Thank You Moen

January 28, 2011

For standing behind your products with your lifetime warranty. The transfer bench has been a necessity for us.


One of the unfortunate conditions a stroke survivor contends with is pain.  Lety will often describe pain in her lower left leg on which she wears an AFO.  This device is absolutely essential to her for standing, walking and transferring.  Today we paid a visit to an orthotics vendor who initially fitted the AFO.  We found the fit grew extremely tight due to some edema in her ankle.   The technician adjusted the AFO to allow for a little more room.  This was helpful to Lety and allowed her to tolerate wearing this device for longer periods of time.

This is what you get when you walk away from the computer and the cat has something to blog…lol.  My commentary here is that a nice bond has formed between Lety and my cat named Brit.  To my knowledge my mother was never crazy about cats but these two spend alot of time together.  She likes that he likes her but I think she likes him more than she lets on.

Brain Stem

June 1, 2010


It’s the casual conversations that trigger old memories.  I was admiring this piece call “iron man” from Minneapolis based artist Frank Haenel as he was explaining the brainstem which was removed for the finished piece but can be seen here prior to completion.  The term herniated brain stem was as foreign to me as could be some three years ago.  This was a situation my mother was facing just a couple of days into the ICU when everything seemed so dire.  The wide halls of the unit on the second floor seemed lightly staffed in the evenings when I would make my second or third trips to the hospital for the day.   The lighting and the noise seemed eerily subdued. I can’t say how many patients were in the horse shoe shaped corridors but my only concern was for my Mom.  Lety was just taken off life support from the emergency room and was breathing on her own.  The medical staffed wanted to re-intabate her again as a precaution but dreadfully warned me that they may not be able to remove the tubes after that point if my mother did not start to recover.  My mother long ago had expressed to me that no extreme life extension measures should be taken and that she would not want to be on life support.  The neurologist on duty explained they would be able to apply a solution into her to see if that would reduce the swelling in the brain.  This stroke was not that long after Terry Shiavo’s ordeal so this decision resonated well within me.  It was time to wait and see.  Nurses would come in and check the pupil of her eyes.  I was so shocked to see how dilated they were.  It seemed every few hours they were getting bigger and bigger as the brain was pushing against the back of her eyes.  A swollen brain has no place to go within the confines of a skull.  She was not a candidate for a procedure where a small piece of skull is removed to ease the pressure I was told.  By the next morning her pupils appeared to retreat and after a slow lingering pace she seemingly cleared that hurdle…for now

Respite Care

May 27, 2010


It’s very important for the primary caregiver or family member to take some time off. I am off to enjoy the Memorial Weekend in Minneapolis. Planning this excursion involved some thought. Not just my personal itinerary but for the home health aide.  I found its very important to keep a running list of daily instructions and activities not just for myself but for anyone filling in.  No detail is too small.  I will leave the list from here to expand at another time.  Honestly its a work in progress.  You realize this when you try to explain what a typical day is like caring for a stroke survivor to someone.  Like trying to condense a daily routine into a one hour crash course.

Family Guy has stroke

May 24, 2010

Family Guy episode McStroke:

This episode was about strokes after Peter Griffin ate 30 hamburgers and had a stroke. The humor is pretty brutal but based in truth. If this is the first exposure people have then it’s a start.   Awareness is the key.  Prevention is one of the answers.

Walking to the pool

May 19, 2010

Indoor pools on a hot day in particular always feel steamier.  The automatic door holds just long enough to require a second press of the large handicap door opener.  I don’t know if there is a standard amount of time handicap doors stay open but it can reveal the sunken pace of  a person who has essentially relearned how to walk again. 

Walking to the car, from the car, in the building , through the door, into the room, to the chair…Walking.  What a deliberate series of actions and movements it takes to walk.  When done in a much slower motion, watching the sequence of movements gives me time to think about it. When my mother had her stroke, her walking again seemed so far off… the seriousness of her condition had everyone worried about survival.  The walking would come much later.