Janice Hall Heck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the tag “#stroke”

15 A Day in the Life

BBlogEverday[1]log Every Day in May. Prompt 15. A Day in the Life: A Typical Day

Is there a typical day when you are retired? Yes, no, and maybe.

I woke up thinking about everything I had to do to get ready to leave for a BIGGGG college weekend. Gordon College, my alma mater, invites fifty-year graduates (Class of ’63) to join in the ceremonial procession with new graduates. This sounded like fun, so my friend and classmate, Judith Krom, and I decided to gather our regalia and join the fun.

Then the phone calls started. My sister Bev called to give the latest report on my sister MsJoanne (hospitalized because of a recent stroke.) Report: No change in her condition, not better, not worse. My brother, Adam, called, and we made plans to visit MsJoanne on Thursday. Bev planned to visit today. (MsJoanne is in intensive care with restrictions on visits.)

Next, my friend Ron arrived to dig up a clump of hosta in my yard. A few days ago, I mentioned that my hosta needed to be divided (one clump blocked the lawn sprinkler) and invited him to take some for his yard.  While I had other things on today’s agenda, I decided to go out and help him.

Hosta plants before the attack.

Hosta plants before the attack.

Ron digs his clump of hostas.

Ron digs his clump of hosta.

Although Ron took half the original clump, the remaining clump still blocked the sprinkler.

Although Ron took half the original clump, the remaining hosta still blocked the sprinkler.

Ig out another part of the clump, divided it into three new plants, and planted them our back.

I dug out one more clump of hosta, divided it into three new plants, and planted these out back in my yard.

Happy hosta in their new spacious living quarters

Happy hosta in their new spacious living quarters.

I stopped to take a picture of this rhododendron in my back yard.

I stopped to take a picture of this rhododendron in my back yard.

The sprinkler is still not clear of hosta, but that’s enough for today. I have to get back to my trip prep list. I have miles to go before I sleep. (Recognize that Robert Frost line? I wrote about this poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,”  in  the 2013 A to Z Challenge). Mom would say that we gave the hosta a “lick and a promise,” meaning that we would get back to it another day.

My blog for May 12 had not been published, even though May 13 and May 14 blogs have been. Sunday’s blog was too long (1400 words) because it was about my mom, and I had a lot to say about her. I pulled out a couple of sections that could be published on other days, and then I proofed and proofed and proofed the post and published. (Errors sneak in when I am not looking, so I have to be extra careful.)

Errands filled the rest of the day: haircut, manicure (French!), gas fill-up for car, new purse, new GPS (our last one had a “fatal error” mid-way on our last trip), blog, laundry, dinner, blog. Midway, I talked with my friend Connie about a writing workshop we plan to attend in September. We’re all signed up.

This has not been a typical day, but typically these things happen.

The Last Meow

Sometimes ya gets so tired you fall asleep wherever ya fall asleep.

Sometimes ya gets so tired ya falls asleep wherever ya falls asleep.

Well, this is my typical day. Can’t think of a better way to spend my time. Why worry when you can nap? Anywhere. Any time.

Meow for now.  ={^:^}=

Apology to Readers of Blog Every Day

BlogEverday[1]Blog Every Day in May. Prompt 13. Issue a public apology.

This is an appropriate one for today. It just so happens that I missed Sunday’s post, number 12, as well as Monday’s post, number 13.

I have an excuse. Honest. Actually, I have several excuses.

1. My May 12 blog is about “What or who do you miss?” That post fell on Mother’s Day, so naturally, I thought about Mom. But as I wrote about her, I found I had a lot to say and couldn’t quite get the post finished. In fact, I am still tweaking my writing today. I hope to add the Mother’s Day post tonight after My-Heck-of-A-Guy does his picky-picky edit. With more than 250 words, he will take a bit longer to knit-pick proofread. I do appreciate his willingness to do this. Missing a typo or other error  is easy to do when you proofread your own work. (You bloggers know that!)

2. I got a call yesterday around 1 pm that my sister, MsJoanne, is back in the hospital. She apparently had another stroke just after lunch yesterday. (I talked about her first major stroke here.)  She is still in the ICU unit of the hospital and on hourly monitoring. She was alert yesterday and could answer the typical questions (name, birthplace, president, year…), and she also gave important contact phone numbers to the doctor. My sister, Bev, and I dropped everything and went to see her.  At this point she has not stabilized and still has some bleeding in her brain. This is an hour-by-hour situation. Bev and MsJoanne’s son, Mark, visited today. I will go tomorrow.

Ms. Joanne, Adam, and Gunner, the community dog, at Juniper Village

Ms. Joanne (after her first stroke, in the wheelchair), Adam (my brother), and Gunner (the community dog) at Juniper Village where Ms. Joanne resides.

At any rate, I have gotten back to my blogging this morning, and just published (out-of-order) post number 14. That one was easy and fun to write: Ten Favorite Things. And number 13 is just about finished. Now, because I will be away for four days, I must try to get a few posts ahead. I guess I won’t be leaving this computer chair for quite a while today.

The Last Meow

cat embarrassed

Well, yes, I must admit that I get embarrassed sometimes, although I won’t admit it to my owners. They don’t-have-to-know. They would just laugh.

What? This is just a cat collar. Stop laughing!

What? This is just a cat collar. Stop laughing!

Meow for now. ={*;*}=

F is for F.A.S.T- Know the Signs of Stroke: It Can Become Personal in An Instant

a-to-z-letters-2013A to Z post for Day 6-Letter F

While my theme for A to Z is writing and grammar, I thought this F.A.S.T. topic was important enough to pass on to you. It’s a topic that in one instant became very personal to me.

I’ve seen ads on TV and heard bits on the radio about what to do when a person has a stroke, but I haven’t always paid attention. I did know that if a person who had suffered a stroke got medical attention quickly, they could avoid permanent brain damage and disability.

My eldest  sister, Ms.Joanne (her nickname), lived alone and did not like us (her younger sisters) checking up on her. We would call to see how she was doing on a fairly regular basis, but Ms.Joanne didn’t answer the phone when she didn’t feel like it. Consequently, if we called and she didn’t answer the phone, we fretted about whether she was just being ornery or whether something had happened.

Even after several falls, several 9-1-1- calls, and several hospitalizations, she still played the phone game with us. She had been in an assisted living facility after her last hospitalization, but one day she just packed her rolling suitcase, called a taxi, walked out, and went back to her home. (Because she had signed herself into the facility, she could also sign herself out.)

Ms.Joanne’s sons travel for work and are rarely home during the week. I live thirty minutes away, so driving over to check on her is a bit inconvenient at times. Bev, my other sister, lives closer to Ms.Joanne, but sometimes she is taking care of her grandchildren so can’t run and check on Ms.Joanne either.

One Monday morning, I called Ms.Joanne and got the usual no answer. What should I do? I decided to drive over to check on her on the pretext of seeing if she needed groceries.

I rang the doorbell. No answer. I tried the door, and it was unlocked. I walked in and called her name. No answer. I walked to the family room at the back of the house, and there she sat in her favorite recliner in front of the TV. At first, I was relieved. But when I called her name again, she did not turn to look at me.

I called her name several more times, she finally turned her head in slow motion, ever so slightly, to look at me. Her eyes were wide and somewhat unfocused. I asked, “Are you okay?” She said, “Yes,” but clearly she was not.

Somehow I knew she had had a stroke. She could talk, but she didn’t say very much, and she remained in the same position as when I had entered the house. From the odor in the room, I guessed that she had been sitting there for more than a few hours. She told me two days. I was not sure if that was the correct answer or if she was disoriented. Regardless, I told her I needed to call 9-1-1. She told me, “no” in an adamant tone, the strongest and loudest of the day.

It was clear to me that she needed medical attention, so I told her again that I needed to call 9-1-1. Again she refused. Finally, I just called 9-1-1. When the EMTs arrived they asked her to smile, to move her arms, to speak. When she had difficulty with smiling and moving her arms, they told her she had to go to the hospital. Of course, she refused. She wanted to stay in her home. The EMTs were very patient and kind to her and explained what needed to be done, and finally Ms.Joanne relented and allowed them to take her to the hospital.

But for Ms.Joanne, it was too late to stop or reverse the damage from the stroke. She was weak on the right side of her body and paralyzed on the whole left side of her body. Within days, because of complications (swelling, lack of circulation), the doctors advised that her left leg had to be amputated. Now, five months later, she is in a long-term care facility and requires almost total care. She can feed herself, but she can’t bathe, dress herself, or do any personal care. She will never be able to walk again. Because of her paralysis, she is not a candidate for a prosthetic device.

Kroey sisters. back row L to R  Joyce, Joanne, Shirley.Front row L to R: Beverley, Judie, Janice

Kroey sisters. back row L to R Joyce, Joanne, Shirley.
Front row L to R: Beverley, Judie, Janice

My family is aging, and health issues now take much of our time. These are my sisters. Ms.Joanne is the tallest one in the back.

Sister Shirley, back right, is also in a rehab facility in California. Several months ago, she was hit by a car while she was in a crosswalk on a busy street. The driver of the car was paying attention to her dog and not to her driving. My sister, Joyce, back row left, passed away of heart disease (a family trait) several years ago. I also have three brothers. The youngest, Robert, passed away three years ago of Sarcoma (cancer).


Strokes are the 3rd leading cause of death and a leading cause of long-term disability in adults.

Every minute counts when someone has a stroke. The sooner the stroke victim receives medical attention, the better the prognosis. This acronym, F.A.S.T., can help you remember the signs of a stroke:


Keep these steps in mind. Be ready to help when you notice facial or body weakness and strange speech in a family member, friend, acquaintance, or anyone. Act F.A.S.T. I pray that you have better results than Ms. Joanne.

Cats comfort a sick family member.Picture: E-Cute

Cats comfort a sick family member.
Picture: E-Cute

The Last Meow

Cats just seem to know when someone needs some special attention.


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