It has been 5 years since I had a pretty serious stroke. I have been providing annual updates which may assist others.
I feel like I have reached the end of my improvement which leaves me around 60+% normal functionality. I continue to walk about 45 min. daily (with someone by my side) and go to the gym 5 times a week but my balance is still a problem and my right side remains partially paralyzed. The atrophy in my right leg and arm ( I am - was right handed) has wasted away much of the muscle required to walk normal and use my right hand. Still, everything else seems to be working so I can’t complain. I have to take meds for the rest of my life and I watch what I eat and drink. My advice to others is get a blood test and check your blood pressure. A stroke is catastrophic and changes your life forever. And if do survive a stroke, do not give up, life is still good,
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- Thread: 5 Yr. Stroke Update
- Thread: Not all dome and gloom
I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked… “Just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.
There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she asked. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness. “It’s nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.”
“Oh, you’re such a good boy,” she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”
“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly…
“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left,” she continued in a soft voice… “The doctor says I don’t have very long.”
I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.
“What route would you like me to take?” I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.
We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.
Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.
Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.They must have been expecting her.
I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
“How much do I owe you?” She asked, reaching into her purse.
“Nothing,” I said
“You have to make a living,” she answered.
“There are other passengers,” I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”
I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life…
I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.
We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.
But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.
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- Thread: 7 Year Post Stroke Update
I missed posting last year (1st 5 yr updates are on the forum) so this is a 7 yr update since I had a bad stroke.
So my status hasn’t changed much the last two years, the Covid quarantine not withstanding. My right side is partially paralyzed, my left side numb; the numbness switches over to the right side half way up my body. I have never asked my neurologist to explain this. My balance and control switch in my brain is damaged so I need someone holding onto my right side while I do a funky walk - the right leg sometimes gives out and I have fallen on concrete even with someone holding me. I go to the gym 5-6 times every week (except when hard lockdown and gym closed). I can only do very light weights (dumbbells and machines) but at this age and condition I am only interested in keeping as strong as I can and the blood flowing to all the muscle groups. I walk 2-3 km up and down the paved road by my house daily at 5pm. I am only so-so watching my diet and eating mostly chicken and pasta (salmon when I can get it), a steak once a week, and red wine at night. Sleep apnea is a problem and I am waiting for the VA to address that when they reopen. I have a 90% VA disability and a 25% California disability rating, mostly for other issues. I am able to rise above my limitations thanks to my extended family. My wife tells me I am a better person now than the cocky former marine I was 10 yrs ago.
So, still above ground, thankful for that. Stay safe, get medical checkups, I didn’t.
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- Thread: German Swastika???
Oh, those are BUDDHIST swastikas, not Nazi. Those round stone things are monuments of Buddhist drums, common throughout East Asia; that face is of Bodhidharma, founder of "Zen" Buddhism some 1500 years ago; his image is often used as a folkish good-luck charm. See my own page: http://www.san-shin.org/China-Songshan-Bodhidharma.html The Mall-owner must be a Buddhist with Chinese roots.
Swastikas were invented 3000 years ago in Persia, for Zoroastrianism (represents the Sun, as the Good God). Became a symbol in Indian Hindu arts, then a key symbol of Buddhism as that became a missionary religion about 250 BCE. German Nazis mis-appropriated it while claiming that the "Aryan Race" was originally from Persia / North India/Pakistan -- but theirs is shown backwards, rotating counter-clockwise. The holy ones, as above, are rotating clockwise.
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Only since quarantine have I spent much time on this forum, and I have been astonished how much moaning, whinging, bickering, point-scoring, boasting, and one-upmanship there is here. I am assuming (and hoping) that this is due to the strains of the current situation, but I do find it rather disappointing and depressing.
Anyway, to balance the scales somewhat, I thought I would start a thread where we can share positive thoughts about why life is great here.
If you have any negative comments, snarky comments, or want to prove to everyone how intellectual you are, be a good fellow and click on another thread please.
I have lived more than half my adult life in Asia (many different countries and cities in Philippines), and I think Dumaguete is my favourite. Here's some of the reasons I love it here:
- Almost every time I am out on my scooter I ride around with a big smile on my face because of the natural beauty, clean air, sunshine, trees and flowers, and general relaxed feel.
- Almost every time I go shopping for anything or pay for services, no matter what they may be, I think to myself "wow, it's cheap here".
- I never get the feeling I'm being outrageously ripped-off.
- The sun seems to be shining almost all the time!
- The ocean is on our doorstep.
- Outside downtown there is hardly any traffic or noise.
- Nobody seems to care how you dress or what labels you have.
- When I smile, make conversation with a local, make a joke or flirt a little, I ALWAYS get a positive response.
- It's the most easy going place I have lived in Asia.
- I can get almost any type of food or drink that I want here at very reasonable prices.
- Everyone understands at least some English.
- And perhaps most importantly of all, local people make me feel welcome and happy that I am here!
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- Thread: The End of Call Centers
This one will be interesting. As technology reduces the need for @ss in seats, call center jobs are going to get hit hard. Call centers are one of the few industries (like manufacturing) which can employ a large number of people to handle relatively simple jobs.
The article describes how people can adapt, but it's describing a specialization which can only work for fewer number of workers. This is how tech reduces jobs. People have to adapt and move higher up the skills ladder. They have to figure out how to spot opportunities which are up for grabs in the changing landscape. Unfortunately, this is difficult for most people to do. Just look at the businesses lined up along any street here, they are all the same.
While the Philippines might be able to adapt by throwing more technology at the problem. This will only further inequality. Money may still trickle in, but that money will employ less people. As China becomes less viable for manufacturing because of rising wages and other factors, the Philippines may grab some of those jobs. But tech is set to destroy manufacturing jobs as well.
In other threads we have talked about why the Philippines should be open to expats. This is a good reason why. The Philippines needs a consumer class to generate domestic demand and move past exporting cheap labor. While expats may not have much money, they are still a consumer class. They still generate demand for goods and services which the bottom can't afford. Expats aren't looking for handouts and social benefits. Maybe the Philippines should make our stay here easier.
Tricky times ahead for everyone, especially the Philippines.
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- Thread: Nothing but Bad News
To stay in line with this thread I have a new story.
A good American friend travels back and forth by boat and buss to Cebu at least once per month. A few days ago he was loaded down with bags of stuff and heavy tools, after he arrived at the Sibulan port he realized he lost his wallet on the fast craft, frantically he forced his way back on the boat loaded and ready for departure in a panicked state. Not one person would raise their head because of his panicked loud voice and body movements.
The next day on his return he heard a lady's voice calling Sir Sir! As he turned around she came running up with a plastic bag with his wallet (she recognized him from his drivers license pic), everything including his cash was there!!! His heart almost stopped.... She said a young man had found it and was too shy to speak up, but turned it in to the boat crew and went on his way.
Although, I just lost my cell phone through an unknown hole in my pocket and it hasn't come back, I also have had several positive situations dealing with very honest people.....
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- Thread: Cats and Dogs Vets
- Thread: Stroke Update 8 Yrs
This week bas been 8 yrs since my stroke. Sadly, a friend here, Mo Liddy, passed away from a stroke a couple days ago, so I am blessed, in spite of my disabilities, to enjoy an 11 yr old marriage to my wife and best friend and a son who turns ten Tuesday.
And a big shout out to brother-in-law who has been my helper, driver, and friend all 8 years.
So once again, I offer experienced advice to get physical check ups, take your meds, avoid stress, and exercise. Stay safe.
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T'was a month before Christmas,
And all through the town,
People wore masks,
That covered their frown.
The frown had begun
Way back in the Spring,
When a global pandemic
They called it corona,
But unlike the beer,
It didn’t bring good times,
It didn’t bring cheer.
Airplanes were grounded,
Travel was banned.
Borders were closed
Across air, sea and land.
As the world entered lockdown
To flatten the curve,
The economy halted,
And folks lost their nerve.
From March to July
We rode the first wave,
People stayed home,
They tried to behave.
When summer emerged
The lockdown was lifted.
But away from caution,
Many folks drifted.
Now it’s November
And cases are spiking,
Wave two has arrived,
Much to our disliking.
It’s true that this year
Has had sadness a plenty,
We’ll never forget
The year 2020.
And just ‘round the corner -
The holiday season,
But why be merry?
Is there even one reason?
To decorate the house
And put up the tree,
Who will see it,
No one but me.
But outside my window
The snow gently falls,
And I think to myself,
Let’s deck the halls!
So, I gather the ribbon,
The garland and bows,
As I play those old carols,
My happiness grows.
Christmas is not cancelled
And neither is hope.
If we lean on each other,
I know we can cope
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