Monday, June 27, 2022

What Has Not Changed

Today I spent some time catching up on comments on my blog. Although recently I had been having trouble getting my comments to post, today after I had published a blog post, I found navigating comments seemed to be working better.

If I haven't commented on your posts today, I hope to soon.

One thing hasn't changed since 2011. Your comments now, the same as when I returned to posting after the hemorrhagic stroke, lift me up and help me count my blessings instead of moaning and complaining.

Know that especially with COVID restrictions these opportunities to read of the joys, challenges, hard things you are experiencing or humorous thoughts and experiences you post about, your sharing is a blessing. Thank you, thank you!


Living with COVID

My last post included my COVID diagnosis. Yesterday, a week after my diagnosis, Hubby contacted his brother who had offered us a couple of extra test kits he had.

Off we went to collect the kits that were in a bag waiting for us on his brother's door steps. He waved bye to us from a living room window. We headed home on a roundabout "get-out-of-the-house drive for sanity" on rural roads. 

Fridays and Sundays are usually pizza days with Hubby preparing homemade pepperoni pizza. I was glad the COVID tests stayed in the bag. But he wasn't busy with making pizza, either.

At a loud knock, Hubby disappeared and came back inside with a large pepperoni pizza and salad from Marco's Pizza.

Hubby had orchestrated the much appreciated treat for our supper. Unknown to me he had ordered online, checking the "no contact" box. I had not noticed that he had gone outside and put a chair on the landing on which to place the pizza and salad.

The young delivery guy left the pizza and salad, and heading to his vehicle, shouted back at my husband as he stepped outside, "I like your house!"

We like our house, too. His words were lagniappe to an already happy surprise!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow, including pizza. Thank you, Lord!



Sunday, June 26, 2022


About two weeks ago I woke up one morning experiencing difficulty breathing. While Hubby called a walk-in clinic to be sure they could see me quickly, I changed into more appropriate attire.  

They hustled me in where a young nurse practitioner saw me. My difficulty breathing had eased some and she sent us away with a couple prescriptions.

Less than a week later breathing difficulties struck again. Hubby hustled me into our van, bed head, scruffy PJs and all and headed to our local hospital's emergency room. About four minutes into our drive, I was breathing okay and just wanted to go home.

Hubby said to consider our drive a trial run to see how long it would take to get to the hospital. It took us five minutes.

"If it happens again, we are not stopping. We're going into the emergency room." 

Less than a week later that's what we did. The techs and nurses were wonderful and very helpful and willing to listen to Hubby's explanations of my disabilities from my 2011 hemorrhagic stroke. 

At the end of an almost three-hour visit, the physician's diagnosis: COVID. 

I left with a tickled funny bone, recalling that all those wonderful helpful folks, from clerical staff, to techs, RNs and the physician all looked like teenagers.

Four days later Hubby and I went through the drive-through of a local pharmacy that offered drive-through COVID testing. No surprise that he tested positive since he is careful never to leave me by myself since my breathing difficulties.

We are also missing church. I'm thankful we could watch on Hubby's computer on-line, complete with the choir special. And I got to croak along with the hymns with all the words for each verse appearing below the visual of the sanctuary.

It wasn't the first time I've experienced a church service wearing my pajamas, but this Sunday was a special blessing with liberal doses of humor and cautions about choosing to follow the written Word, the Bible's directions for Godly living, and to believe in and worship the living Word, Jesus Christ.

May joy in Him fill your week!



Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Wisdom on Love

You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love. The running across fields into your lover's arms can only come later when you're sure they won't laugh if you trip.

Jonathan Carroll

I borrowed the quotation above from Ginny's Monday, June 13, 2022, post on her blog Let Your Light Shine.

Thanks, Ginny for my first belly laugh of the day!

The second was from Hubby's joke complete with facial contortions that had me laughing out loud in the coffee shop were we visiting.


Tuesday, June 7, 2022


A life-threatening hemorrhagic stroke on Good Friday 2011 changed the lives of my husband and me forever. 

After a week in intensive care, I was transported by the hospital's bus to a comprehensive in-patient rehab center. 

The Comprehensive Rehab Center occupying the entire fourth floor of Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula, Mississippi, was my home for the next four weeks.

I arrived on a Friday afternoon and aides and nurses settled me into a standard hospital room.

A team of occupational, physical and speech therapists were scheduled to launch an intensive rehab campaign the following Monday, but the occupational therapist assigned to me rearranged her schedule to meet with me on that Saturday, her day off. 

She started immediately introducing me to my new reality. That introduction began with practicing how to execute a potty visit without falling and doing any further damage to brain or body.

The following Monday I met my team of therapists. That began my sessions where they pushed me and bullied me into attempting to move my affected body parts that were not working at all or barely working. 

They were a God-given blessing and phenomenal rehab professionals. 

During my four weeks with them, they helped strengthen the parts of my anatomy that still functioned. They also worked to induce the healthy parts of my brain to take over the damaged part and ignite movement and speech.

Those ladies and gents joked with me, made good-natured fun of me, and kept me laughing. They also tracked down a rental wheel chair that was narrow enough for my then skinny behind. 

That wheel chair was a happy spirit booster. When not in sessions with the various rehab teams, I scooted around in the wheel chair, pushing with my functional right foot. It was my magic carpet of freedom to explore and visit with other patients.

Eventually the physician in charge found out I was also trying to count calories. He gently but firmly lowered the boom! 

"You need enormous amounts of energy to succeed in rehab. This is your opportunity to eat everything and as much as you want to."

So I did! 

All of the rehab patients had meals together in the dining room.
At each meal a couple of techs went around checking and recording the percentage of how much each patient ate. It eventually dawned on me that they were not checking my consumption. 

"Why are you not checking my plate, too?" I asked once I realized I was being skipped. 

"Because we know you eat 100% of everything on your plate every time."

Well, that would have embarrassed pre-stroke Linda. Post-stroke Linda laughed until she cried. Everybody else at the table laughed, too. After that if somebody didn't like something or just couldn't eat another bite, they offered the leftovers and I accepted.

The doctor was right about burning calories in rehab. No weight gain at all!  

The one thing the therapists and physician would not let me do was to back away from the intimidating challenges that I faced.

Another important gift came from my occupational therapist when I was soon to be discharged. 

The day the hospital's social worker showed up to schedule me for the hospital's out-patient rehab center, my occupational therapist found me and offered some advice. 

She told me to stand firm and insist on going to the rehab program associated with the same hospital system but in my own town. She said the therapists there were especially experienced in working with stroke survivors and had had great outcomes. 

A plus for Hubby and me would be the 10 minute drive to reach the rehab center in our town of Ocean Springs instead of a 30-minute drive to Pascagoula. That also meant less time Hubby missed from work. 

Her advice was good. My first session, I arrived in my rental wheelchair. 

Ashley, my new physical therapist, pronounced with an authority that I dared not question: "Next visit I want to see you walk in that door. No wheel chair." Then she and her technician set to work making sure that I was moving before I left.

That afternoon when I exited rehab to our van, Ashley and two rehab techs were holding on to the heavy-duty gait belt that was to be an essential part of my wardrobe for over a year. No wheel chair. I was walking.

It was not elegant. It was totally terrifying. It was absolutely wonderful! 

Another plus was that after Hubby delivered me to the rehab waiting room, he could make the short drive to our local Walmart. 

For him, shopping wasn't just a necessity for restocking our food supplies. It was entertainment and a brief respite from what was his 24-hour concern for me. 

As rehab helped me master safe ways to move about and take care of myself more and more, his concern eased but it is still evident.

In the years that followed, those professionals were constantly expanding their knowledge, trying out different strategies and developing or discovering different ways to keep me and their other patients moving, doing, and thinking positively. 

They listened when certain exercises caused intense pain. Then they found ways to alleviate the cause, often by getting a fellow therapist with a different set of skills or experiences to work with them on that particular issue.

They also recognized that if I were not to be homebound, there were circumstances when I would need extra help. Soon I had a transporter--a light weight version of a wheelchair. It allowed Hubby or others to push me around when distance, crowds, terrain or other circumstances made attempts to walk difficult or unsafe. 

After about four years of two days-a-week therapy sessions, I was officially released. 

During the following years, my neurologist would occasionally write orders for a "tune-up" when the spasticity in my left arm, hand, leg or foot intensified. 

The twisting and curling up caused by the spasticity would go from uncomfortable to painful and would increase my risk of falls.

The increased intensity of discomfort especially occurred after Hubby and I had been traveling for a week or more. 

Back I would go for two 45-minute sessions a week for one to four weeks. 

These days I continue using at-home exercises and devices that  physical therapist Ashley and occupational therapist Amy prescribed for helping with the condition of my left side nerves and muscles. 

Hand and fingers "stretcher," AKA the claw

Stretching my stroke-affected shoulder muscles

At the end of my last series of tune up visits, Ashley had me practicing some breathing and relaxation exercises on the gym's bed-height therapy mat. 

I do them daily for however long I can endure just lying there spread-eagle on our bed, breathing in to the count of six and out to the count of 10. It's a daily ritual unless we are van camping.

I also attempt to walk a mile or more with my rollator every day to keep everything else moving externally and internally.

With age, challenging changes continue to crop up for both me and Hubby. 

Even so, we have continued traveling and enjoying life, living out our mantra: Go as far as we can as long as we can and give God the glory. 



Thursday, June 2, 2022

Borrowed Quote

I borrowed the quotation below from Ginny's blog Let Your Light Shine

“When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” 

--Corrie Ten Boom

That is great advice. As long as we are alive, there will always be challenges. But with the right "engineer" we can have comfort and even joy when we are in one of life's dark tunnels.

Praise God!