This is an e-mail message I sent to about 60 recipients world-wide after I suffered a stroke. It pretty much explains itself. I've added a few images just to "fluff" it up.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dennette A. Harrod, Jr)
DATE: 05/15/94 10:50
Re: My stroke - I'm getting better!
Well, I'm back on-line sooner than I expected!! My thanks to all who sent messages and prayers ... sorry about not sending individual replies, but You Know Why. :-)
Here's what happened ... On Thursday night (05-May-94), while watching "LA Law", I felt a chill, which I ignored because I was eating a popsicle. When I got up for a commercial break, I thought that my left arm had fallen asleep. I was a little dizzy, but didn't pay it much mind, either. About an hour later, I noticed that my left leg was kind of uncoordinated.
Well, "denial ain't just a river in Egypt", as they say. I went to bed earlier than usual, figuring I was fatigued, or having side effects from my new hypertension medication. But at 06:00 the next morning (Friday, 06-May-94), I called 911 because I could not make a fist with my left hand.
Horror Story: The ambulance took me to the closest hospital, where they took x-rays and a CAT scan. The attending neurologist confirmed the diagnosis ... a blockage of an artery in the right hemisphere of my brain. By 11:00 the left side of my body was 75% off-line, and I had all kinds of IV tubes, electrodes, and oxygen plugged into me. *THEN* we found out that HMO Blue would not authorize my admission to the ICU at that hospital! They had to call another ambulance to transport me to a different hospital!!
When I finally got wired into a real bed, they brought another patient in to share my room. There was a uniformed cop with him, and I assumed he was a friend or co-worker who happened to be visiting. NOT! My new roomie was a resident of the local House of Corrections who had suffered a heart attack in his cell ... they handcuffed him to the bed, and a new armed guard was posted every eight hours. (He was doing 120 days for Driving While Intoxicated.)
MRI of my brain showing damage in color
On Sunday, they took me off the IVs and monitors and put me in a another wing. By Tuesday, I was well enough to be transferred to a rehabilitation hospital in Salem, NH. I made arrangements with a friend to go to my place at noon the next day to get me some clothes.
(90Kb) Room 222
My room at Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital - Salem, NH
The plan was for her to call me on my cordless phone when she got there so I could talk her around the place to pick up things to put in the suitcase. When she was 10 minutes past due, I called, thinking the sigals had been crossed. Turns out that when she arrived, she discovered that the door had been forced (the frame was smashed) and my TV/VCR and Stereo were missing!! The police had arrived, and were taking a report. The owner's wife happened to be driving by, saw the police cars, and talked to me as well.
We're working on the assumption that someone saw or heard about the ambulance and police cars that responded to the 911 call. Friends came by on Sunday night to check on FurFace, and brought pizza to watch "Deep Space Nine" on my TV, so the burglary was between then and noon on Wednesday.
I cancelled my therapy evaluations for the rest of the day, got a pass, and came home to assess the damage. While home, I downloaded my 40+ outstanding e-mail messages (so the mailbox would not overflow) and sent the short broadcast to my entire e-mail phone-book ... my apologies to those who got multiple copies ... there were a couple of IPO exploders on the list, so you may have been on more than one of them. (That's why you will get multiples of this one, too.)
Steve Watts from ITI was in the area at the time, and when he heard about my stroke, he changed his return travel plans so that he could visit me in the hospital. I gave him directions to my cottage, and he met me there, in the midst of all the chaos. :-)
By the time a limo had come to take me back to the hospital, a carpenter was installing a new (metal) door & frame, and another cop had arrived to dust for prints - the burglars had removed a plastic display case for one of my models from the top of the TV/VCR in order to take it!
Today is Sunday, 15-May-94, ten days after The Event, and I have been discharged to start outpatient occupational and physical therapy ... a shuttle service will take me to and from the hospital several times a week for the next month or so.
I can walk with a cane, I can raise my left arm over my head and bend it at the elbow, but still cannot touch my left thumb to the middle finger. Oh, yeah - I was diagnosed as diabetic last month, and had started doing the finger-prick daily to check my blood-sugar. Since The Event, I can only prick the fingers on the left hand, and because of the anti-coagulant I'm taking, it's hard to stop the bleeding. :-(
So, I'm home alone, waiting for the burglars to come back. It took me two hours to find an electric can opener that I can use with one hand. I've ordered a special board that will hold a piece of bread so that I can spread peanut butter or mayonaise with only one hand to make a sandwich. I bought a chair for use in the shower so I don't have to stand, but must wait for someone to assemble it for me.
Please ignore all previous addresses and telephone numbers - except for weekdays between 10:00 and 14:00 (when I may be away at therapy), you'll probably find me at home 24 hours a day ... but there are answering machines on both phone lines, anyway.
Once again, my thanks to all, especially the stroke survivors who offered encouragement ... cards already sent to either of the hospitals are being forwarded to my P.O. Box in Concord. If anyone would like a copy of my daily journals for the period (hard-copy with digitized photographs) send me your surface mail address.
BTW, FurFace survived all of this (paramedics, burglars, police, etc.) without any obvious trauma ... she is a Good Cat, and seems genuinely glad for my return after ten days.
In closing, here's a stanza from the rap I wrote 18 months ago when I got laid off from Computervision ... it expresses my feelings at the moment.
"Nothing lasts forever 'cept the earth and sky,
So this will also pass in the blink of an eye,
But I'm thankful, and I gotta say that ain't no lie,
'Cause except for the Grace of Allah, there go I."
Have a better one!
Dennette Harrod - WIZ WORX
"Will do IGES for [cat] food"