Growing up in Houston, my family and I experienced our share of hurricanes and floods. In a previous post, I talked about Hurricane Carla which paid us a visit in 1961. That was my first hurricane. I also remember Alicia in 1983, Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Ike in 2008 (oh, my!) …and then, there was Harvey. Continue reading
Here it is…August of 2017. More than half of this year has already whizzed by. I’ve been reminiscing about past Augusts of my life, especially this past week. I knew that August 20th seemed familiar somehow, but couldn’t quite place its significance. Then, I remembered…It was on Wednesday, August 20, 1975, that I began my first job, and what an experience it was, at the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Bank, which is now known, simply as, The Blood Center.
Now, you may ask, “How did you come to get this job and embark on this adventure”? I’m so glad you asked. Allow me to answer that question. You see, there was a time when I thought I wanted to be a nurse. If you read my earlier post about my heart surgery, you will remember that time of my life back in 1963. Back in those days, a child patient had one nurse who ministered to them during their entire hospital experience. I remember my nurse very fondly and she obviously loved her job. She was such an inspiration to me that I thought at the time that I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up, “just like her”.
As I got older, though, Continue reading
A very special part of my family childhood memories was the celebration of birthdays. I always loved birthdays because my family always made them special. The ‘birthday bird’, or the one whose birthday we were observing, was always treated like the most important person in the world for that day. When I was in grade school, I read a story about a family that celebrated birthdays by giving the birthday bird the privilege of choosing whatever they wanted for dinner. I told my mom about this story
The next morning I awoke to Thanksgiving, 1999. My first visitors of the day were my mom and my Aunt Bobbi. They had come to see me and check on my progress. Both they and I were so excited and relieved to find that I could speak normally. Praise God for His Goodness. He uses the medical field and medications in such a marvelous way! Around mid-morning, a neurologist came in to see me. She was Dr Ruth Atlas, who had been assigned to my case and came in to talk to me and get my medical history. As we spoke and I reviewed my medical background and medications with her, I told her about the Premarin that I had been taking for almost 3 years. She asked me what I was taking it for and I replied that I had undergone a hysterectomy in January of 1997. She then asked if I had experienced ‘flushes’…meaning hot flashes. When I said that I had not, she said that she didn’t want me to take Premarin any more, which was fine with me. That was one less prescription that I could cross off of my list! She said that if I did experience hot flashes to take soy. In later years I would take that advise to the extreme and take soy that I didn’t need to be taking, but that’s another blog post, another time.
Later that day, I was transferred out of ICU and into my own private room. I began to have quite a few visitors from my church, family and friends. Mom made sure that they all kept an upbeat, positive attitude while in the room and if anyone acted sad or solemn, she made them leave! Hooray for Mom Patrol!!! Here’s something else that I had forgotten about until I started writing this. A gentleman came into the room who was a physical therapist, who wanted to offer his services and Mom told him that I didn’t need any physical therapy. None of my motor skills had been affected by this TIA. The only after-effect that I noticed was a numbness in the right side of my face, so I had to be very careful when brushing my teeth, because I couldn’t feel if I was brushing too hard. I didn’t want to hurt myself. Of course, the doctor said that I might never regain feeling in that side of my face, but, Praise the Lord, my feeling was completely restored within just a couple of weeks.
I was in the hospital for a total of 11 days and, during that time, I had a lot of time to think. I began to remember back to the events of the past 2 weeks. I had been taking Centrum multi-vitamins for years and, decided, just recently to change vitamins, for no particular reason except that I wanted a change…some variety in life. I went to the store and spent over an hour reading and pouring over vitamin labels. I finally decided on a vitamin brand and bought it. Eight days later, I had the mini stroke. Since the suspected cause of the TIA was a magnesium deficiency, I decided that, when I got back home, I was going to check the label on the new vitamins for magnesium content. Sure enough, when I got home and looked at the label, there was no magnesium in the new vitamins. I threw them in the trash…I would not want to wish this on anyone else, and went back to the Centrum vitamins. I have since, changed to another brand, but I made certain that the brand I switched to contained at least 200 mg of magnesium. In fact, I really went overboard on my magnesium consumption for the first couple of months after I returned home and discovered that magnesium also has and excellent laxative effect! To this day, I am a strong proponent of magnesium.
OK, back to the hospital…for the next few days, I had a battery of tests, all of which came out normal. Dr. Atlas was determined to try to find out what had caused this TIA. She finally decided to have an angiogram performed on me. What the doctors discovered was quite remarkable. During the test, they discovered that my heart and circulatory system were in a mirror image…everything was turned backwards! I asked them what that meant. Was that good or bad? The doctor said that it was fine…He was just glad that he found this out now so that he would know how to proceed in case of any surgeries, etc. Another fascinating occurrence was…the cardiologist that was called in brought with him a 2-D Echo machine which shows my heart activity. When he hooked the machine up to me and started running the test, I could hear my heart beat and actually see the activity on the screen, kind of like a sonogram. When I saw the heart valve opening and closing, it actually looked like a dove moving its wings up and down! Pretty wonderful, don’t you think?
With each test that I went through, I felt the Lord’s physical Presence with me in the most real way imaginable, throughout each and every procedure. It was so wonderful to know that He was right there with me through each second of every step of the way.
It turned out that the medical team did decide to perform what is known as a ‘subclavian bypass’. This was a medical procedure to improve the blood circulation to the left side of my body. The operation was a success and I was given a prescription for a blood thinner, although, this was later overruled by my surgeon, Dr Robert McGowen, who prescribed an over the counter aspirin called Ecotrin (Praise the Lord). I would rather take an aspirin each day than a prescription drug if the effectiveness is the same!
By the way, the food at West Houston was fabulous. I ate heartily and lost 8 pounds, but I was told that it was because I was eating good, healthy food and not junk food!
I also had a lot of prayers going up for me by an entire army of prayer warriors from my church. Never underestimate the power of prayer. My God is an Awesome God and a Prayer-answering God.
I was discharged from the hospital on December 3, 1999 with a clean bill of health and I took some time off from work to rest and recover before pursuing regular work duties again.
…and that was my experience having a mini stroke and full recovery.
During this Thanksgiving Season, as in each year at this time, I remember, and I marvel at God’s Grace and Power. He has seen me through a lot, protected and taken care of me through a lot. I am reminded of the verse in Psalm 139, “For I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” and I think about how complex God made us. The human brain is a wonderful and wondrous ‘creation’. It tells the rest of our body what to do and when to do it. There was one particular year that I will always remember…the Thanksgiving week of 1999. Continue reading
In my last post I shared with you all some of my fondest Olympic memories, namely, the various athletes that made an impression on me. Being a musician, I also love hearing the Olympic Fanfare theme song, as well as the music which was introduced at the 1980 Los Angeles Games.
This morning, I was thinking about the various athletes who take part in the various sports at the Olympics and I began to relate their gifts and talents with the Christian life and the gifts and talents that God has given to each of His children as the collective Body of Christ.
It reminds me of Psalm 139:14 that says that each one of us is ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’. I watch in wonder as these men and women do such extraordinary feats with their physical bodies and I thank God that He, in His wisdom and love, created the human body to be able to accomplish such things.
Another facet of the games that is so special to me is at the end of the games when so much time is spent rolling the credits in order to recognize all of the men and women who not only make the Olympic games happen with the athletes, but all of the technical people who make it possible for us to witness the events in our own homes all around the world! Just think of all of the sound technicians, camera men/women and all of the talented people who do jobs that I would have never even thought of…all contributing their skills and talents so that, for these 2 weeks, we can enjoy all of the action, as these athletes compete. It’s totally mind-boggling!
Guess what? You and I have different and various gifts and talents, too! What an adventure it is to try different things in order to find out what we’re good at and what our specialty is. We may be an ‘athlete’ or we may be a ‘behind the scenes’ person, but each one of us is so important to the success of the great adventure known as life. God gave you and me a special gift (or gifts) to use to glorify Him and to serve and benefit others. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
Let each one of us go to God and ask Him to show us what our specialty is and ask Him to show us how to go for His Gold!
Well, it’s that time again. Once every 4 years the world gathers together, either in person or via television to watch and experience the Olympic Games…this year from London, UK.
Do you remember the first Olympic Games that you watched and became excited about? My first one was Continue reading