"It's the Seinfeld of the internet. A website about nothing."--Geoff Flynn
"It's BLOG-tastic!"--No one in particular

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More forecasts: 30 days weather Sydney

I'm Too Young To Be Old!
July 3, 2023

In news stories about things like spending habits, home ownership, or cell phone use, they will talk about so-called 'older Americans'. Those are defined as people over 60, and while I am not quite there yet, something happened that accelerated me quite a bit. I spent the past week in the hospital.

Beating around the bush, and burying the lead, I am writing this instead of telling most of you in person. On my discharge notice, it said I was diagnosed with a CVA (cerebrovascular accident): Hypertensive Crisis. The doctors and nurses never used that term, and didn't have to. There's a much easier way to say it. I had a stroke.

That's a very scary sounding word, but fortunately, at least as far as I can understand, it was a little one. I don't think technically there is such a thing, and no one ever said, "Don't worry. It's a little one", but I got off pretty lucky. I have slurred speech right now, and since I work in radio, I'm not going to be on the air for awhile. I was told during the first couple of days that my face looked "a little droopy" (several nurses actually used those exact words), but nobody noticed that by the time they let me go home. Other than that, everything else appears normal. I can use my arms and legs with no issues, and the physical therapists were pretty impressed with all those basic tests they gave me (four times a day, the nurses would ask me my name, if I knew where I was, or what year it is. That got old in a hurry.).

So this is how the whole thing went down, starting Sunday evening. My first alarm goes off after 2am, but I stayed up until around 10, watching the season three finale of Yellowstone (spoiler alert: ends with gunshots and an explosion). I didn't sleep well that night and had a bad dream. I don't remember any of it but do remember thinking about Yellowstone. Very weird.

Anyway, when I got up early Monday, very restless, I couldn't talk. I probably tried to utter an expletive about my night or something, but just some unrecognizable sound came out. While I was in the shower, I kept trying to talk, seeing as how I had several newscasts to do in the coming hours, and it seemed to be working. While the water was pouring over me, I was forming words. I shrugged it off as a bad night and proceeded to get ready for work.

About 15 to 20 minutes in, I could tell something was wrong. I still couldn't really talk, and knew I had to get someone to cover for me at work. I made a phone call to wake the person up, but then hung up and sent them a text. After a few text exchanges with my replacement and my boss, I drove home, and went back to bed. Urgent Care didn't open until 8, and I figured I'd go in then. After I went in, they told me I needed to go over to the hospital for a test (same property--really short drive).

I walked in through the emergency room door, waited in line to check in (only a couple of people in front of me), but when I told them what happened, and they heard me speak, all kinds of people sprung into action, and I was quickly whisked away in a wheelchair.

A couple of days in Intensive Care, and a few more in what they call Telemetry. The first thing that I learned other than confirmation of a stroke (I thought maybe I had a stroke, but other than speech, everything else was fine) was that my blood pressure was extremely high (the first number was well over 200 at first, and I didn't even know it could go that high).

I saw the actual doctors very seldom, and mostly when I did, it was for a matter of seconds. They had long names and didn't introduce themselves. As things seem to improve, I figured out that I had a medical doctor and a physical doctor (that's what I'm calling him). The physical doctor told me on Friday that I could go home, but the medical doctor made me stay one more night because of my blood pressure.

They apparently were able to concoct a drug cocktail to keep my pressure low enough for me to function at home, and then let me go Saturday afternoon. I take six pills a day, and I don't see that ending anytime soon. I don't know when I'm going back to work, but I'll be getting some physical, occupational, and speech therapy first. You won't be seeing me in the drive-thrus at McDonald's, Taco Bell, Wendy's, or Kentucky Fried Chicken anytime soon, either.

The first thing I did after I got home (and showered and shaved), was go down to the supermarket to fill up with the most bland and boring food I could find. Cream of Rice, tuna, applesauce, grilled chicken. I'm still looking for other options.

I'm telling you all now, that I'm okay, but I really think I dodged a bullet. I prided myself in being the age that I am, and didn't have to take any medications. Turns out maybe that was only true because I didn't go see doctors, and maybe I've had high blood pressure for awhile. A stroke is something your parents get, or grandparents get, certainly not me. I may rapidly becoming an older American, but not like this. Pass the veggies, please. (Did I really just say that? Yikes. This is going to be hard.)

A long time ago...: I had planned this before my stay in the big building across the highway, and now I'll have more free time. TNT has a Star Wars marathon that just started, and runs all day Tuesday. I've seen most of them, but I'm recording them so I can watch them all, in order. And since everyone else in (Captain) America has seen them, I'm going to watch all 32 Marvel movies in order, too (I've seen, like, three of them). And my cousin Gayle tells me that Yellowstone gets better (I really don't even like any of these people but the show is really good), so there's that.

Ripken is safe: In 1995, baseball's 'Iron Man' Cal Ripken, Junior broke Lou Gehrig's record of 2130 consecutive games played. Three years later, he up and decided that 2632 was enough, and sat out. My cerebrovascular accident broke my streak of 651 consecutive Mondays writing this little blog and posting it on this little site. It started in 2011, so that's one week short of twelve-and-a-half years (Ripken's streak was 16 seasons). I'll be tempted to keep writing, but honestly, the last few months, the stupid streak was my motivation. For those of you who read down this far, even if just on special occasions, thank you so much.

Photo: My home for the past week is only about 500 feet from where I normally call home these days. One of those windows on the second floor was mine, but I think it's behind the plam tree. Great view, though. While in the hospital, I took a selfie of me in my hospital gown, I was going to post that instead, but trust me, no one wants to see that. Especially me.

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