Anniversary 

Sunday marks the one year anniversary of the (not my) stroke. My occupational therapist inquired if I was having a party. I don’t imagine it’s an event that warrants celebrating. (Can you see the invite… Come Celebrate at Kim’s One Year Stroke Party. Awkward.) Yeah, we could celebrate the wondrous gift of life, but I do that every day. 

I’m inclined to burn something like missionaries do at their one year mark. That idea makes me recall back to the last scene of Return of the Jedi when they burned Darth Vader. But I don’t want to lay in the fire. So what do I burn in effigy?

There is always the consuming of tasty food to (in some way) celebrate the milestone. (A reason to enjoy yummy things, I’m in!)

Please comment, and give me your opinion. How should I mark the date?

Here’s to one year of looking with new eyes and a renewed appreciation. “Cheers!” or be of good cheer. (I keep reminding myself.)


Above: My last picture before the stroke, with Whitney at the Kelly Pickler concert up at Cherry Peak.

Bloom

Today I was sitting in the courtyard when I noticed three wild turkeys enjoying the flowers with me. I watched them for quite a while and thought, “You guys are seriously out of place!” It made me think of that saying, “Bloom where you’re planted.” Then my brain turned to my personal life circumstances. Who would’ve ever thought I would be residing at Sunshine Terrace (a rest home) or unable to walk, or not utilize my right side, or not care for myself? (I won’t even get started at what I thought my husband and kids could do!)

Man, I am not in the position I assumed I’d be at this time. I feel very out of place. Now I’m not going to start singing the “Live your life to fullest, you just never know” song. (Unless you need to hear it, then there it is.) My train of thought is going to another station.

Even though our feet aren’t planted where we intended to ultimately take root, we must make the most of it while we are on our journey. (I’m just full of idioms today!) We spend our lives wishing for that “Impossible Dream.” It might be in the possible future, but it’s imperative for our happiness to live in the now or the present reality. We might reflect back on this time with fond memories, but we will most probably be glad to be past our current situation. (The fondness level might vary.)

In many cases, we are the master of our reality. We work and act and improve our lives. Then there are those times, (like in my life) when we can’t change our reality even though we desire it greatly. We do possess the power to turn that frown upside down, and make the situation better just by changing our attitude while this season of our life is happening. See the good.

I have chosen to make friends, make fun of myself, and bide my days here as best I can. I try to consider the feelings of others in all I do. (Shouldn’t we always?) I feel like if I can make another’s day lighter, I, too, will have an equally improved day.

Sooner than later I will be home with my family. But for now, I will do my best to show the true colors of my pedals, improve and thrive, and enjoy my time right here in my present. Remember: “It’s good to be alive right about now!”


I took this picture with my nose on my iPad!

Cardio

 I desired to increase my cardio workout, so I requested more exercise after my normal therapy session. (I am a gluten for punishment! See video.) They assist me as I get onto this bicycle-like machine they call a Biodex. It’s more like pushing and pulling with a bike motion.

My goal is 50 RPMs (I tried to convert to MPHs, but there’s all these other factors, such as resistance.) Sometimes I fall below 50 RPMs, but I go in surges. It’s difficult to do that constantly. I’ve done 70! By the end (10-15 minutes,) I am very sweaty. So I must be exerting myself. (Looking for energy donations!)

Foundation

​Our house remodel has finally started! The hoop jumping we had to perform to obtain the necessary signatures was exhaustive. (But it’s all legal now.) I actually see a light at the end of our addition tunnel. We no longer have just a hole in our yard! It’s real. (Thank you so much, Bart Bodily and Geneva Rock!)

Foundation is an important part of any life. We need to be built upon a solid base. Without it, we could easily be swept away with the slightest wind or storm. I am speaking metaphorically. Take a deep inner look inside yourself. What is your foundation? Is it physical or spiritual? Your foundation could be one of many things.

My foundation is rooted in Christ. I know I can always depend on His solid stabilizing support in my life. His teachings and His love hold me up when the gusts and whirlwinds attempt to knock me over. (And they’ve tried!) I have previously decided where to lean when life tries to push me over. So when it tries, I’m ready for it. “Solid, solid as a rock.”


This happened the day after!

Knowledge

Depending on what type of stroke one experiences, some people have much or parts of their brain function affected. The stroke I went through didn’t touch the thought or memory section of my brain. I was foggy for awhile, due to fatigue, but I don’t have any trouble recalling currently. (If you ask my husband, he’d say I am an airhead. But I’ve always acted crazy, however I still finish his sentences!) My speech has deteriorated probably due to the trach and decreased lung output. Therefore, some think I have a cognitive delay. I just can’t articulate what my intended comments in my normal debating, choral, high inflection voice. (My kids probably love my soft speaking!)

Sometimes, I kind of wish I was less cognitive, then I wouldn’t constantly over analyze everything. Life would be much simpler. Sometimes I’m up all night, thinking. I remember how it used to be, and that can be difficult. (But on the whole, I enjoy having my mind.)

Those who help me on a day-to-day basis know I can hold my own, and they run the risk of being called out on something by me. I could totally train CNA’s. (A year at this game really teaches you. I’ve seen really good and incredibly bad service.) I appreciate when things are done correctly. Many times, I will remind them of what they need to be doing! (Hopefully, in a nice way.) I have learned to hold my tongue. When I give too many instructions at once, people get overwhelmed or feel bossed around.

God blessed me with a tender mercy of perfect knowledge, as you can tell. (I love word games and Rummikub.) This concept reminds me of verses 18 and 19 in the Doctrine & Covenants, Section 130. “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” 

I get to keep my knowledge with me! So we can enjoy our best body form (I will be run-ning!) and possess all of our earth-gained knowledge in heaven. It’s the only thing that we can retain with us when we pass on. (Exciting!) I better get to work.

I recall the old attage, “Those who can’t do, teach.” I am pretty certain it wasn’t a compliment (no offense, you wonderful teachers!) but I think that’s where I am right now. I can’t do, so I’m supposed to teach. I possess 48 years of experience and knowledge. I venture to say, I was allowed to keep my knowledge so I can pass it on. (Tag, I’m it!)

Pushing

Lately, I have been working on stability when standing. (See both videos.) I stand in the middle of the room, and they push and pull me to see if I can recover. I always say, “Oh, you’re pushing me around again!” I am convinced that moving my single arm is definitely going to help me. (A hopeless attempt!) The greatest help comes from my toes. (Really! They assist a lot with balancing.) When I hold my hand in the air (raise the roof,) I feel as if I’m being mugged! (I wouldn’t know, I’m just guessing!) 

When they pull me with a band, I often overwhelm them. My left arm has become very strong! Sometimes I pull her. It’s assuring that the therapist is there holding my right arm. I have a safety net if things get out of control! We laugh the entire time, I guess it is pretty funny looking!

​In my normal fashion, I begin thinking deeper about pushing. As the mother of a former and a present teenager, I know pushing (or in other words nagging or forcing) you most definitely will get push-back and obstinance. Things will never go your way. Just like pushing on a screw won’t get it into the hole. But if you slowly, surely twist it in. (Tada!) It’s in the way you intended. Teenage relations require a little more finess than simply twisting, and it totally depends on the kid, too. Whatever you’re dealing with, it almost never works to just push something with all your might. Frustrated pushing rarely yields favorable results. You must stay calm, take a breath, and slowly and with concentration try again. Use ingenuity instead of force. I think that’s true with a lot of things. (Just sayin’!)


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Closure

This weekend I visited the cabin up Ogden canyon where I was staying just prior to the stroke. It was the spot I was last normal. It haunts me like a ghost of life past. I never actually verbalized my inner conflict, because I was trying to remain in denial as long as possible at the time. (Sometimes you gotta use denial for self preservation!) However, the thought was always hovering in the back of my mind, even though I was welcomed with many with open arms.

Certain sights brought back memory vignettes of the days preceding my big change almost a year ago. Picture the ballfield, spotted with family playing softball. (With my mad skills, I got a hit everytime!) There’s the corner of the yard where the night before we watched (an old family favorite) John Wayne movie outside. (Popcorn included.) I recall scrumptious meals as we all gathered together to laugh and associate. And right before, (all those who opted out of river tubing) rambunctiously played cards with the necessary drinks and snacks. All was right with the world. We were encircled by trees and the babbling water. In the company of seldom seen extended family, we shared stories, memories, and experiences. Always laughing, we enjoyed the careless serenity of the crisp outdoors.

This was the scene from a normal life that would soon come crashing down, not just for me, but all associated with me. (Kablam!) 

It’s amazing to think of one event (like a stroke) rippling out to deeply effect so many. It just goes to show you it’s expedient to live your life to the fullest now and every day after. You never know what tomorrow will bring. (Seriously, you just don’t know!) How would I have lived those final normal days? What would I have done to prepare? I feel like I was in the right place, with family.

Here’s my unsolicited, but well-earned advice: Turn off the TV or put down the phone, and give your precious time to the people you love.

The cabin will always hold treasured memories for me. (Sorry, I was responsible for ruining a wonderful family weekend. It certainly wasn’t on purpose.) But instead of dwelling on the sadness this event caused many, I will focus on the good times. I will pull aside the veil of disappointment and desperation, and I will strive to only remember the happiness and joyful times. That’s my goal. (Wish me luck!)