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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Life Goes On... with a New Challenge

On the 3rd of September, Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, in my trusty 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe, I made my weekly run up to the Campton-Thornton Recycling Center (aka "Town Dump").  Returning to home (HNH) about 10:00 A.M., I parked in the garage and entered the kitchen via the garage steps.  As soon as I started to cross the kitchen toward the master bedroom, I sensed that my walk was unstable.  I managed not to fall, but perceived that my legs were not obeying my brain.  I went into the bedroom and flopped next to Shirl on our big bed, saying only, "I think I am dying."

Some two hours later, I awoke and felt mildly disappointed.  There had been no pain, so it would have been a quick and easy way to go.

But that noontime I was expecting a visit from Flavius Stroia from Târgu Mureș, Romania, a friend met several years ago, and three of his colleagues from the company they work at, whose headquarters are in southern New Hampshire. When I had learned that Flavius was back in the U.S. with two Romanian colleagues for a couple of weeks' training, I had invited them up for a cookout. So, I got up, learned that while still not feeling normal, I could walk and talk, and decided to have lunch with the visitors.

That was probably a mistake.  Flavius and I agreed that "I had not been myself"during our cookout, and it turned out to be a short visit.  They left at about 3:00, if memory serves.

Shortly thereafter, I dialed 911, and told the emergency operator, "I think I am having a stroke, and my wife doesn't drive."  In less than fifteen minutes the Campton police and Plymouth ambulance arrived, and took me to the Emergency Room at Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth.  I was admitted, a CT scan was done which showed no intracranial bleeding, and I spent Saturday night in the hospital.

Since then, I have been in rehabilitation for the non-hemorrhagic stroke, or Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA) that had me hemiplegic in my right limbs for most of September.

I am far better now, thank God, though still far from free of the lingering symptoms of that stroke.  I offer my thanks to son Jesse, to Shirley, and especially to daughter Piper for their assistance over the past ten weeks. However, the bulk of the credit for my progressing recovery goes to the occupational therapists and physical therapists at HEALTHSOUTH Rehabilitation Hospital in Concord, New Hampshire, where I spent four full weeks, and to the therapists at Pemi-Baker Community Health Services where I continue to be treated on an outpatient basis.

I am again able to drive my car.  My target for improvement is to be back on my motorcycles by the spring of 2017.

Finally, please remember the stroke-symptom rule that I have learned since becoming a stroke-survivor:

FAST, meaning Face, Arms, Speech, Time.
If you note a drooping face or side thereof, if your arms do not work normally, or if your speech becomes uncontrollably slurred, call 911 and get to a hospital immediately.  Caught within the first three hours, many clot-caused brain blockages can be treated with drugs that will dissolve the clot before it starves brain cells to death. 

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