Archive for Monday, May 19, 2014

Musings 0522

May 19, 2014

Important information for those as ignorant as I was regarding how to handle a stroke.

Recently, I had a stroke and I learned a few things formerly unknown to me. Fortunately, I quickly recovered with no apparent damage. I was transported to Lawrence Memorial Hospital by our excellent 911 first responders. They have maneuvered my hill before and are familiar with its difficulties. They encountered no snow or ice or passage blocked by cars. The only difficulty was ME!

I was having trouble with my speech and I figured it was time to GO to the great “beyond.” I refused to permit my neighbor to call 911. She rushed over when I could not make sense on the phone. She kindly calls every morning to check on me. She wanted to call my family. I said,“NO, Why worry them? There is nothing they can do from long distance.” I asked her to leave. She left and called my daughter, Carol, in Texas. Carol asked her to call 911.

I had not heard of a new shot that should be given within three hours of a stroke. Apparently this quick action alleviates all side effects from stroke victims. Later I asked numerous people if they were aware of this shot. The usual answer was they had never heard of the shot and were certainly not aware of a timeframe. I feel it is important to get this information to the general public. Not only could a timely shot restore a life but in addition would prevent hours of costly medical expense for individuals. Also our financially shaky health care system would benefit from lower cost of treatment.

Rosy Olmstead, a nurse who lives in Baldwin, kindly gave me the following information for this column. Stroke is an emergency. Every minute counts. ACT F.A.S.T!

Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

Arms: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech: Is speech slurred? Ask the person to repeat a single sentence. Is the sentence repeated correctly?

Time: If the person shows any of these symptoms CALL 911 Immediately! Hope this information will be quickly disseminated to the public.

I was lucky! My blood pressure was 189-over. I was told by medics I was in imminent danger. I asked them to DNR (do not resuscitate). I told each medic and they agreed. They all are great and know me from previous visits. I did not want to waste away a day, a week, months? We saved money to provide for a handicapped daughter. I do not want to endanger her future by using money to help me linger longer in a doubtful state. “If ya gotta go — GO!" Now I will call 911 — FAST!

Thank you and blessings to all who came to my aid. Baldwin: a wonderful town in which to live. I do hope this message about strokes spreads quickly. Apparently, I and many others were not aware of the above information.

May 26 we celebrate Memorial Day. Long ago we called it Decoration Day. It still is a custom to decorate and tend the family graveyards. Today families move constantly and it is often not possible to “tidy-up” a graveyard.

When I was a child we visited our family graveyard. Later we gathered armloads of iris (we called them flags) and placed them on the life-sized statue to the “unknown soldier” at the court house. Citizens gathered for a brief prayer. Upon conclusion we walked decorously homeward. We always thought we were saluting our Uncle Walden who joined the Navy, age 17 in World War I. He survived. He was very handsome. He and the statue looked identical.

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