Monday, March 31, 2014

Blog 7

Alison at bluestem in February 2012, three weeks before her stroke.
First of all, I would be remiss if I moved forward without thanking each one of you who liked or commented on or shared my blog last time. Seriously, thanks. I laugh-cried when my husband read them to me. Don't worry, it happens a lot. 
I mentioned the fact that I can't eat. Really, I am unable to swallow anything substantial. When my mother was sick, I swore off rotisserie chicken and Stouffer's lasagna forever. Or chicken and rice casserole. Don't get me wrong, it was amazing not having to worry about meals. I simply chose not to eat them again. Only now, I would totally eat them again because it would mean I could eat again. I would dive into a serving of moo goo from Yen Ching, near Springfield, Mo. Yes, I could get moo goo in KC, but it wouldn't be the same. It just wouldn't. I want steamed rice and crab rangoon. The crab rangoon at Yen Ching is peppery, not sweet. I'd eat fettuccine Alfredo and coconut shrimp. I think I just gained seven pounds. Twizzlers and those peach things and Good and Plenty and Jelly Bellies, along with about every candy bar known to man, sound tasty.
A fan of fine dining, my 10th anniversary was supposed to be celebrated at Alinea in Chicago. My anniversary is this August. A bit ambitious at this point, n'est-ce pas? I regret never having tried Julian when we lived in Brookside. We did make it to bluestem, The American and Justus Drugstore. Oh, and Michael Smith. In no particular order, of course. Thanks, Groupon and KC Restaurant Week.
Creme wafers and Lucky Charms sound good. I will have rainbow sprinkles on my White Chocolate Mousse from TCBY. I know I remember my Mall Deli order verbatim, and there's a reason. Oh, and I might as well go to Cafe del Rio and Chicken Mary's. Before people get all judgy about my hypothetical food choices, please know I will use moderation. I am a pretty good cook, despite my horrible knife skills. Really, I am surprised that I still have all parts of all of my fingers. And I don't weigh a ton. It turns out that not eating anything at all is the best diet ever.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Blog 6

Eighteen months. That's how long I was supposed to be sick. I remember a deep conversation I had with my husband. Most of the research says a stroke victim my age should take 18 months to recover. It was raining and I was still in Nebraska. By the time 18 months came along, I was already home and really upset when the fake milestone passed. We decided the studies didn't apply because those studied ran out of resources or gave up. What we didn't take into consideration was the severity of my stroke or that I'm me. My stroke was b-a-d, and I haven't met anyone with such bad effects as mine. I've heard of a young lady in California fighting a battle similar and a young man in Arkansas whose stroke was far worse than mine. Then there's the fact that I'm not taking this stroke thing lying down. I'm serious, even though I am typically in bed when I'm home. Every chance I get I am trying to get better. I guess you could say I'm a bit stubborn. Even people who have never heard my reclusive voice think I'm stubborn. It is funny how personality traits can be used for good or bad. But I digress... I intend to get better, eventually.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Blog 5

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away–Springfield, Mo.–I ran a free clinic. It wasn't something I ever foresaw, it just happened. I made so many great friends there. Oh, and it changed my life forever. When my mother found the lump in her breast, our family didn't have insurance. She waited to tell even my dad until we again were insured. There's a chance that she would still be with us had things been different. Fast forward a couple of years and we are living in my mother's beloved Kansas City. I don't like to dwell on the past, but I liked my job–at MetroCARE–liked my house–in Brookside–I was glad we moved. MetroCARE made so much sense. Volunteer doctors would see needy patients for free in their own offices. We closed on our home in August and I had my stroke in March. Our neighbors were so kind, though we were such short-timers. At the risk of becoming the family pariah, there are parts of “ObamaCare” that I like. For example, I rather like the part that made it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. I likely wouldn't have given the bill a second thought had I not worked with those less fortunate. I am grateful for my non-profit jobs and the way they made me more compassionate.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Blog 4: Two Year Stroke Anniversary

Two years. Yes, it has been two whole years since my stroke. People have—accidentally, of course—tried to kill me. There was, very early on, the trach incident. I was told that someone responsible for my tracheostomy left the cap on the device. Oopsies. I guess that's a no-no if the patient is supposed to breathe. Then there was the time when the aide left a lemon swab in my mouth. I remember that situation very well. Gladly, I swallowed it whole instead of choking. Equally as debilitating, though not deadly, was the time my identity was stolen. An aide, who mysteriously didn't bother to call in or show up the next day. I heard she went in to pick up her check and left with it...and a lady's purse. It's funny now, though not then. I'm home now and nothing bad has happened. And I'm still here. I'm still here.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Blog 3

I hate the concept of sick kids. No, not the idea of children themselves, but the thought that it actually happens. I had a relatively nice childhood, but it is very irksome when not the case. For those who missed this, I was born with three holes in my heart. Not one or two, but three. Holes. In. My. Heart. OK, I will stop being a drama queen now. Why did the holes wait to manifest themselves until I was 31? I have no idea, but the fact that I was never very athletic makes a lot of sense. There are kids younger than 10 who have had strokes. I have been privileged enough to interact with teen-aged stroke survivors. They should be thinking about cars and sports and prom and such. Instead, they are thinking about speaking. It's not fair. I started this blog to say illness is stupid. It doesn't matter whether the victim is young or old. Being sick stinks. I lost my mother almost 10 years ago. Breast cancer, I had prepared for it, not a stroke. Even though I shopped for wigs with her (while she joked about looking like Farrah Fawcett) I have a soft spot for sick kids. Which is why I am donating my hair to Locks of Love. Also, thanks to Kelsey. You know why.