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ON SURVIVING A STROKE. I had gone for my usual morning walk, and after returning home decided to work in the flower beds doing spring cleanup. After working for about 30 minutes I realized I had a bad headache and decided to go inside for a Tylenol. But when I stood my legs were extremely weak. I could barely get out onto the grass and shuffled to get back to the house. Inside I spoke with my husband for a few minutes, then became nauseous. Barely made it to the bathroom before loosing my breakfast. I kept thinking if I could just get to the bed and lie down I would feel better, but couldn’t. My husband took me to the emergency room of our hospital. He drove up to the door, and aide asked if I needed a wheel chair. That’s the last thing I remember until much later when I awoke on a table where they had taken an MRI and discovered I had a brain aneurysm. The ER personnel made arrangements for me to be flown to a medical center some 400 miles south of where we lived. I don’t remember being transported from the hospital to the airport, the flight, or being admitted to the medical center. At the medical center, a neurologist inserted coils into the aneurysm to absorb the blood. They also drilled a small hole in my skull near the aneurysm to drain excess blood. I was on a ventilator for breathing, developed a urinary tract infection and, because of all the antibiotics I was given, later developed C-dif. I was kept in the neuroICU for a month until I stabilized. I was moved to a long term acute care facility to continue recovering. The ventilator was removed but a trach remained. I was fed through a tube into my stomach. The goal at the rehab hospital was for me to get back on regular food and gain some strength. This started by introducing me to pureed food, and slowly more substantial food. Then physical therapy. The therapist who was just a slip of a woman had me sit on the side of my bed and told me to stand on my feet. I told her if I fell I would squash her and myself, and she asked me to trust her, that she could handle me. So I slipped off the bed, my feet hit the floor and she caught me under both arms, steadied me for a moment, then eased me back onto the bed. Within a week they had moved me over to the rehab side of the hospital and I had physical therapy, occupational therapy and problem solving three hours a day, five days a week. I was able to go outside in a wheel chair, then with a walker. At first it was exhausting, but as I grew stronger it became easier. I learned to navigate stairs, sit and stand on my own and, finally, walk with the use of the parallel bars. Have had no lasting problems from the stroke, though my left side (arm, leg) were weaker than the right. After 2 1/2 months I was able to return home.


On writing: I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been interested in writing. Several years ago I inherited family geneology information from both sides of my family and began putting together memoirs on each family member–then I found my interest surging in the writing of fiction, and my memoirs have been put on hold. I have written two books of mystery/suspense and have a third ready to be published. I strive to improve my craft each time I sit down to the computer and would like to be able to write humor as well as John Sanford, discuss philosophical issues as well as Louise Penny and capture romances like Nicholas Sparks. In the meantime, I write . . .