Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Stroke recovery: Fair progress

Young fairgoers experience centrifugal force.

Husband Walter and I headed to the latest edition of the Jackson County Fair on a beautiful fall day with sunny skies, cool temperatures and low humidity. I hadn’t been to the county fair in years. 

I looked forward to seeing the prize-winning farm animals, sampling the treats at the food booths of local churches and organizations and strolling the midway.

But as with every other time I have done something for the first time since a hemorrhagic stroke several years ago, frustration mixed in with the pleasure.

Youngster awaits flight of the bumblebee.

Ready to ride

Here is my stroke-survivor fair list:

- Seeing the excitement of youngsters on carnival rides and midway and remembering when our own kids were little,
- Viewing prize livestock and chickens,
- Eating homemade pecan pie at the food booth of a local church, and
- Navigating under my own power instead of Hubby’s pushing me in the transporter.

- Balancing in a busy, unfamiliar environment,
- My inability to safely bend close enough and at such an angle that I could read the details I craved about the cattle, goats, rabbits and chickens on display,
- Fatigue, and
- Falling into the dismals upon contrasting my current status with my energy and ease of mobility on pre-stroke trips to the fair.

I am glad to report, though, that my wimpy attitude was dispelled on our way home.

Home for 27 days in 2011

Shortly after we left the fair, we passed the Singing River Hospital. After seven days in the Ocean Springs Hospital ICU following a hemorrhagic stroke, I was transferred to the rehab center on the fourth floor of Singing River. It was my home for 27 days.

A happy memory of that time was our Georgia tribe visiting me in rehab. All four grands and their parents escorted me on my first time outside since I had arrived at the rehab center.

Son Walt pushed my wheelchair down the hospital drive and through a parking lot. He avoided stairs to a wooden bridge that spanned the small lake in front of the hospital. He wheeled me to the other side to join his family on the bridge in an exhilarating outdoor break from my clinical environment.

It’s been more than two years since that wheelchair ride. At that point in rehab I had yet to take a single step, with or without help. 

The deficiencies on my left side remain severe. But now I am mostly walking, sometimes with a hiking stick, often with Hubby lending a hand or arm for me to touch for increased balance.

We often use a lightweight transporter for museums, amusement parks, Mardi Gras parades and other venues that involve crowds and long distances with few or no convenient spots for me to sit and rest.

Yes, there were moments of frustration at the fair. But there were more—many more—reasons to be thankful.  At the end of the day I appreciated that I had made fair progress indeed.


  1. Glad you had a chance to get to the fair. I love the excitement. It is amazing when you look back, you do realize you are improving, little by little. Patience in not my strong point either. But what's one to do.

  2. I am glad you have such a positive outlook on life. Your family's love and support certainly add to your sense of well being. Kudos to them and to you!

  3. I am glad you have such a positive outlook on life. Your family's love and support certainly add to your sense of well being. Kudos to them and to you!

  4. You are very blessed to have come so far! I'm sure each day is a gift and it's good that you focus on the positive rather than the negative.

  5. i can't believe it has been two years. you have come a long way baby... i would love all your things you loved

  6. Life's ups and downs...like a roller coaster. Sometimes I want to rest from them a while. Dianne

  7. Oh my goodness.
    I can't believe it's been 2 years.
    You my dear are definitely making progress both physically and in your attitude.
    Being thankful and positive does more for your heart and soul than anything.
    You are such an encouragement to me.
    I would so love to sit and have tea and a goodie with you. Think we would gab till the cows came home.