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.





  1. I'm so sorry to hear about this. I can so relate to Randy's denial of sickness because it happened to me, too.

    Sometimes hospitalization is necessary, but it does invade one's privacy, it's humiliating and it's painful. The farther I get from my own, the more I realize that it's also very tough for the family.

    I wish Randy a speedy recovery and I wish you the strength to help him through it.

  2. Thank you Cube. You are absolutely right on all counts. As for strength, its here. It has to be. Randy will get better. Just not as soon as he (or I )would like. I also know that the conspiracy theory will pass as he gets better. I think getting through the 2-3 weeks at the rehab will help a lot. Then he will be home and more comfortable with the skills to get around and not hurt himself. What he needs is independence. And he is really fighting to get it. But that fighting spirit is what will help him to be successful.

  3. It's funny that you would mention a conspiracy theory. I think that doctors and nurses do it because they don't want to alarm the patient.

    I went to the doctor, then the ER, then to a room, and then to ICU on a Friday. On Saturday, they ran 7 procedures on me. In my denial, I thought they were just rushing to get me released by Monday. Later I learned they wanted to find out was wrong with me before they lost me.

    Had I known that at the time, I would've needed more drugs and I was already on plenty.

    I have come to think of it as a necessary evil... not one I like, but, on a good day, I will grudgingly admit was necessary one.

    Best wishes to you both.

    1. Oh Cube! I had no idea that you had been seriously ill. I am so sorry that happened to you. Very scary. I am also very glad that we still have you.

    2. Thank you. I'm also very glad that I'm still here. I'm not 100% yet, but I look forward to a time when my family doesn't hover over me every time I cough. That's endearing and annoying at the same time, but I know that it will pass.

      2013 may have started out badly, but I pray for a return to normalcy for us both in the near future.

  4. wow, you have a tough road to hoe.

    i hope randy will soon realize how lucky he is to have you.

    1. Thank you billy pilgrim! Every now and then, you surprise me with sweet words. I am touched.

  5. oh on, i am so sorry to hear that this is the shift. glad randy is with the living and that recovery is in the cards. i sincerely pray that he does come around to accepting where is is currently so he can stop channeling his energy into fighting and start putting it into healing.

    your job is not an easy one so please be good to yourself and take care of you even though you have a great responsibility to help randy. my prayers are with you both.

    1. It is not easy, yet it is a privilege to be so trusted by another person. Randy now realizes that he is not at home. Yay! Little steps.
      We both do a lot of laughing at the situation. He fed himself for the first time today... and looked much the way toddlers do after given free rein on the food menu. He asked me to take a picture so that he could look back at how far he has come when he is recovered. He took one look at the photo and said "Holy crap! Hide that one."

    2. so glad to hear there are steps in the right direction and HUMOR. that will help immensely! great idea for documenting the progress too. it will be a great help when a day comes where he is frustrated about where he is. then he will be able to look back and be encouraged.

  6. Scary. I can't imagine the hell you are going through right now. I wish the two of you all the best.

    1. Thank you. I am seeing progress every day and that comforts us both. =:]

  7. Oh my. I'm so sorry. The recovery process is a long and difficult one, as much for the caregiver and the cared for. I am keeping you both in my thoughts,

  8. Wishing you and Randy the best. Take care dear friend and hang in there.

  9. Oh man, I am so sorry you're all going through this! I hope Randy starts to recover through time and therapy. In the meantime, I really hope you are able to take some time for yourself. That sounds so frustrating.

  10. Aw, geez, I've been so tied up in my own world for a while, I've been a horrible sort of blog friend. I'm sorry to be getting to this news so late.

    I don't know what to say except hang in there. I've had a couple of relatives who had strokes and they were pretty much totally fine again after a while. It takes time. You already know that, but it doesn't hurt to hear it from another source, I would guess.

    I'm saying a prayer for you and Randy right now. God bless.

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  12. Hi there - I'm so glad that he has such a great attitude and so do you. And you know what... you can thank him for giving you a break from your job! What a wonderful husband he is to sacrifice himself to do that. Take care both of you.

  13. Just checking in to see how you're both doing. Hope all is better.

  14. Hey...sorry I haven't been commenting on your blog! My RSS feed wasn't updating it and I assumed you weren't blogging. I'm glad to see you are handling everything that is going on with such strength and grace.