Monday, July 22, 2013

I didn't realize I still had draft posts. Oh well, I haven't looked at this thing in ages, and why?

December 14, 2011, I had a venal right parietal ischemic attack. That's right ladies and gentlemen, less than two weeks after finally getting a job I had a stroke! right in the middle of dress rehearsal for a Christmas handbell concert. One minute I'm a little dizzy and the next my left arm won't work right and I can't talk.

I had a fun ride to OHSU in an ambulance (2 hours!) spent nearly three days in the ICU, spent quite a bit of time inside the workings of the MRI machine and ended with a sonogram of my heart taken through my esophagus (gag!!).

While the stroke wasn't very debilitating it did have some fun effects. Total loss of energy. confusion. loss of function in my left arm. occasional bouts of stammering and sentences coming out of my mouth all wrong. (I think one word and something else comes out: guitars instead of ladders, dogs instead of pencils) loss of spatial ability (I have a lot of trouble following a drawn plan to set up tables and chairs in a room) and my ability to remember names has been shot all to hell.

I'm doing fine now, but for a long time I could get so confused and carrying a sack of groceries would wear me out. I still don't remember names and faces. Three people said hello to me today and I have no idea who they are. Most days I sound coherent, but every so often I have An Attack of the Aphasics (duh duh duuuh) and say something weird. I still can't do a Sudoku puzzle because of the need to arrange numbers spatially. I can play handbells four-in-hand (two bells in each hand) but it is harder now. I confuse which hand is which.

I can work. I still have my secretary job at the church and two months after the stroke I took another part time job doing bookkeeping for a local non-profit. I can certainly continue to pet sit (speaking of which, my cat is snoring!)

The big problem now is keeping ahead of the occasional bouts of fear that I'll have another one. I'm supposed to avoid any serious stress or strain (no high-stress jobs, high drama relationships, iron man triatholons, no competitive weight lifting) I have to keep calm. Or at least try to keep calm. Reasonably calm. Calmish? This could be bad.

I'm still here.

I keep expecting this thing to disappear because I never seem to use it. but here it is! still accepting my password and letting me write things for whatever reason.
What's up? not much. After 19 months of unemployment I have a job, part time but work nonetheless.
Health? going to hell in a handbasket. My psoriasis has been making me miserable for two months now. Going to see my derm in two weeks.
I've also been having this fun problems with my vision. They are called ocular migraines. It's basically all the visual symptoms of a migraine but without the following knock yo ass down headache. I've been having them every day, sometimes two a day for a week or more so my doctor had me go in for a CT scan. Now anyone who says my head is empty or that I have no brain or I am an airhead can be refuted with empirical evidence. There is a picture of my brain.

Your burning bush

What would you do if you found yourself called by God to do something drastic? Free thousands of people, start a new country, stand before a crowd and say things that will get you tortured and killed badly. Leave everything of your own life behind. Watch children die. Be the one to announce their death is coming. Be hungry, cold, poor, homeless, forced to rely solely and completely on God to provide food and shelter. Watch the skies and trust the crow or manna will come again tommorrow. How would you do? Would you dive in like Samuel or try to run like Jonah? Make excuses like Moses? Even Christ pleaded to be excused from what was asked of him. What about you?

It's an idea that frightens me. I want a quiet and safe little life with a small house, a couple of pets, a small circle of family and friends. I want three meals a day and a hot shower, clean clothes, cold Pepsi, central heating, indoor plumbing and internet. The only kind of calling I want to hear is the easily answered kind: "I've always known I was meant to . . . .(be a doctor, fly airplanes, design bridesmaid dresses). While I would love to see an angel, I don't want it giving me any instructions.

Now I'm not talking about going to another country for a few years to build schools or help the sick or save the rainforest. I'm talking about being sent to do something dangerous and complete, something irrevocable like Paul turning from Christian hater to pillar of the church.