Tuesday, April 16, 2013


He was getting a bottle of water from the fridge and it slipped from his hand.
I woke when the bottle hit the floor.
He was clinging to a door frame.

"What are you doing?"
My sleepy brain was not really getting the gravity of the situation.
"Trying not to fall down." he said.

Randy had been having trouble with his hand not wanting to work properly.
His grip would let go on its own.
He had been having trouble with the check book and Randy always balances to the penny.
Little things.
I was concerned.

On Monday I took him to the doctor.
Randy told her that he had stopped taking his medication because he had run out...
and that's what he thought was the trouble.
I told her flat out that I thought he was having mini strokes and it scared me.
She listened to both of us,then to his his heart, lungs, and arteries.
In the end she decided that Randy's reasoning sounded more likely...
and wrote him a new prescription.
He was smug about being "right".

Monday night (the same day) he went to work and his boss sent him home early,
saying that Randy wasn't himself.
That really scared me.
But not near as much as that bottle hitting the floor and finding him
clinging to the door frame.

Fast forward...

My first thought was to get him to the hospital.
I could not lift him myself.
I ran across the street to the young, buff neighbor's house, but no one answered.
I ran down a long driveway to the other neighbor's house
Kim was home and ran on ahead of me back to the house...
 where Randy now lay on the floor because he had tried and failed to get to his feet.

I stopped on my porch and called 911.
I wanted to throw him in the car and take off,
but we would never get him in there.
He was too much dead weight.
A fire truck responded and then the ambulance.
I locked up and followed in my car.

When my mother died, there was an obvious shift in the world.
Everything felt different.
Like, how can the world keep going on when she is not here?
The world goes on.
I felt that same weird shift as I followed them to the hospital.
My world had taken a new deep shift.

Gratefully he did not die.
He looked at me before they took him in for a CT scan and said
"I will only say this once... you were right."
I would have much rather have been wrong.
Randy had an Ischemic stroke...
a blockage or reduction in the flow of blood to the brain.

The left side of his body is affected because the stroke is in his right hemisphere.
He can talk, though it was slurred at first.
He has some trouble swallowing on his left side of his throat.
His left leg and arm are weak.
He can walk with assistance.
He has lost his left side peripheral vision,
so his brain does not recognize that his left arm exists and he rams it into things.

I am on FMLA leave and so is he.
We are looking at a year of recovery.
I'm in the process of filing for disability for him and trying to figure
out how I can work and care for him.
Too much crap in my head if you ask me.
But the word has shifted and I must follow the shift.

He is out of ICU and in a normal room.
He takes walks, and does various therapy.
He wants to go to the local mall and walk around and around
until everything works right.
In his damaged head, that sounds very reasonable.
Just the ticket!

What is or isn't reasonable is a problem for him right now.
So comes the comical portion of my current journey...
trying to convince him that he has to stay there is a 24/7 job.
He tries various ways to escape.
None of them work.
Catching him pisses him off.

He believes that we... the hospital staff and I are in cahoots.
That there is a royal conspiracy to keep him from his normal life.
I have become his enemy depending on the time of day and how loopy he is.
I am not living on a cot in his hospital room to be there for him out of concern and love...
I am there to keep him prisoner.
I admit it.
His kooky actions make this part of my agenda.

He has an alarm that goes off if his butt leaves the mattress.
It plays "Mary Had A Little Lamb" in the most obnoxious
electronic tones you can imagine.
At 4:00 A.M. it is a horrific sound.
Yet I am soooo grateful for it.
They installed it after he tried to get away and fell flat on the floor.
Now he grumbles that his ribs hurt and refuses to admit that he knows why.

I am in a very frustrating and upsetting place right now.
Family and visitors are very good for him...
overwhelming for me sometimes.
But I know that family and friends make recovery faster.
I am grateful for the staff who does so much for him.
Grateful for my own support group.
I have really great kids.

So allow me to leave you with some weird stroke humor...

Randy wanted to escape.  He wanted me to help him and after some exhausting arguing over it, I allowed him to have his underwear back.  He insisted on putting it on himself (because there is nothing wrong with him in his head) and I watched in utter exasperation as he began to put them on backwards and kept pulling on the back of his sock, missing his underwear all together,  in his vain attempt to pull his underwear up.  I said "At least let me help you get them turned around right... they're backwards." 

He gave me a stare as if I was beyond dumb and said "Well then I guess I'll have a pocket to keep my poop in!"
So today, let me wish you all the joy of having your underwear on right.
Despite the great poop pocket, you're better off that way.