Archive for December, 2010

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Friday, December 31st, 2010

Happy New Year to all our friends and family. First let me tell you that this sunset-loving, backyard sage has been thinking a lot about angels. I thank the angels who have lifted me up. I am sure we’ve talked about angels lately… God sends them to announce (Gabriel), to fight for us (Michael), and to guide us (Raphael). These are the big guys, the Archangels, but there are minions of small ones who stand by and blow on us a warm breath (these are manifested in the hugs, kisses, and prayers we get as we struggle with our troubles.)

I’ve been struggling with what I considered to be loss, but it’s not loss, it’s just change, and God’s hand is on our Chuck. I have said to God, “You made Chuck, you have plans for him, and I trust you.”  But I’m human, and I try to take the reins in my hands. Imagine wanting what we want, and pushing to get it. That only tires us out, gives us a headache, causes us not to focus on what’s really important -  love and trust. Trudy said she wouldn’t take the antibiotic she needs because it makes her sick, so I got all bothered thinking the infection would set in… but I also told her, she’s in charge and I can’t force her. So the untaken pills sat. Today the doctor said Trudy’s toe is fine and she doesn’t have to take the antibiotic any more.    For a second I was … and I can’t put a name on what I felt (useless, wrong???) Now wait! Where did my belief in the angels and God’s taking care of his child go?  OK so enough said. We can’t control anything much. We can’t make healing happen. We do our best and we can love. And we can let go and let God. That sounds like a New Year’s Resolution dear friends and family.

About Chuck:  He’s walking alone now… imagine my”fear” at letting him go off alone. He put sneakers on when I was going over to bandage “the toe” and he walked 2 1/2 miles. Imagine how nervous I’ll be when he first drives?  I expect his friend Dave to take him out for the first time… partners in the car for 20 years ought to count for something. He gave me a big smile this morning. Believe it or not… he’s been a little stiff and expressionless (comes with brain injury)… that big smile was a big gift. God bless you. Sue  

It’s still Christmas!

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Dear friends and family.  In Mass this morning, we celebrated the Presentation of Jesus when Simeon and Anna thanked God for delivering us with the baby who will save us.  We celebrate the wise men coming next Sunday and many celebrate 3 Kings on Jan 6.  I hope you are still celebrating.  Chuck and I are still here on Big Pine Key taking care of Chuck and Aunt Trudy.  She is very perky and healing nicely.  Chuck and I are leaving Monday morning for a PT session in the afternoon.  We leave Aunt Trudy’s care over to Thelma as second care giver.  We are walking 2 to 3 miles in the sunshine. The temperature has dipped into the 40s, but mostly in 60s and 70s.  I ask you to continue to offer prayers for Chuck as the recovery of cognitive power will take a while. We wish you a wonderful New Year. Love Susie

Signs and Christmas

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Signs… We ask for them all the time: “Lord if you want me to do this, give me a sign… if this is the right life partner; give me a sign.”  Etc. Well I didn’t ask for a sign. A giant bird pooped on my car door, windshield, and on me through my open window!  This happened in the middle of a rather stressful day in the Publix parking lot in Key West. If I may back up to tell you “the whole story”…… Chuck and I came down to Big Pine Key to take Aunt Trudy to a routine doctor’s appointment and to a nice Christmas Eve meal. The doctor said to Trudy rather loud and fast, “How did you let this get this bad???”  I was out in the waiting room and I heard that and sent Chuck in to see what’s going on. She has an infection in her big toe and the doctor said he has to take off the nail and it will need dressing and a prescription and come back in a week for another procedure, more care, and more instructions. Poor Trudy… shots of Novocain always hurt, and then the (yikes) process of taking off a nail… and all the rubbing with red stuff and bandaging… She was a trooper. I was the white-faced care giver carrying her purse, glasses, hat, and sweater. We went to lunch at Fridays where Princess Trudy put her foot up and then to Publix for the prescription where the bird POOPED on me and I yelled, “that bird pooped on me!” Chuck and Trudy looked at me like I was the one with the brain injury… “why is she shouting?”  Later that day, I told Colleen (neighbor) the story as we watched sunset and Colleen said, “It’s a sign!!!”    In “Under the Tuscan Sun” with Diane Lane, an old lady must sell her house but she doesn’t want to… when a big bird poops on Diane Lane’s head, the old lady says (in Italian) “It is a sign!!! Sell her the house!”  Apparently it is also a sign in the Keys if you step into dog poop – it is a sign.  But I didn’t ask for a sign!!!  So I have to just wash my car and pants where the bird got me and I have to say I was in the wrong place at the wrong time… Or maybe I could attribute it to Christmas. God sent a sign of his incredible love! We celebrate his Love sign this day as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We eat, drink, make merry, and take care of others in celebration of our gratitude for God’s gift.  Give a gift of your love today or this week in honor of God’s sign and gift to us.  

This is supposed to be a blog about Chuck’s progress. I think this is one of those slow weeks (when the loved one doesn’t seem to progressing as fast as the caregiver wants him to) that people write about in the books I’m reading. There is so much going on that I don’t think he is getting restful sleep. (I certainly am not well slept!!! I am exhibiting signs of anxiety, impatience and I need prayer). We took Aunt Trudy to Key Colony Inn for a Christmas lunch and the restaurant was so noisy, and the food was not great… and with Chuck in the back seat watching me drive over the 7 mile bridge, I think he was brain drained by the time we got home…so he took to bed for a long winter’s nap. Pray for our Chuck and for a restful and complete recovery.  He looks good and he is healthy, he just needs some time to straighten out the cognitive knots and he needs a patient nurse. Pray for patience!  Love and kisses, Merry Christmas.  Susie

Tuesday morning - sunny

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Good morning dear friends. After not too much sleep we are up and cheery. We are stuck on the TV series 24 on DVDs that Charlie sent, and it is so active and intense that we are finding it hard to settle down to sleep. I got up at midnight to make lists of things I have to do and Chuck was awake too. He still needs to get plenty of sleep for brain rebooting, so we might have to move watching the 24 DVDs to the afternoon so we can settle down to go to sleep!!!! It is amazing what coffee will do “the morning after”. Chuck, Dave, and Charlie just started out for a walk while I work on some piles of paperwork. The hospital and doctors’ bills are starting to come in and I have to copy them and send them on to worker’s comp AND call the individual billing doctor’s offices to give them worker’s comp information. YIKES! I’m still excited about Chuck’s eye exam with my friend from the St. Augustine Emmaus and book club. She increased his prescription, and she said his eyes are healthy and not affected by his brain injury. Thank God! He ordered 2 pairs of new glasses (bifocals for improved reading, and wrap around sunglasses). He’s anticipating using the wrap arounds when he rides the motorcycle, but that is a long way off. He probably won’t be cleared for driving for months; and the motorcycle… well that requires much more coordination than we have right now. … Chuck seems much clearer since the doctor dropped the second seizure medicine (dilantin). We have 2 PT sessions this week and then we’ll be off for the Keys and Christmas with Aunt Trudy. We might stay for a week and take Trudy to a New Years Day party on our Big Pine Key block. Speaking of PT: We will be looking at exercise bands to continue the exercises he is doing in PT. If anyone has had success with these, please recommend what you bought and how you used them. We looked at Bow Flex machines, but believe it or not, I don’t have room for a giant home gym…. Exercise bands we can handle. Life is a series of ups and downs. Thank God for both, for he gave us adequate faith, hope and charity on Christmas day. God bless you! Love Susie

What day is today?

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Dear gentle readers! Happy last week of Advent. Prepare ye the Way of the Lord!!! Because doctors ask, “What day is it? What month is it?” We try to look at the calendar every day. If I forget to look then I don’t know what day it is. The neurologist actually told Chuck that Chuck forgot the date the last time he was in the office…. “yeah, yeah, yeah, OK so we’ll learn the date,” I thought begrudgingly. Knowing the date as a retired person is important because it helps us get the garbage and recycling to the curb, and it helps get to doctor’s appointments. What else??? Oh well beauty and hair appointments. I’ve missed 2 since Chuck was in the hospital…
So…. it is Monday before Christmas!!! We’re on the exit ramp of Advent and going to slide in for a “Home Run” at Midnight on Friday night! Chuck and I will be driving to Big Pine Key on Thursday after rehab to take Aunt Trudy for a lunch in Key West on Friday and for Christmas dinner on Saturday. Charlie Paparelli’s visit has been stimulating and exciting. Charlie, Dave, and Chuck have walked every day. They are up to 2 miles. Chuck is much more his old self, but still needs naps for brain recovery. So if you come to visit… look for the note pasted to the doorbell and be ready for nap time after breakfast (or in the afternoon if we have a morning appointment) and a somewhat early evening as we’re in bed by 8:30pm. Chuck has stopped wandering in the night and sleeps through, “like a baby.” Charlie gave us 5 years worth of the TV show 24 so I am all fired up when we finally get to bed. Chuck just sleeps with that tiny purr that I still thank God for. . Thanks Charlie for interrupting my sleep!!!
We’re looking at buying a Bow Flex machine because Chuck is working very hard in PT and that will end one day. I hope hope we will continue to exercise after PT. The new (Craig’s list) Bow Flex will reside in the TV room, so be prepared for a “gymnasium look” when you look towards the lake! All right dear ones, have a wonderful week and stay warm (25 degrees in Palm Coast, Florida and freezing!) Miami is a balmy and sunny 65. Love and kisses, God bless you. Susie

To the Sunset

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Dear gentle readers.  As we drove to PT (physical therapy) today, Christmas music playing on the radio, and me mindlessly singing to the music, I thought for a second, “Christmas?” This Christmas, the only Christmas that I will be celebrating is thanking God for gifting us with faith, hope, and charity. There will be presents for relatives as I try never to forget our dear relatives, but the real Christmas present, as everyone knows, is the miracle sitting right next to me in his seat.  We are dealing with physical therapy for brain surgery and tiny infarcts in the thalamus, whatever they are - except uncommon and unique, I don’t know much about them. But we are dealing with them.

Chuck works very hard in PT, and on Wednesday Chuck had some right hand tremors while biking vigorously. The PT leader and the doctor we saw on Thursday could not explain the tremors that stopped as soon as Chuck stopped biking. The neurologist cut out one seizure medication increasing Kepra to 500mg twice a day. I feel better about being on only one seizure med, and the neurologist said he prefers not to “mix” similar meds. OK. We see him again in 2 months. We can live with this.

After PT today we scarfed down hamburgers and chocolate shakes (OK it’s not brain food, but he does get plenty of fruits and veggies too), took a shower, and dressed to meet my Emmaus sister Dr. Millares to get an eye exam. She hugged him and told him how good he looks and how everyone is praying for him…. About a millennium ago (in October) Chuck said he was having trouble reading, well it HAS been 3 years since his last eye exam. Stuck in traffic for an hour, I arrived at the eye doctor’s office with much higher blood pressure than Chuck did and he got an A+ for healthy eyes. (Thank God). I was concerned about the brain trauma affecting his eyes, but once again we got the old familiar “OK” “he’s in great shape” … except for a little tiredness and slowness in motor and cognitive, and the occasional slurring of words when he gets tired he’s on his way to recovery. Funny thing, I do that too, and I often don’t know the date … and I didn’t have my brain stomped on ……
Chuck and Charlie Paparelli are talking now as Charlie came for a visit from Atlanta. We look forward to many visits with old friends and we continually thank you for your prayers. Christmas will be very special this year. God bless you! Sue

OH ps: about the title. When things seem too overwhelming… we can “go to the mattresses” (”The Godfather” and “You’ve Got Mail”). For me it’s “Go to the sunset.” Who can ever be overwhelmed or sad looking at a sunset? Amen.

Italian Risotto

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Our English friend Sally asked what she could make us for dinner and I thought for a second and went to the ‘fridge and pulled out an Italian risotto with the directions in Italian. Well she IS a European; surely she can read Italian! Oh she said, I make this all the time, and she headed off to the Winn Dixie for mushrooms and fresh spinach. I provided beef juice from the freezer, and Sally is now singing and stirring. Bill put up our Christmas lights and then proceeded to clean up my beaches (pull weeds). Then he and Chuck made a big bonfire for all those weedys and some big trunks of trees that have been lying around on the beaches. I meanwhile just rolled myself up in a soft blanket and watched. I am now hurrying as Sally is quickly stirring in cheese and spinach. I smell good food coming!!!! All is well in chilly south Florida. Tomorrow we might get a freeze. brrrr… All you lovely friends out there keep praying for Chuck. He had an EEG today which might enable him to get off the Dilantin (seizure med). We meet again with the neurologist on Thursday… Chuck will stay on the Kepra for at least 3 months per the neurologist. …. God bless you this wintery night. Love Sue and Chuck and friends in our warm house.

Our English family

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Sally and Bill sailed from Cornwall to Houston and spent 2 weeks in our American West eating Mexican food and looking out at our very skinny border (the Rio Grande) which they said was very carefully guarded by our border patrol…. We had set up great plans to pick up Renee and meet Sally and Bill near Waveland, Mississippi and visit sites along the coast down to gardens in Florida. Well Chuck certainly does have a way of being dramatic and so… Sally, Bill and Renee changed the plans we had made to visit Florida sites and Orlando area. Sally and Bill are flying out of Miami, so they came to visit us here in Miami last evening about 5pm. We also entertained Chuck’s cousin Stacy and Alice for breakfast with a nice nap between breakfast and Dinner. Peter and Karen came from a short vacation on Naples and we had a little dinner party to welcome our English family, to wish Peter and Karen a happy birthday, and to thank Dave and Debbie for taking very good care of us in the past month!!! We had a wonderful dinner and then Chuck took himself to bed. The injured, insulted brain needs sleep, and Chuck is taking advantage of sleep to heal. Chuck has shown Bill the Christmas lights, and Sally will shop and make dinner for us tonight. Chuck, Bill, and Dave went out walking (1 1/2 mile), Sally and I made breakfast which we ate with dates and bread (thank Renee for the goodies)… Chuck will take a nap and then we have an EEG at 12:30 and a PT at 3:00…. God bless you my dears as we prepare for Christmas, and everyone keep warm. Love Susie

God’s touches

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Today is a double exercise day! Chuck had PT, negotiated for new boat trailer tires, and walked 1 1/2 mile…. and all with the blood pressure of a young athlete. He goes for naps when he is tired, and indeed he’s still recovering from 3 hours of brain surgery, and almost 2 days of seizures. We are grateful that so many people come and tell him how much they pray for him! I received an email from my niece and I want to share it (below). Along with brain surgery recovery books, I am reading a book on “God-incidences” which the book calls God-winks with the premise: God lets us know we are his immediate concern: “…Your God has chosen you from all the peoples on earth to be a people particularly his own… he set his heart on you and he owns you.” (Deut 7:6-7) God touches us and moves us, and I thank God that many of us don’t ignore the little shoves God gives and we do good things and we recognize his hand and praise him. Thank God! I have talked often this month to people about the miracles that happened during Chuck’s trouble. Our friend Aurora got us in to a very crowded Doctor’s day, Doctor saw something he didn’t like and he sent Chuck “immediately” for an MRI. The MRI tech saw a lot of something he didn’t like and with the hand of God (through Aurora and Claudia) we connected the radiologist and general practice doctors after 5pm on a very busy day so that the ER was waiting for Chuck and whisked him away saying they were “waiting for him.” Debby was available to hold me when I needed holding, to feed me, and to drive me to the hospital for the next 7 days because she wasn’t working any more for a while….. Now who stops working on a Thursday afternoon for the next 10 days and then your friend needs you? Who but God put three specialists in the same room looking at Chuck’s CT scan because it was “interesting?” Indeed WHO? My friends and I have looked at each other a lot during the past month and just shook our heads asking silently, “did you see that?????” I have been afraid through this journey, and when I was most afraid, a friend reminded me to pray. Thanks friends. Love Susie

Here’s a little “God-incidence story”… Next time it looks like something bad is happening to you consider being an angel …

I was driving home from a meeting about 5pm, stuck in traffic, and the car started to choke and splutter - I barely managed to coast, cursing, into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck. Before I could make the call for a tow truck, I saw a woman walking out of the quickie mart building, and it looked like she slipped on some ice and fell into a gas pump, so I got out to see if she was okay. When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen; she was a young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up, and I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel.

At that moment, everything came into focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with 3 kids in the back (1 in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95.

I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying “I don’t want my kids to see me crying!” So we stood on the other side of the pump from her car. She said she was driving to California and that things were very hard for her right now. So I asked, ‘And you were praying?’ That made her back away from me a little, but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, ‘He heard you, and He sent me.’

I took out my card and swiped it through the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely, and while it was fueling, walked to the next door McDonald’s and bought 2 big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee. She gave the food to the kids in the car, who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little.

She told me her name, and that she lived in Kansas City. Her boyfriend left 2 months ago and she had not been able to make ends meet. She knew she wouldn’t have money to pay rent Jan. 1, and finally, in desperation, had called her parents, with whom she had not spoken in about 5 years. They lived in California and said she could come live with them and try to get on her feet there. So she packed up everything she owned in the car. She told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, but not that they were going to live there. I gave her my gloves, a little hug and said a quick prayer with her for safety on the road. As I was walking over to my car, she said, ‘So, are you like an angel or something?’

This definitely made me cry. I said, ‘Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really busy, so sometimes God uses regular people.’

It was so incredible to be a part of someone else’s miracle. And of course, you guessed it, when I got in my car it started right away and got me home with no problem. I’ll put it in the shop tomorrow to check, but I suspect the mechanic won’t find anything wrong.

Sometimes the angels fly close enough to you that you can hear the flutter of their wings…

Psalm 55:22(23) ‘Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you. He will never let the righteous fall.’

Awaiting more visitors!

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Hi dear friends. I just drove Carol to the airport. We trained on blood pressure. I need another nurse please as that little knob you let the pressure out on is tricky. I have to take his pressure for 3 weeks… Chuck maintains the low low pressure despite all the women leaning over him and praying! Sally and Bill from England and hopefully Renee from Orlando will arrive Sunday and we’ll treat them to a “country dinner” of venison stew and biscuits courtesy of Debby. Chuck and I are off to PT and then a nap. Isn’t life grand? The sun is shining and God’s angels are dancing all around us. FYI: Chuck and I met 46 years ago tomorrow at Junior Achievement. Love to you, Sue

Dominoes!

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Hi dear friends. We played dominoes tonight! We were visited by friends in the middle of two separate games and talked and then played on! Carol won two and Chuck and I won one each. Chuck plays like Mom. I line mine all up, all planned out, organized, and Mom and Chuck seem to just play from the pack. Mom’s friend Helen used to say “Grace! you need to organize!” and Mom went on to win….. Carol and I decorated the inside with all my Christmas toys and Nativity angels and figures and I’ll enlist Dave to help tomorrow to light up the outside if it stops raining and warms up. Today was a make soup day, but instead I made salmon and snow peas. Brrrrr on the cold wave from the north. Tomorrow our dear helper cousin Carol leaves and Chuck goes to PT. All is moving forward thanks be to God. Have a wonderful Friday! Love Susie

The brain’s a funny thing…

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Hello dear friends. Today of course America remembers Pearl Harbor. As we sat on interminable wait-hold in the surgeon’s waiting room today we played 20 questions (or so it seems to Chuck.. Carol on one side, me on the other asking questions…). me: “What happened today in history?” Chuck: “Pearl Harbor” me: “and when was that?” Chuck: “December 7, 1941.” When the neurologist asked the date, Chuck fumbled. (psst… famous day in history). We were “out on the town” visiting doctors from 9:30 to 2:30. Yes a brain gets tired, and if an injured brain gets tired, it gets jumbled. And so that is what we are dealing with. Of course many of us don’t know what day it is until we look at the paper. I keep the calendar on prominent display so we can check the day and date because doctors seem to think it’s important. Chuck got all the other questions right and he absolutely stood up and strode to the door and back when the neurologist told him to. Both doctors say Chuck’s rapid healing is remarkable. We have an EEG on Monday and if it is good (all the other EEGs have been clear) we can stop one of the seizure medications. The other has to be with us a little longer until we are sure there are no more seizures. Carol takes blood pressure and it’s that of a young athlete. Tomorrow is PT at 9 and hope a 1 1/2 mile walk after. Dave walks with Chuck upon request! Most days he and Chuck go at 9am. It’s cold here!!!! We were freezing today in the doctor’s buildings and offices. Something about “you could hang meat in here.” We have on our flannel jammies and are watching on demand movies. Then it will be off to bed to remember God’s wonderful angels that he sends, and to thank God for the blessings he sends. “Only Goodness and Mercy will pursue me all the days of my life.” Thank God! Love Susie

There’s no place like home!

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Knock the heals of your ruby slippers together to change them into sneakers and come to our “home.” Cousin Carol arrived from Ohio as the snows started in the north. She took Chuck to PT at 8:30 am on Friday (Dec 3). Between Carol and TWO PT guys, Chuck worked very hard, and then we whisked him off to the Keys where he absolutely wore himself out playing with buddies Steve and Perry. Perry was wonderful working on the boat, mowing the lawn, weed eating, and other clean up items while Chuck either tried to help or sank into a chair very tired… Moose burgers and socializing at the Moose lodge did him in. I think Chuck learned a lesson (I hope so…). When you are only a month out of surgery, with a traumatic head wound, you just can’t do every single thing you want to in the high gear that Chuck is accustomed to. You need to nap, and rest, and … well just let the healing take place. On Sunday morning, Chuck said, “I can’t rest here.” Interesting … is it because you don’t have ogre Dave taking you for long walks and not doing what you want to do??? So we packed up and came on home. All rested up, Chuck is back at PT today with nurse Carol. His blood pressure and pulse are “those of an athlete,” says Carol. No sick man here… unless you count the stunned brain.

I appreciate if you would recommend books or web sites for me to read so I become knowledgeable on head injuries. I bought a book Tammy recommended called My Stroke of Insight by Jill B. Taylor, PhD. She is “a brain scientist” who had a massive stroke in the left hemisphere at age 37. The book records her journey through the stroke and back. I’ve read for example the last pages “forty things I needed most” like “I’m not stupid. I’m wounded. Please respect me.” I like that term “wounded.” I’ve also read something interesting that I need to turn to when I ask “how long?”: “I thought I had lost forever the ability to understand anything mathematical. To my amazement, however, by the fourth post-stroke year, my brain was ready to takle addition again. Subtraction and multiplication came online around post stroke year four and a half, but division eluded me until well into year five!” She offers all kinds of ways she “got things back” like using flash cards. Isn’t that interesting! Chuck did not have a stroke and his injury is “bi lateral”. Carol says it is mostly surface which is why he seems to be recovering so quickly. We still have to understand the effect of the bilateral thalamic infarcts. What we are dealing with is the coming back online of the brain… some cognitive deficits that most doctors said he would probably recover. We meet with neuro surgeon and neurologist tomorrow. I will pepper them with questions while I am understanding this is “wait and see; go slowly; no one knows.” Today is a beautiful day and we look forward to so many more beautiful days. May God bless you on this “Saint Nicolas Day”… Do you remember when we were little and we put shoes out at night on the feast of Saint Nicolas and we got presents! Love and God bless you. Susie

When you come to visit, bring your sneakers

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Hi dear friends. The recovery from a brain injury is all “up in the air” and scary. Have I used this word “scary” before? It ranks right up there with uncommon and unique which describe Chuck’s injury. Every day, with friend Dave, Chuck walks a vigorous 1 1/2 mile swinging his cane “for exercise” (and me tagging along behind saying “OK boys, wiggle your fingers, stand up straight, long strides!”). Today they went off alone while I wait for a call on the neuro surgeon appointment and a neurology doctor’s appointment. We had visitors last night after rehab (we celebrated the sunset inside as it is a little chilly). “Winter is acomin’ in” at about 60 degrees and windy. I know this is a balmy summer’s day for some of you! But we are bundled in sweatshirts and socks! During the visit Chuck talked about things and I kept thinking, his memory is not impaired at all. Usually Debby and I look at each other and nod as if to say, “See he remembered that or that…” last night Debby was somewhat behind me, but I knew what she was thinking. His memory is good, just need to clear up the fog in his brain which might take a while. Slowly, with baby steps. OK my dears. Feel free to visit our balmy winter sunshine! Even with Susie not outside pulling weeds our back yard and lake is gorgeous in this pre-winter splendor. God bless you and keep you safe. Love Sue

April 2006

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Good morning dear readers. I am looking out at sunrise and thanking God for yet another beautiful day, and for some reason I clicked on April 2006 (over on the right is a list of months. See April 2006? click on it - just for fun…) I saw first, a photo of the house next door (Mike’s house) and the first “mural” I ever painted. Mike is the posting expert, so Mike when you come at Christmas, please help me to attach photos of my “latest” murals. Then I saw what looks like a Good Friday meditation (come back to this in Lent - or now is OK too), but scroll on down and find “The Battle of the Nightgowns.” My sister Sarah and Mom witnessed this “event.” Some times I can’t believe the gifts God has given to me, like writing. I hope you will read the battle of the nightgowns (now that many of you are engaged in winter) (”what’s that?” my “little Susie side” asks, “don’t know kiddo,” I answer, “I’ve been bare foot in Miami all my life…”) Anyhow. Enjoy my little battle story and try today to “use your God-given talents” to brighten up someone’s day! For that is our role as talented children of God. Enough for today. I have piles of papers to clean up. God bless you! Love Susie

Traipsing through the Unknown

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

I know there are many books and papers on the brain, and lots of doctors who have “neuro” as a specialty, but many parts are uncharted and unknown territory. I did some reading on “bilateral thalamic infarctions” and I ran into the words “uncommon and unique” words which Chuck’s neuro surgeon used in the hospital. … Just what we needed to hear. And now I’m reading it. We will work our way through this by reading and asking questions. As if he knew I have 50 questions, Chuck’s neurosurgeon cancelled our first appointment today to do an emergency surgery (Do they “plan” emergency surgeries?) Shame on him; avoiding me like that… We had the CT scan on Monday and the doctor will have it when we visit him… I pray for the words, “back to normal, now work hard!”
Chuck worked on the computer for the first time this morning. I’m the one who woke up at 4am, not Chuck… But he started moving and then I felt like I could get up. Yikes it is dark out at 4:30am…. He logged his FHP time for November, sent it off via email, responded to emails, and read a lot of emails. After about an hour, he was flagging, and I moved him away from the computer. He is taking a little nap before Dave comes to walk at 9 (we are up to walking about 1 1/4 mile and doing it vigorously.) PT guy said that was OK. We have PT this afternoon. Therapists said he has to work to relearn cognitive skills, and not to push (use baby steps, go slowly - words Chuck never understood; me either…) … Chuck and I both have to be confident and willing to work hard to relearn skills that his “stunned brain” has temporarily forgotten, like touch typing: I needed to say, “use both hands” and he picked it right up. Reminders of how to do things is the way the therapists do it. Knowledge is not gone… the brain just has to find it. Healing is an awesome thing and we continue to pray for total healing. We look forward to a visit from Chuck’s cousin Carol tomorrow until the 10th. Carol, I, and any other beautiful women of the neighborhood will engage Chuck in lively conversations as he’s supposed to be working on ability to listen to three or more women talk at once and figure it all out. Remind you of a little joke? “Doctor will I be able to play the piano?”… “yes” … “oh good because I couldn’t before!” Imagine if Chuck learns to listen to three women talking at once and figure it out… that will be fun! God be with you this December as we prepare to celebrate God coming to earth, and as we remember “God is with us” Emanuel. Love Susie