine. Maybe a light floral with plenty of color. So a contrasting arm chair in a solid would be possible. Definitely not the heavy wear, child proof stuff, leather or imitation leather stuff, but a fabric. I tend to wear shorts year around and am tired of getting stuck to it or itch like crazy from it. Everything was browns, blacks, get the idea. The kicker in a purchase was the seat height and depth. Once again, I had to be able to get up without struggling. I love my gliding rocker dearly, and have rocked my babies and grandbabies in it.  Except now since my stroke, I have a real hard time getting up and down from it.  I couldn't find anything.

What's wrong with the attitude of "I want what I want when I want it?" You can never find it. In this gotta have it now society we live in, you'd figure somebody would have what I'm looking for. I even searched online...nada! Short of buying something I like the build of and reupholstering it, I'm out of luck. Reupholstering a new piece of furniture seems like a waste of money to me, how about you? I've even gone to yard sales, perused newspaper ads, craigs list, ebay, overstock, amazon, and facebook trying to find what I want. Talk about frustrating.

It's not like I have time or a ton of money to burn. I've got another week and a half to get this done or I'll be in an empty house...sans furniture. A mattress on the floor would work if I could get up from the floor. Yep the yard sales have done a wonderful job. I've only got a few dates when everyone can come in and carry their new possessions home.

Besides the flooring company is coming to rip up the wall to wall carpeting to install the wood floors in the house. I hate carpeting. Nothing amps up my allergies more. I don't want to have to move furniture around. After nearly 17 years in this place even vacuuming and shampooing doesn't get all the crap up. Give me an area rug I can hang outside and beat the tar out of it any day. Yes, they can be a trip and fall hazard but they make tape for that.

Yes, I'm downsizing. All the furniture I'm keeping and/or buying will fit very comfortably in my great room (14x28). Actually that's not such a bad idea, if all the bathrooms weren't on the other side of the house. Hmm, there's an idea. I could pit in a convertible twin size Murphy bed and desk in my old dining room.I mean it's will have more than enough room in it without the seats 12 dining table and hutch is gone.  I was planning to get one for my tiny house. It can be a work, sleep, eat,and  play set up in one piece of furniture. I can just close off half of my house except for a bathroom. Cheaper in heating and cooling. Less clutter. Easier to keep clean. I've even got the sheets from my husband's hospital bed for it. The more I think about it, I like it. Looks like I'm heading down to Jacksonville, FL to get one. It's an hour away, but worth it.

I decided to put in a dutch door between my store room and my rabbitry (the old family room). That way the bunnies can't get into my pantry. Actually, it's half of dutch doors. The top section of the door will be left off for ventilation. Hopefully, Buddy won't be able to jump over it. That's one high leaping bunny rabbit. Buddy can jump over a baby gate. I found one at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $40. It was in an old daycare.

So that's my week or couple of weeks. How's yours been?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday Stroke Survival: Something Fishy

Omega-3 or fish oil has long been recommended to reduce blood cholesterol levels. I started on them when my body started seizing up (abdominal and leg cramps) with statins...all of them. It was later found that I could take Zetia, but that isn't a statin at all. So what was the answer to my high cholesterol levels---fish oil. I presently take Lovanza, which is prescription strength Omega 3, and four 100mg capsules of triple omega (over the counter) every day. Plus, I'm eating a Mediterranean/Almost Vegetarian  diet.

So for the cost of the prescription, the over the counter omega, and the dietary changes, has there been any change in my bad cholesterol numbers? Very little. Granted, I got closer to the magic 100 mg level on statins, but I felt like crapola. But remember my blog on alternative (Voodoo) medicine? Omega 3 is a dietary supplement according to the FDA. Hmm, it got me looking up what 4 mg of Fish oil was doing to my body. I might mention that I also eat fish three times a week also.
Fish oil is LIKELY SAFE for most people, including pregnant and breast-feeding women, when taken in low doses (3 grams or less per day). There are some safety concerns when fish oil is taken in high doses. Taking more than 3 grams per day might keep blood from clotting and can increase the chance of bleeding.

High doses of fish oil might also reduce the immune system’s activity, reducing the body’s ability to fight infection. This is a special concern for people taking medications to reduce their immune system’s activity (organ transplant patients, for example) and the elderly.

Only take high doses of fish oil while under medical supervision.

Fish oil can cause side effects including belching, bad breath, heartburn, nausea, loose stools, rash, and nosebleeds. Taking fish oil supplements with meals or freezing them can often decrease these side effects.

Consuming large amounts of fish oil from some DIETARY sources is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Some fish meats (especially shark, king mackerel, and farm-raised salmon) can be contaminated with mercury and other industrial and environmental chemicals, but fish oil supplements typically do not contain these contaminants.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Liver disease: Fish oil might increase the risk of bleeding in people with liver scarring due to liver disease.
Fish or seafood allergy: Some people who are allergic to seafood such as fish might also be allergic to fish oil supplements. There is no reliable information showing how likely people with seafood allergy are to have an allergic reaction to fish oil. Until more is known, advise patients allergic to seafood to avoid or use fish oil supplements cautiously.
Bipolar disorder: Taking fish oil might increase some of the symptoms of this condition.
Depression: Taking fish oil might increase some of the symptoms of this condition.
Diabetes: There is some concern that taking high doses of fish oil might make the control of blood sugar more difficult.
High blood pressure: Fish oil can lower blood pressure and might cause blood pressure to drop too low in people who are being treated with blood pressure-lowering medications.
HIV/AIDS and other conditions in which the immune system response is lowered: Higher doses of fish oil can lower the body’s immune system response. This could be a problem for people whose immune system is already weak.
An implanted defibrillator (a surgically placed device to prevent irregular heartbeat): Some, but not all, research suggests that fish oil might increase the risk of irregular heartbeat in patients with an implanted defibrillator. Stay on the safe side by avoiding fish oil supplements.
Familial adenomatous polyposis: There is some concern that fish oil might further increase the risk of getting cancer in people with this condition. (According to Web MD, NIH website)

Now some of this just sounds scary.Fish oil may sound harmless but looking at this list makes me wonder. While I don't have a lot that falls in the Special precautions or warnings, I do have a few like high blood pressure, a spongy liver leftover from my drinking days way past, diabetes (now in remission), and depression. It raises some flags with me.

Will I chance coming off the fish oils? No, not without some definite signs that it's worsening these conditions. The fear of another heart attack or stroke keeps me on the oil. Considering I've had both in the past, I sure don't want to repeat it caused by higher cholesterol. I may not survive a second heart attack or third stroke.

That's my two cents worth and with inflation...a dollar.

On a personal note, today would have been my husband's 67th birthday. A few days ago would have been our silver anniversary. A few more milestones hit in my first year of grief. "Happy anniversary and birthday, babe. I wish you were here."

Nothing is impossible.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Happy Feet Just Can't Be Still

So far It's been an event filled October and November for me. I've been going with the flow, as it were and changes are in the works. I've been traveling too.

The biggest change is that I am NOT MOVING. Yes, I'm still divesting myself of worldly goods in an effort to live big with less. I will still be in this 2,000 sq ft house. I don't need 3/4 of the stuff I got. Maybe even 15/16th.

That being said there are some huge changes in the works. Mostly landscaping, as in cutting down trees to improve my solar capturing efforts. But then, it's mostly sunny here unless it's raining. I got to thinking about spending $50,000 on a new tiny house and property when I only owe a little over $40,000 on this house. I can whip this yard into shape with $10,000, than moving to a new location and then starting all over building up a new property. It just made more sense to me (after my daughter beat it into my head). Worse comes to worst, my next move will be into assisted living or a nursing home.

Full grown South Down sheep
I'm checking whether or not I can have a couple of miniature goats or sheep on the property. I mean they allow big dogs and are these are only 23" tall (smaller than some dogs). I still have my 4' to 8' fences around this property. It will just mean a bigger composting effort to manage the flies. But compost won't go to waste. I can even trade it with other gardeners for seeds, cuttings, or vegetables I don't grow.

Similar to this
So what will I do with all this unused space? Well, I'll put french doors in between my dining room and family room. This will become my rabbitry. It's already heated and air conditioned. I change their litter pans daily so there hasn't been a smell even with six rabbits. Most people don't even notice them until I draw attention to them. The family room is already their free, floor time romp room anyhow. But now it will be my rabbitry, grooming room, and spinning/ sewing room. The floor is tile over concrete already for easy clean up.

I'm destroying the wall between the kitchen and dining room. It's going to be tricky because it's a load bearing wall. But it will open up both spaces. A breakfast bar will be built so I won't need a dining table. Certainly, not one that seats 10 people like I have now. It's rarely used and gathers dust...more cleaning. I can finally do this to please me. I've only been talking about it for a dozen years, and I can finally do it. All I'm pulling up all the wall to wall carpet and putting in wood flooring. I'm also going to barter the largest spare room to a college student. It's a win-win situation. I won't be alone and I'll have someone who can change light bulbs and dust ceiling fans. They'll get free room and board.

I have to say, I'm pretty happy with these changes. I might actually get my van into my garage again too.

Other than that I've been traveling. First it was off to the Georgia mountains to pick up Dubu and help a friend. Then an unexpected perk from this blog. I flying off to California (all expenses paid) for a documentary premiere. Little, old me was invited to a movie premiere! It began two years ago when I posted about my PBA (PseudoBalbar Affect). As usual, I got the flurry of emails rather than comments. One lady and I chatted back and forth for about a month regarding this condition. While I couldn't help her at the time with what she wanted to do with a public awareness campaign, I could bounce ideas off her. And then, she was gone.

I didn't think about it again after she stopped emailing until I got her call. That's what I'm here for. So many people have passed through my life via email since I started blogging. She said that she'd be honored if I could attend and that I was instrumental to the project. Woah!

All my kids said they were proud of me. I was left scratching my head, "What did I do?" I only chatted with her. I tell it like it is and play cheerleader. It was no different than 1000 other such emails I get. My kids reminded me that it's what I always told them, "Be polite and helpful always because you have no idea who you are talking to."

For me, I was just being me like always. It was a nice perk though. I've never been to California before although I have seen the Pacific Ocean from the other side of the world. Hopefully the ground doesn't shake much, it'll be the same temperature as home, the paparazzi will held at bay, and I will have some fun.
Not her house but close

The next trip? No, grass growing under my feet. I'm planning a Christmas holiday in Alabama mountains. What's in the Alabama mountains? Well, my baby girl and my two youngest grandsons for one. She has invited me for Christmas with her family and extended family in her new log cabin. Another off the grid homestead, hers. She said it was in case I missed white Christmases. I didn't have the heart to tell her, I didn't miss it one bit. I only have dealt with the white, fluffy cold stuff for as long as I had to. My daughter in Alaska also invited me. My response was, "Uh, no, thank you. Maybe in the summer."

I'll leave you with this...

Aww, admit it. You were tapping your toes too.

Have a great week.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday Stroke Survival: Warning, Will Robinson!

Past science fiction is now science fact. The title is from the old Science fiction show Lost in Space. I used to love that old robot. Now looking back, it's so corny! Robot don't resemble that robot at all. Especially where robotic devices to help stroke survivors are concerned.

There are "robotic" devices on the low end of the scale like the Bioness devices that can replace an AFO for foot drop after a stroke and the one to retrain the hand and wrist. To more elaborate robotic devices used in physical therapy departments for stroke survivors. Unfortunately, not mine. It is often stated that the more reps you do retrains the undamaged parts of your brain to take over for the damaged part. It's called by some fancy names like neuroplasticity or building new neuronal pathways. While I understand the process, to do the required number of reps will take years to recover. While the exact number of reps it takes is open to conjecture, let's just say an enormous of awake hours. But if they could be done while sleeping hours too, it would shorten the time if the damaged neurons would just stay quiets. Of course they won't. My clonus goes into overdrive with the Bioness AFO device.

Today, robotics are constantly being developed as hope for making the stroke survivor replicate what they've lost. There isn't a week that goes by that some new device whether used in therapy or in used in daily life would be a godsend to the stroke survivor. The problem with any new technology is the same everywhere cost and availability.

While my hospital therapy department may have the hoist lift on the treadmill, the robotic leg movement robot isn't cost effective. While the big cities my have an arm assist robotics, my medium city doesn't for the same reason. While the bottom robotic assisted technology (step aside, Ironman) in the bottom picture is still in research and nobody has got it.

If we all had unlimited funds to do what we wanted to, all of us would jump on the bandwagon of the robotic assist movement or go where it was available. Wouldn't we all wear something heavy or uncomfortable to make paralyzed or spastic muscles do what they should do? I know I would. The same thing goes for recovering faster from the deficits of my strokes.

Unfortunately, most robotic devices are rejected by most insurance carriers as experimental and just won't pay for it. I'm not sure what Medicare pays for or not because I ain't had to deal with those folks. But since the federal government is the biggest bureaucracy of them all, I imagine that they don't either.

So what's the answer? How do we get it? I don't have the answer unless we wait until it is as common place in use as toilet seats, but that can be a hundred year wait also. Demand that our stroke organizations put pressure on political powers that be? That doesn't work. Just ask Dean. Wait until more people are affected by stroke? There's way too many of us now in the queue. (1 or 2 out of 10 men) Revolt? Storm Washington like the 100 Man March? (What did that truly accomplish?)

I just don't have the answers, but...
Nothing is impossible.