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When most Americans think of 9/11, they think of the terrorist attack in New York City.  When I think of 9/11, I think of an event that changed my family’s life forever, but it was 9/11/1996, the day in a split second things were never the same.  This year is the 19th anniversary of my husband’s massive stroke.  On the morning of September 11, 1996, we were all getting up to get ready for work, school, etc.  Hubbie was sitting on the toilet getting ready to get up and take a shower.  The next thing I know is he is speech is all garbled, one side of his face is drooping, and at the age of 36 he was having a massive stroke.  I told him to stay where he was and I would get help, but when I returned he was face first in the clothes basket unable to move.  The rest of that day is kind of a blur, between the paramedics coming out and trying to figure out how to get him out of the house.  At that point he was a very big man, so it took some effort to move him.  We were living in a little town called Cleburne, Texas, and when we rolled up to the ER, the head nurse said he isn’t staying here go to downtown Fort Worth to Harris Hospital, where they have the equipment to take care of him, which this is the best thing that could have happened for us.  He probably would have died if he stayed there; they just were not prepared for this type of trauma. 

Next thing I know I am in the ER and the doctor comes out and tells me Gene had suffered a massive stroke, a right ganglion bleed that was too deep to operate on, and could only bleed out 5 cm because after that all organs would shut down and he would be gone within 24 hours.  He stopped bleeding at 4.5.  We made it past the first 24 hours, then a week, and then the doctors started telling me he would be in a nursing home for the rest of his life, couldn’t dress himself, walk, or anything, basically a veggie in a home.  I told them they were crazy, we had three young teen kids, and I was not going to be left by myself to raise them, he was going to leave the hospital and come home.  The doctors told me physical therapy was out of the question, but I had a young physical therapist who told the doctors he was too young not to try.  He could still talk and eat; the rest would come with work.  The main neurologist told us we were all crazy, but agreed to let him going into PT, and he was there for 2 months.  He was in a hospital in downtown Fort Worth and we lived 45 miles away one way in Cleburne.  I already had to do the commute daily for my job in downtown Fort Worth, but now I was doing 2 round trips a day – seeing Gene before work, going to work, going home to situate the kids, back to the hospital to spend time with him before his bedtime, and then home again.  I was living on 2 hours of sleep a night but knew at some point he would be coming home.

Finally, two months later Gene not only left the hospital, he walked out of it.  We had to go by and tell the neurologist that we proved him wrong, and to this day I bet he still thinks about that patient he knew was never going to function again, and he did.  The journey wasn’t easy.  He had to relearn how to sit, stand, and walk again.  Simple things like getting dressed were very difficult, but he persevered.  From that point, I became the breadwinner of the family, which I was not prepared to be and still struggle with, but 19 years later we are doing okay.  We still have challenges with his health, things not related to the stroke, but we make it work.  I know that we never know what is going to happen in our lives and how in the blink of an eye our loved ones can come down with a life threatening disease, airplanes might crash into buildings,  or a natural disaster can hit and wipe out large sections of towns.  We just never know.  What we do know is that we only have so many days on this earth and we need to make the most of them.  When disaster hits, you find out who your friends really are and through their help you are able to persevere, rebuild, and move on.  As we were able to put our lives back together, so were the people of New York, and us as a nation.  Right now there are many Americans who are doubting our ability to overcome the issues in America right now, but we are a strong people, who know right from wrong, and when it comes down to it, we will band together as a nation and make it work, which is what 9/11 represents for our nation.

If you would like to find out more about our life since the stroke, I wrote a book a few years ago that basically helps others understand what to expect if they or a loved one is affected by a stroke.  It is basically a guide of things I wish I had known before he had the stroke.  You can get it at Amazon.com – There is Life after a Stroke.  Till next time….

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Well, I must admit I had no idea it had been so long since my last post.  I knew I needed to write new posts, but the last few months I must admit I have been battling my depression.  Every time I went to write I just couldn’t figure out what to say, so just didn’t say a thing.  It isn’t like there hasn’t been a lot of news items that upset me enough to tell my opinion on it, but when it came time to discuss the issue I just couldn’t get the words to form, so finally here we are, three months later and I am finally able to form a thought and put it on paper.  I’m not really sure what started this bout of depression; I think it became a situation where there were so many things that came up that finally it was just too much.  I do know that every year around my birthday I have issues, especially the older I get.  It seems like the older you get, the faster time flies, to the point that every birthday hits and you realize what you have not accomplished, and you have less and less time to get it done.  When you are in your 20s or 30s you can have an epiphany and decide you want to try a new career.  If it doesn’t work out, you are still young enough to start over again at least once or twice, but once you hit your 50s, you don’t really have the time keep starting over.  What really sucks is when you find yourself in a dying profession and you know you need to make a change, but you really need to think hard about what you are going to do.  More than likely if you go into a techie type profession you might end up working for someone who is younger than your own kids, which if you are like me, the first time they smart mouthed you or got snippy you would end up in jail for smacking them, which isn’t a good thing.

The other thing you have to look at is do you really want to go back to school?  Do you want to take the 3 or 4 years to get the degree and then start at bottom of the profession and work yourself up the ladder to where you finally make a good living?  If mean if you are early 50s, by the time you finish school, get in to a job, and then work through the levels of management and such, you are probably going to be in your early 60s and getting toward retirement age, if that is even an option.  I am not saying that once you get a certain age you are unable to be a productive employee, it is more of do you really want to be?  Do you really want to be the newbie at an age where you should be in management or running your own company?  I know that after working from home for 15 years the thought of going back into an office and dealing with all the politics that are normally involved, I am afraid I would hurt someone or tell them to take the job and shove it.  I used to be a wonderful employee.  I was quiet, did what I was told, and always finished what I started.  I was the one you stuck in a back office, gave a pile of work, told me what to do, and then you forgot about me, literally.  I wasn’t the one who was always up and about getting involved in gossip or such, so when it came time to go to lunch or celebrations or whatever, I ended up being left at the office wondering where everyone went.  I just put up with that and wouldn’t say anything.  I am now 20 years older and have come to the point in my life I don’t put up with a lot of crap.  I figure at this point in my life I shouldn’t have to, but then that kind of kills my ability to put up with office politics and not say anything about it.  At least I know this about myself, so it makes a difference when I start looking for an exit plan out of my current job.

The other problem with going out into the workforce again is my evil friend “depression.”  I never know when it is going to hit and hit hard.  When I get to that point I become very unproductive, sit and stare at the computer, and become someone you probably do not want to spend time with.  This isn’t conducive to fostering a good employee/employer relationship, as they like people who do their work, are someone personable, and don’t start crying because you look at them cross-eyed.  Well, I haven’t had that problem in a while as my meds help with that issue.  I know there are a lot of people who have been put on antidepressants who probably just needed to get a hobby, start exercising, or get negative people out of their lives, but there are many others who without medication wouldn’t be able to function in this world and apparently I am one of them.  There are some side effects from the medication I am not thrilled with.  I am not able to feel emotions like I used to, but sometimes that is a good thing, especially when you don’t want to cry at the drop of a hat, but sometimes you feel like you should be able to cry over something but the tears do not come.  But, I am sure those around me prefer the medicated me compared to what I used to be like.  I’m not saying I am always easy to get along with, as I do find myself getting more aggravated in situations that didn’t used to bother me, my patience leaves quickly, and going to the grocery store can become an experiment in whether I am going to get snippy with people or stay calm until I get to the car.  It can get a bit scary at times…

I’m not really sure what the point of this post is, other than for those who suffer from depression, I get it.  I know what it feels like to stare at your computer knowing you need to be working, but you can’t even get your fingers to move on the keyboard.  When a simple shopping trip turns into you trying as hard as you can to not run over someone with your shopping cart and chunk food at them, especially when the lady behind you has hit you three times with her cart because she can’t see we have a traffic jam in the aisle that isn’t clearing anytime soon.  I think you get the point.  I am to the point in my life that I have to figure out my exit plan from my current career while I still have the ability to make the change.  I must say my plan is to start writing posts on my current quest to lose weight and finally learning how to write fiction.  Till next time….

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