Joseph Herrin (04-04-17)
Come May of 2017 I will have spent a year in recuperation from the stroke that I had. I would like to tell you about it since I know that most people do not understand strokes.
On one of the first days of May 2016, I am not sure which, I experienced a stroke. I remember my daughter took me out to lunch. I had likely had the first part of the stroke the night before. It was relatively easy to hide, I thought, not having too many telltale traits. I wasn’t sure I had a stroke because the evidence was too little to show, though I suspected something was happening. Interestingly, my sister who is a year older than I, had a stroke about a year earlier. I can roughly remember the date of my experience because May 7th is my birthday, and it was a few days yet.
Kristin and I went out to lunch and I spoke very little, but I did speak. I figured if I spoke as little as possible that she might not be too alarmed. I felt that the stroke was still happening and my speech was getting progressively worse. About halfway through our lunch Kristin noticed something was not quite right with her Dad, and though she never mentioned a stroke she began to watch me more closely. She drove me back home after our lunch and went over to her house. I felt it was a good opportunity to take a nap.
A little later Kristin came over to my motorhome and said she thought I had a stroke. She said she had invited some people from her church to come pray for me. That is all she said, though I suspected she was going to want to keep a close eye on me for the foreseeable future.
A little while later about a dozen people from her church showed up. I wasn’t talking too well by this time as the stroke had debilitated my right side. I welcomed the people into my motorhome, and sat at the desk while some managed to get past me and the rest stood around me. They began to pray for me. I remember one of the elders from Kristin’s church praying for me. Several people prayed. There were also young people around Kristin’s age who prayed for me – Kristin is 29.
After they left Kristin told me that she wanted me to go to Nicholas’ house to stay for a while. Nicholas had a double wide home and had a man I knew staying with him. This was George. Nicholas was about 22 and George was 39. I knew that I should not give Kristin too much grief about staying with people for a little time. She was doing all she could to care for me. I told her I would go for a little while, being concerned for my two dogs, and my mother dog who had puppies a few weeks before. Kristin said she would take care of them.
Girlfriend with a Couple of Her 8 Pups
When I got to Nicholas house he was more than happy to have me stay with him. He had earlier spent a number of months with me in my motorhome when he first moved to this area. He had been out for some time in his own place, and welcomed guests.
Nicholas At His Rental House
My daughter came by to visit me every day, usually in the morning and evening. She had to work during the day so she would sometimes even come by for lunch. I began to learn how much debilitation I had suffered from the stroke during this time. My daughter would get my mail, and my email, and read them to me. Oftentimes I would read them myself. I could not answer them because the stroke had taken from me than my ability to write. Handwriting was a non-starter because my right hand would not do what I wanted it to do. Typing was also very, very slow. I had trouble thinking of what words I was going to use, and often I could not think of the word.
This slowness of speech does not mean that the person is slow of mind. I could think, but I couldn’t put my thoughts into words. If you were to ask me today if I believed all that I espoused in my 22 books, I would tell you I sure did. I simply could not tell you why in plain speech. I would just point you to my books. They are every bit of me in very good English. I can’t talk in very good English now, but I can still write.
Walking was also very difficult. I would get up and go walk circles on Nicholas’ back porch. It was a couple weeks before I was brave enough to walk down the steps, and the first few times I tried it I had someone to catch me if I fell. After a couple of weeks there I was able to walk around the house to the front yard and sit in the nicely shaded areas under the pine trees. There was a dirt road in the front of the house and in about 3 weeks I was able to walk down part of it. By the 4th week I was walking to the end of the road, turning around and coming back. I was always worn out after one of these treks. I had to use a cane, also because my balance was not too good.
The steps at Nicholas’ house were not in very good shape. I did not use the front door except for a couple of times near the end of the month that I spent there. It did not have handles and the steps were very small and in poor shape. I was afraid I would spill myself into the front yard. The steps at the rear on the porch were a little better. They were twice the height of the front steps, but they went down along one side of the wall. I could brace myself with the wall while traversing them, but it was still into my third week before I tried them.
George was at the home the whole time I was there. I suspect that this was my daughter’s plan. She would have gotten someone else to stay with me if George had to go somewhere. George played me a couple games of Scrabble. I really struggled to come up with some good words. Most of them were no more than four letters. My mind felt like it had a trap set upon it. Try to think too hard and it would snap shut. I really learned about this when George and I tried to talk about spiritual matters. I knew there was something I wanted to say, but getting the words to come out was a non-doer. It’s not that I felt frustrated, but I couldn’t think of some word, or remember a verse. George said he knew what I was going through and waited patiently for me to fill in the blank, or in resignation to confide that I could not say what was on my mind.
After a month there I told Kristin that I wanted to go home. She had been good to take care of the dogs, and the puppies were big enough to be given away. Fleas had overrun them though. They already had fleas when they were in the whelping bed with Girlfriend. I had put them on a type of mulch that was supposed to kill fleas, but it wasn’t doing the job. They were in a much nicer bed area, but still had fleas. It was 10 feet by 10 feet, underneath a roof. Kristin and Nicholas had raised the walls a little, and had closed a couple holes.
Kristin in Puppy Bed Showing Off Puppy
Kristin had already given a couple of dogs away while I was at Nicholas’. The job was made easier in that 7 of 8 puppies were male. We continued to give them away while at home. One day she gave two of them a bath to get rid of fleas and she asked me to bring one over to her back porch while she dried the other one. I picked one up and I began to walk over to her back porch with it. Perhaps I was feeling good that I had gotten so far, but I stepped on the first step of the staircase and lost my balance. My whole thought was on not dropping the puppy so I swiveled my back around and landed on my side against the wall and the step. Kristin checked on me, and took the puppy. I said I was okay. Nothing broken. Just then she had some friends come up who were getting one of the dogs, so I went to my motorhome to get straightened up then I came back over. Kristin was to find out later that I had bruised my side rather badly when I fell down. Yet it wasn’t a break, so I didn’t think too much of it. Balance is one of the things that goes the most when one has a stroke like mine.
Around the same time Kristin had a friend who was younger than her die. She was washing dishes and said “Oh no” and collapsed and died. She had a heart defect since she was born, but no one expected her to die like she did. When the girl’s Dad heard about it he had a stroke. His stroke was much worse so that he couldn’t walk or talk at all. About 6 months later he had another stroke, which put him even further behind.
I know my stroke was a mild one. Within 3 months I was driving my car to Montezuma. Within 4 months I was driving to Perry. Now I regularly go to Warner Robins, which is a good sized city about 30 miles away. I am perfectly fine while driving, and the traffic in Warner Robins is stop and go. It’s not a problem.
I have mowed the yard four times this year, but not everything comes so easy. I spent about 9 months walking with a cane. My balance was not that good. Only in the past two months have I hung up the cane and begun walking without it. I walk about 2-1/2 miles in one walk.
I could always walk, but I did not have excellent control of my right leg. When I left Nicholas’ to return to my motorhome I plopped down twice outside when I was hanging up my clothes to dry. That was the first month I was home. I haven’t fallen since then.
Typing is another area I have seen improvement in. I wrote how I had gotten a Dvorak keyboard to make me faster. I couldn’t find the right stickers to go on the keyboard that resisted peeling. I had some before which I put on my keyboard when I wore the letters off, but I couldn’t find anymore like them. When the substitute letters wore off the Dvorak keyboard I was still learning it, so I returned to my Dell keyboard. I did some thinking about a keyboard, and since my typing has come back I have used a smaller keyboard without a numeric keypad. I am using it today, and it seems just right for me.
I can type better and better as the days go by. I am close to the speed of my typing before I had the stroke. I wish everything would improve as much. I guess my talking would be better if I talked very much. In recent years I have lived apart by myself and haven’t had many opportunities to talk. I don’t get many phone calls as I do most of my counseling through Email. I also generally only see my daughter once a week as she is so busy with her own schedule. I do see her drive to work each day and back home at night. A funny thing about seeing her is that I have since my stroke called her Mickey. Mickey is the name of my younger sister and she lives in Colorado. I recognize that I have called her the wrong name and correct it to Kristin. Maybe it’s the similarity in sound, but I find myself calling people things I haven’t thought of for many years. Nicholas and George have gotten used to me calling her Mickey, though I do correct myself.
One thing I have observed is that I need a nap every afternoon. I feel a drooping sensation come over me and I know it won’t go away unless I take a nap. Well, sometimes it will if I force my way through it and continue working. I suppose my body is still healing and it needs a nap.
I do know that my care by my daughter has been made much easier because people have continued to share with me from their finances. I even have been able to buy a new computer, I will share a blog on that soon. I know during the past 11 months I have started to study in some areas, but have not finished. I started in looking into music, intending to write a book on music listening. I have found it is a good time to listen to music, but my mind has not gotten back to the point where I can read the many books that are on my shelf, and the writings on my computer, and digest them all. I can say now that my mind is a lot better than it was a few months ago. I think after a year has gone by that I will be a lot more inclined to tackle some things I have set on the back burner.
I have not forgotten the translation of the Bible that I have begun on. I am still committed to seeing it through. There are so few Bibles that are correct in any passage. Most of them have taken out the name of Yahweh. I continuously have to make changes to the most common Bible translations. There will be a major push to see it through.
If I have left anything out that you can think of, please write and let me know. Yahweh is so good in bringing us to ends that we can be sustained in, for He is the Lord of life.
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