Step Out – Walk to Fight Diabetes

GeeWhiz here. I’ve seen the statistics. I’ve heard the stories. I know the terminology. Geewhiz, my day job even includes working with content that connects an annual eye exam to early detection of diabetic retinopathy.

But in the spring of 2008, two of my coworkers within mere feet of my cubicle learned that they were directly affected by diabetes. And suddenly, statistics became flesh and blood to me.

That’s why I’m walking on October 11 to fight diabetes.

So, if you’re already on a team walking to fight diabetes, I’ll be right there alongside you.
If you’re not walking on a team, visit my site and sponsor me.

Memories of my brain attack, part V – tests, tests, more tests

…continued storytelling from part III ‘goofier than usual

While at Kaiser and during my recovery, different doctors and technicians put me through more tests than you need to know about. Here’s a quick list:

Followup, my vision blindness one month later

visual_before.gifWithin hours of my stroke, when I mistakenly thought I was just experiencing a vision problem, my optometrist recorded my field of vision at 75% in both eyes. In other words, I had lost about 25% of my vision, equally in both eyes. Here’s an image from just my right eye, the graph showing the approximate 25% blindness in my upper right.

Now, one month after the stroke, here is a second vision test result…

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I might have a “communication” in my heart

Doctors want to continue to examine me in a few weeks to look for a “communication in my heart” that might have caused the stroke. What do they mean by a “communication?” Continue reading

Memories of my brain attack, part III – “goofier than usual”

“Andy was acting goofier than usual. He was chattier than normal and kept repeating himself.”

Pam says I kept repeating: “the show starts at 7:00, I think I can do the show.”

Doctor Gerard’s office staff know me quite well. I visit that office four to eight times a year because I’m a soccer dad, driving Bobbobot to his annual eye exam or his followup fitting of glasses, picking up contact lenses for the princess of my planetoid, or having the office staff fix a pair of my Altair frames that I’ve stepped on for the nth time.

So as not to alarm me, they kept me busy doing a visual exam in one room while they talked to Pam in another.

The most telling results came from the Automated Perimetry Test. I have the printout and I’ll post a visual of it when I get a chance to scan it. What’s the test? Continue reading

Memories of my brain attack, part II “bizarro behavior”

Pam called her brother Bill, knowing he could get me to the optometrist sooner than she could. Not only is Bill one of the first-hand eyewitnesses and the one commenting on my previous blog entry reminding me to blog about some of the disorientation I exhibited, he’s also the bestest brother-in-law I have (aww, shucks).

Bill reported that I said at least two bizarre things:

“Why are we going to the church?”

Of course we weren’t going to the church, but in my defense, First Covenant is just a block away from Dr. Gerard’s office, so maybe I was recognizing street landmarks. However, I do remember seeing the streets from a different perspective. I can’t explain it other than to say the route we took seemed to be “different,” as if seeing a city for the first time.

“I don’t think I’ve had a stroke because I don’t have any headaches.”

Bill says I said that in the car, but I don’t remember saying that. In hindsight, it’s a wonder that the topic of a stroke even entered my mind. Was part of my mind already aware of a stroke and was another part of my mind in denial? Was I misinformed about the signs of stroke? That’s a nice segue to…

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Credible source notes and Phil 4:8-9

Some of you may be getting ahead and wondering,

“If GeeWhiz had a stroke, and he’s writing all this from memory, how reliable are these memories?”

My answer: I’m a writer by profession, not a fiction writer, but a technical writer. My paying audience demands that I be accurate, brief, and clear.

So, while in the hospital, I asked for note paper, and filled three pages with notes and observations over the next three days (not counting a doodle page for when I was bored or the separate page of phone numbers that I didn’t want to forget). The blog entries you are reading are reconstructed memories of the three days of recovery in the hospital, based on those notes plus accounts from the eyewitnesses who visited me during my stay.

I will confess up front however that… Continue reading

Memories of my brain attack, part I “invisibility cloak”

Several people have asked me to recall my memories of Thursday when my stroke hit me. This blog entry is a summary of what transpired. It’s pretty boring if you came for a technical communication blog entry, so please send small children, kittens, and project managers out of the room while I try to recall the events.

I was off work Thursday, but went in to enjoy the great food and fun at Sales’ holiday luncheon, and with Ric’s prodding, led the division in a round of Jingle Bells. On my way out, I told Farebrother I’d see him later that night at the performance of “An Evening in December.” After some last-minute Christmas shopping, I was walking back to my car, when I stopped in my tracks. Continue reading

You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet

They poked me on the back of my hand to draw blood. I can use that now as an excuse for my illegible handwriting. Luckily for you, this blog doesn’t rely on my handwriting, or none of you would understand a word of this.
My physical self is back to where I was before the stroke. On Saturday after my release, I went to see “An Evening in December” and watched the show from a seat. The cast said I inspired them. Then, for Saturday night’s show, with the blessing of my wife Pam, the resident RN Denise in our cast, and our director John, I stood with the choir and sung the three finale closing numbers. Funny coincidence or not: the lyrics of one song are:

“when I call on Jesus, all things are possible. I can mount on wings like eagles and soar.”

And you can bet I had this HUGE grin going ear to ear when I sung those lyrics.

I just made up a joke, here goes:

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personal – back from the D-E-A- D

I’m back from a stroke suffered Thursday afternoon (two days ago?). I’m fully conversant, lost only 25% of my vision, and am fairly close to where I was before it hit me. Well, I could use this now as an excuse to cover my personal goofs (“oh, I’m sorry, did I forget something?” “no problem, Andy, it must be residual loss from your stroke.”) Continue reading