Sunday, January 28, 2018

January Health Scare

New Year’s Resolutions

I don’t make resolutions, because I know I won’t keep them, but I do try to evaluate the habits I have that keep me from living life the way I want to live it.  At the beginning of a new year, I think of getting up earlier, being more productive with my time, writing more, losing weight, exercising.  I doubt I’m any different than anyone else.  I just hope to look at the new year through new eyes so I can gain a new perspective. (In the photo below, I am using 2018 glasses as a headband.)   

I had such hopes for the first of year.  I was for sure going to get back to blogging.  I have truly missed it.  I knew the only way I would get back to blogging by reading, commenting, and writing again would be if I made some changes to my daily schedule.  I would have to stop settling in my chair with a cup of coffee, my iPad, and checking out Facebook, and my new time waster,  Instagram.  Honestly, I have wasted, yes wasted, way too much time with this kind of start to the day.

I read two newspapers before I get going, so by the time I even think of getting up out of that favorite chair to make my breakfast, the morning has been whittled away to nothing.

Yes, I resolved, this year, I was going to get up early and get going with being productive in 2018.

On the January 1, 2018, we didn’t get up early because we had been out celebrating too late.  We aren’t kids anymore, so staying up partying until way after midnight means that we start the new year by sleeping in.

The night before on New Year’s Eve, we spent a wonderful night celebrating with my cousin and her husband at their beautiful home.  They have a group of friends from high school days that they celebrate with, so we were happy they invited us to join them.  I said we were the chaperones since these “kids” are half a decade younger.  We had so much fun.  The party was a great success.  Our host cooked a marvelous meal.  After eating, we watched the fireworks that were set off from the top of Pikes Peak, then we drank a bit of champaign, sang Auld Lang Syne, toasted each other and the new year, took a few more photos, and then headed home.

We had plans for the first day of the year that included taking down Christmas.  Jim and I decided that the tree would stay up another day because we were too tired to take it down on January 1st.  In fact, we didn’t take down any of the Christmas decorations.  We would do that the next day, on January 2.

Early in the morning on the second day of January 2018, my husband woke me out of a deep sleep by calling my name in a voice that startled me.  When I was finally able to respond, he said, “I don’t feel well at all.  I’m sweating.  At times I’m hot, then I’m cold, and I am really dizzy.”  I was immediately out of bed and standing next to him at his side of the bed.  Indeed, he was sweating.  He was in a cold sweat.  In fact, his forehead was very clammy.  I asked what he was experiencing, and was told he’d been like this for at least 45 minutes.  He said he’d gotten up and made his way to the bathroom but barely made his way back because he was so dizzy.  

I ran for the blood pressure cuff and took his blood pressure.  It was extremely low.  I asked what he wanted me to do, or I guess I actually gave him two choices: did he want to go to the hospital by car or by ambulance.  I asked about other symptoms while I quickly threw on clothes and shoes.  He said he wanted me to drive him to the hospital and said he had no other symptoms.  (He actually kept a few important facts from me because I think he knew I would have called an ambulance had I’d known all his symptoms.)  His dizziness made it difficult for us to make to the car, but we made it.  The nearest hospital is only ten minutes away, so I wasn’t too concerned as I made my drive, but honestly, I kept wishing I’d called an ambulance.

Once in the ER, he told the nurses that he had numbness in his left arm and left foot.  He also had chest pain.  That is when all the tests began as they tried to find out what was going on with him.  

The hospital near us is a new one, and the hospital and the staff are wonderful.  We had help immediately.  He had a CT scan, EKG, and blood work done in less than an hour.  All tests came back looking good, but Jim continued to be dizzy, and he continued to have severe numbness on his left side.  

He slept from the time I got him there around 7:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.  After speaking with specialist at the University affiliated hospital across town, it was determined that Jim would be transported to that hospital for further testing and observation.  It was suspected that he had experienced a TIA (transient ischemic attack).  

After nearly twelve hours in the emergency room of the original hospital where I had taken him, he was transported to Main by ambulance.  I was skeptical that anything would happen that night in the way of talking to a neurologist or of having tests.  I could not have been more wrong.  

Jim was admitted to a room in a new wing of the hospital devoted only to stroke victims.  On the very day that this new Comprehensive Stroke Center for southern Colorado was announced in the news, Jim became one of its patients.  We could not have been more impressed.  He was barely in his room when he was visited by the neurologist who already had been speaking with the ER doctor and had seen his tests from the ER.  Soon, a hospitalist was at his bedside also.  That night Jim had three MRIs and was constantly monitored while also being evaluated for stroke symptoms continually.  He was also given many tests for his heart.  

Thankfully, all tests came back not showing a stroke, and his heart also checked out well.  (Jim had a heart attack when his LAD was 95% blocked in 2011.)(click the highlighted area to read about this event) As a result of all of the testing and his symptoms, it was determined that Jim most likely did have a TIA.  The first twenty-four hours after such an event are the most dangerous, so he was monitored until late in the day of January 3, then after making a few changes in his medicine, he was discharged, and we went home with grateful hearts because it all could have been so much worse.  

I did not expect to begin 2018 with a medical scare.  We both have had a big wake-up call when it comes to listening to our bodies.  A word of caution to us all:  If it seems things are really off, if dizziness is nearly knocking one to the floor, if blood pressure is extremely low, if parts of the body are numb, then get to the hospital, preferably via an ambulance.  Time is of the essence if one is experiencing a stroke.  Also, a TIA is not to be dismissed as a small matter.  Within the first 24 hours after such an event one is at risk of a stroke.  Also, one is more highly at risk of having a stoke after experiencing a TIA.  

We have both resolved to focus on making better choices when it comes to our health.  Jim is working hard on his diet and is losing weight.  I am trying to do the same.  We are trying to eat at home more and eat out less.  We are trying to get to bed a bit earlier.  We are exercising.  Jim is always better at that than I am, but we both are trying to do better in 2018 than we did in 2017.  

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2018 for us both!

Today, we took it easy and rested.  I didn’t want to go to church with all the flu that is out there.  I also felt we just needed to rest up because yesterday I felt like I was fighting off some bug.  Thankfully, today whatever was making me achy and chilled and tired headachy and sick feeling left me.  We went for a nice walk this afternoon.  As we walked, linking my arm through Jim’s, I said, “You know I don’t take this ability to walk together on this crisp January afternoon lightly.  We are so blessed to have each other and to be healthy enough to walk and enjoy life.  That opportunity has been denied so many from our same age group."  We’ve lost friends and acquaintances in the past year to heart attacks, cancer, falls, and other illnesses.  

One thing I know for certain:  we have absolutely no guarantees in life.  Resolutions may be the thing we think we should do at the beginning of the year, but I have decided that for me instead of worrying about how I am spending my time, I’m going to focus on being grateful for the time I have to spend.  I think gratitude is a great informer when it comes to making choices on how to spend time.

Each day is a gift.  Each moment we have to share with each other is a treasure.  If we spend too much time staying up late reading, that is ok.  At least we can still read.  Besides, we love sitting side by side reading late into the night.

If we sit and sip coffee all morning and don’t accomplish anything, that too is ok.  We love our morning routines of chatting, reading the newspaper, and catching up with the world.  

If Jim has to hustle off to work, I try to hustle off to do something productive while he is gone.  I’m grateful he can still work and that he loves his work so much.  

On our way home from our walk today, we changed up the route a bit.  It threw Boston off his game.  He is used to our same routine and route.  As we approached our home, he threw us off a bit too when he suddenly jumped up on a bench in our neighbor’s yard.  He used to love to jump up on walls and benches as a pup.  Today, I guess he felt young at heart and just had to jump up on that once favorite bench of his like he did when he was younger.  Or maybe, he just wanted to have a closer adoring look at his master.  Maybe he too was grateful for walk on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in January and he just want to make sure his master knew it.  These two love each other.  This photo is priceless.

Life truly is best lived in the moment.  Treasure each one you have with your loved ones.  Let them know it by giving them one of those adoring looks when you gaze in each other’s eyes. Or, you might just want to kick up your heels and do what you used to love to do when you were younger.  Moments like these are something to bark about.  


  1. Life can turn on a dime. What a scary way to start a new year,but sometimes our bodies are just trying to give us a huge wake-up call. Take good care. Your blog friends are here and keeping you in our prayers in whatever form that may take.

  2. I'm so glad your dear husband is ok! That must have been quite a scare. I love your outlook on life. I take nothing for granted.

  3. What a fright and fortunately some fortuitous actions gave you back a sound husband. That the new stroke center was up and functioning was a brilliant piece of luck. So glad you are back and doing so well. Loved the picture of Jim and Boston. Keep doing all the right things.

  4. Hallo Sally. Gosh, what a scary start you had to the new year.. I’m so glad that Jim is okay. I know how worried you must have been, and how much love you have for him.. I agree with you - I don’t put pressure on myself any more. At the age now of 70, I think I’ve earned the right to spend a day doing what I enjoy doing. If I’m not meeting anyone in the morning, it’s a real treat to just take my time getting ready. Checking Facebook, playing Words with Friends or Scrabble. I enjoy walking and I try to eat as healthily as I can, whilst not denying myself the odd treat! Life is, indeed, very precious. I too have lost friends far too young, and I truly do feel blessed that I’m still here and I appreciate each and every day.

  5. This sounds like quite a scare, Sally, and I'm relieved to hear that in the end Jim was OK and is taking care to improve his diet and exercise regime.
    That new stroke center sounds fabulous --good to have quality care so close to home!

  6. Each day is a gift not to be taken lightly. Glad you recognized the severity of Jim's condition and took action.

  7. What a joy to read your positive outcome to such a daunting situation. And outlining your appreciating-the-moments strategy is such an encouragement for me tp continue enjoying--guilt-free--the going, doing, but mostly the just "being" moments with Hubby. All the best to you and your dear husband.

  8. Omg, Sally, this must have been so frightening! I'm glad you both came through it safely. Best wishes with the diet and exercise. I'm trying to do both, with more success on the former than the latter. It's very simple: No red meat, alcohol, sugar, fruit, caffeine, grains, dairy, or non organically grown food, plus two liters of water and 1ledges of $1-5 per pound lost, which adds to the incentive and makes it kind of fun. Now, to figure out how to exercise enough with a knee that won't be replaced until March 19, then the recovery and therapy. Water aerobics help when we can get to the YWC lb. of veggies/day, half cooked and half raw.

    Actually, I have felt very good and never hungry. It's a lifestyle change more than fast weight loss, but clean, with no junk. My daughters, who have all been "eating healthy" for a long time, are a big help and great support. As a sideline, 3 friends and I are doing it as a fundraiser for a volunteer organization we all belong to. We got pledges for $1-5/lb. lost, which makes it kind of fun. Now, to figure out how to get enough exercise with a knee due for replacement on March 19, then the recovery and therapy period. Water aerobics at the YWCA in their warm pool are very pleasant about twice a week, but I need more.

    Best of luck with your writing goals and a belated Happy New Year!

  9. You are fortunate Jim had such wonderful medical care. Glad to hear both of you are now well and enjoying - and appreciating - life.

  10. This was a good message for me right now. I have been restless, what with all of the rain, and the fact that my hip is not recovering fast enough from my fall a week and a half ago. I am limited in how much I can walk, which has me fretting about long term loss of mobility. So it's time to get out of this chair, go do my exercises, and be grateful for what I can do.
    Thank you for an inspiring post, and I am very glad that you both escaped that latest health scare.

  11. Wow, that was quite an adventure! I’m glad he came through it so well. I agree that a practice of gratitude is a great way to find happiness. And like you, I am feeling that taking time to read and ease into the day is not a waste of time, it’s an appropriate part of my life at this stage.

  12. glad your story had a happy ending...we do take each day for granted

  13. Such a scare for you and Jim! You bring up so many good points in your post. Sometimes, we forget to feel grateful for the love and abundance that surrounds us. Then, we suddenly get a wake up call. Glad you’re getting out in the CO sunshine. Sometimes, I don’t feel like exercising, but I force myself out the door and always come back energized. Bob and I also read side by side into the night. I think we're getting rid of cable tv this spring. We barely watch it anymore. Stay well!

  14. Glad that Jim is okay! We didn't make resolutions, but we packed our bikes with us and have been riding. Living in a trailer is forcing us to make healthier food choices...not much room for junk food and we've limited restaurant dining. Once we are out of our normal routine it is easier to establish healthier ones!

  15. So glad it worked out ok in the end.

  16. So scary, Sally. I’ve been in LA this past weekend for the funeral of my best girlfriend’s husband. John fell backwards when going up a few steps to their home while carrying two bags of groceries. That moment was life changing. He sustained devastating head trauma leading to partial paralysis and dementia for nine years. His heart finally gave out recently. But that one moment changed everything. At this stage of life — you’re so right — it’s all so fragile. I’m so glad that Jim is feeling better and enjoying each moment!

  17. Oh, poor Jim and poor you! Not the best start to the new year, but I'm so glad it turned out not to be anything more serious. I still have vivid memories of DH's minor stroke 4 years ago and how glad we are he is completely well again. Take care and enjoy the sunshine.

  18. Woooo---what a scary thing to go through.... I had wondered about Jim the past year or so since he had looked like he had gained a lot of weight in his middle. That's the worst thing for me.. My Daddy was a little man --but as he got older, hus tummy area expanded.... I was always worried about him since I had read that carrying the extra weight in the middle was more dangerous for men... Glad Jim is okay.... Good wake-up call for him...

    Getting old is not for sissies... Both George and I have had our share of 'minor' health issues --and it's so frustrating since we have tried SO hard to stay healthy and active. Tain't fun!!!!!

    Glad both of you are doing better --and I love your attitude toward life and becoming as healthy as possible.... That's what we try to do also...


  19. Sally, I am so grateful you acted quickly and that in the end things are -- well, mostly all right. A TIA is never good but it sure beats the alternatives. You are so right about taking bodies seriously, anytime, but especially as we age. So many times we don't want to be a bother. Well, being a bother beats the alternatives, too.

    I'm glad both of you are feeling better. I know what you mean about that evaluation and appreciation of life. When I've had challenges and scares that is the thing that sticks with me most. You must have been so frightened. Sending hugs across the miles and wishes for continued healing.

  20. OH MY GOSH, Sally! That was a horrible scare. I'm surprised you were able to drive. Thank goodness it turned out OK. You are a quick thinker. And yes, you're right, everyday is a gift we should be aware of and cherish. Have a wonderful week.

  21. That is the best possible outcome from that scare. And I’m so glad to hear that the two of you are now doing so well. I like routine too, so I could relate to Boston being thrown off. Great picture! :-)

  22. I think this is your best post yet! Nice to hear you appreciating the small everyday joys of life.


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