October 17, 2017
We begin with apologies to all of my Facebook followers. You three kind souls can sit this one out if you like, since you know the story from a recent post.
And if you are tired of “Be Grateful for Each and Every Day” stories, you are also excused, because that’s what this is.
I recently completed my 52nd year on this earth, and that is no small thing, as I look back.
On the morning of Sept. 28, 2016 – the day before my 51st birthday – I started to get ready for work like any other day. It was about 6:15 a.m. on a Wednesday. I was just getting out of the shower, and as a favor to family, friends and co-workers, I was trying to apply deodorant, as I do most days. I struggle with a lot of things – following directions, tying my shoes, coloring inside the lines – but I normally ace the deodorant application process.
Not on this day. I fumbled, I stumbled. A blood clot got through a hole in my heart and headed north. The rest of me went south.
My beautiful wife and first responder, Anna, knew something was not right. She yelled for the kids. My son, Jack, and stepdaughter, Ashley, joined the EMS team. Anna was about to call 911, when I gave the NO sign. I could move, sort of. I could speak, sort of. I had the facial droop thing happening. We were on full FAST alert.
F for Face. Look for an uneven smile. Check.
A for Arm. Check if one arm is weak. Lefty was not working at all.
S for Speech. Listen for slurred speech. Simply put, you sound like you are drunker than a skunk.
T for Time. Get help right away.
Because of our address in far south Lincoln, I thought it would be quicker to just get in the car and go, go, go. So I said no to the 911 call. I do realize that in most cases you should just call 911, no questions asked. I did think it would be faster to just go, go, go.
I also wondered how the neighbors would feel about sirens and a big racket at that hour. You don’t mow or call an ambulance before 8 a.m., right? Just trying to be a good neighbor. Was that so wrong?
Kidding aside, getting quick attention was huge in my case. Thanks to Anna, Jack and Ashley, I was getting ER attention at Bryan East by 7 a.m. As a result, my deficits have been minimal. It could have been really bad. At the very least, those three saved me from serious, serious trouble and long-term consequences, far worse than a left hand that now doesn’t always do what I want it to. Sure glad they were there for me that morning.
It was scary. But it was also, in some ways, funny. I can joke now about how Jack basically carried me to the car but wanted nothing to do with putting my pants on. No sir. And I can joke now about how badly I wanted to hit Chipotle that night so I could have this conversation with their always-chipper cashiers:
Chipotle cashier: “So how is your day going?”
Me: “Well, I had a stroke, but otherwise, no complaints.”
Chipotle cashier: “Oh, wow. Well, OK. Chips with your order?”
Yep. I can live with a left hand that doesn’t always do what I want it to do. Yep. No problem there. Might even help my golf swing. I will be just fine. And, oh yeah, I had the hole in my heart – the hole that caused the stroke – all patched up last December, in about an hour. Incredible. Thanks, Dr. Hibbard.
Scary as it was, the stroke made me better, happier, stronger, kinder, more grateful, etc.
One other thing.
Be grateful for each and every day, even the bad ones. There is good in those, too.
For starters, we asked Jane Raybould what makes her tick. Raybould, a Lincoln City Councilwoman, is running against U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer in 2018.
“I love our state and our country,” she said. “I care deeply about what kind of future we are creating for our children and grandchildren. Every child deserves the same opportunities to succeed as I had. Being a business leader and public servant gives me the ability to deliver on that promise.”
• Anna and I recently zipped through the HBO series “Big Little Lies.” Two thumbs up. The series features some really cute young people, but it ain’t no kiddie show. Nope. Big stars with very adult plots and some serious suspense. Humor, too. Highly recommend.
• Reading “Seinfeldia,” by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong. You have to read this book if you are a Seinfeldian like me. Lots of great behind-the-scenes scoop. Good stuff. And Festivus will be here before you know it. Get your grievances ready.
• Big Red Tire and Auto gets high haha marks for this sign: “Pumpkin Spice Oil Changes Available Here.”
• My boss at the Food Bank of Lincoln, Scott Young, is now on the board for Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the U.S. It’s a really big, cool deal. They tell me he used to be on the radio, too. Interesting. Proud to know that man and lucky to work with him every day.
• Deep breath, Husker volleyball fans. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.