Dan and Hannah at the Nolan and Kara Wedding

Mainers like Nolan are the reason people move to the Pine Tree State and spend their lives here, as Hannah and I have done for the past 35 years.  When our friend George Derby got his van stuck in the mud of our side yard on a ping pong Thursday, I called Nolan to see if he could help us out.  Fifteen minutes later, (15 minutes!) Nolan hooked up a heavy metal chain from his truck and pulled the van out.

kn d and h with dontal and dorant

Good guys (Donal and Dorant) sought us out during the wedding reception

When I asked Nolan how to best get rid of poison ivy along the road by our house, Nolan sent two of his Patten Ground Care employees to pull out the poison ivy for us.  By the way, the two are Jamaicans (Donal and Dorant) who thanks to their body chemistry do not develop rashes from contact with poison ivy.

When Will was off at St. Michael’s College near Burlington, VT, Hannah and I bought a heavy-duty ping pong table from Dick’s Sporting Goods in Portsmouth.  Having no way to get it to home and in need of some serious muscle, we called on Nolan who used his truck to transport it back to our place on Chases Pond Road and help me set it up.

kn snow in driveway

And now with winter coming, Nolan is the first one on the scene when the big snows fall.  Nolan makes it a priority to plow our 150’ driveway, shovel out the garage doors, shovel a 70’ path to our generator, and dig a path to the propane exhaust vent (which if not done, shuts down the heating to our house which causes our water pipes to freeze).  He’s done this time and again when winter nor’easters come to York.

kn snow to generator

Our generator is in the distance

Nolan has looked after his best friend’s parents for a long, long time.

Friends since second grade, Nolan and our son Will played indoor soccer and youth basketball during their elementary school years.  Will still thinks of the basketball coaching he got from Nolan’s dad John in sixth grade as the foundation for his success as a high school and college player.

Working side by side with Nolan, Will got his first full time summer job as a landscaper for Patten Ground Care, which lasted for eight years.

H and Nolan at VCU

Nolan with Hannah at Will and Laurel’s rehearsal dinner reception at VCU in 2015

Years later in Virginia, Will asked Nolan to be his best man at his wedding to Laurel Ann near Richmond, Virginia.  Months ago, Nolan returned the favor in kind by asking Will to be the officiant at his wedding to Kara on a late November Wednesday.

Though Will speaks regularly to groups of athletes and alums in his position in the Athletic Department at Ithaca College in central New York state, he has had no more important speaking engagement than for today’s Kara and Nolan Nuptials.

kn kilgores 3 with w and l and us

At the reception with Will and Nolan’s York High School classmates, Adam and Zack Kilgore (Will, Laurel, Adam, Zack, Camille (Adam’s wife), Hannah and Dan

Pleased that Will asked for Hannah’s and my feedback on his speaking plan for the wedding, we are further gratified that his words are to keep the focus on Kara and Nolan, not on him, the officiant.   We have been to weddings where the minister sadly makes it all about himself with his clever word play and dominating presence.  Will gets it.  It’s Kara and Nolan’s Day!

Owen and Max Fosters 2

Three days after the Nolan and Kara Wedding, we took Owen and Max to Fosters to use the tickets Kara and Nolan gave everyone attending the wedding for the chance to win a special Christmas tree

As the localest of local boys, Nolan (and Kara) have chosen the Foster’s Downeast Clambake in York Harbor as wedding venue.  The Wednesday wedding is timed nicely for the kickoff of the Festival of Fostering Trees.  Foster’s raises money to help kids who have not been adopted and have aged out of the system.  In lieu of presents, Kara and Nolan have asked guests to donate to the Foster’s program.

kn kara and her dad

Kara with her dad coming down the aisle at Foster’s Downeast Clambake

Come 530P on November 29, 2017, with Will and Nolan waiting at the front of the hall, Kara and her dad come down the aisle.  A hundred plus have gathered on the benches at Foster’s to hear Nolan and Kara’s story of finally making it to the altar after 16 years.

kn k and n to be married

Kara and Nolan with Will officiating and Nolan’s brother Travis as the best man

Eloquent and brief, Will sets the stage.

The purpose of a partnership is to create something greater than we can create alone. Not because of any deficiency or incompleteness, but because each of us is unique, with our own talents and abilities.  In partnership, we improve the opportunity for creating something meaningful together. 

With Kara’s sister Bethany reading an email Nolan wrote to Kara and then Nolan’s brother Travis reading an email that Kara later wrote to Nolan, the ceremony is touching and personal.  Standing in front of Nolan and Kara, Will ends with some of my favorite lines ever to conclude a wedding service.

Before we send you on your way, I would first like you both to savor this moment. Not just the feeling of immense love for one another, but the feeling of love and support from those gathered here today. It is a true testament to what you mean to the people in your lives.

NK six at wedding

Will, Laurel, Kara, Nolan, Hannah, and Dan

Kara … Nolan—I could not be more excited for you to write this next chapter of your lives together.  And with that, it is a distinct honor to pronounce you husband and wife.

And it’s all a wrap in 15 minutes.  Is that a crowd favorite or what!

kn k and n dancing

Quite the couple!

The reception right here at Foster’s is equally cool with lobster rolls, clam chowder, fruit, cheese and crackers all washed down by champagne, wine, or beer.  Though there are tables for sitting, this reception is not a sit-down affair served by wait staff.  People can move around easily to connect and reconnect with old friends.  It’s relaxed and comfortable and so fits who Kara and Nolan are.

The best of it all for Hannah and me is to see the genuine love and affection Nolan and Kara show to each other throughout the evening.  Smiles, holding hands, looking at each other and listening when the other is talking.   This evening Hannah and I see the embodiment of love in Kara and Nolan.

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Dan and Hannah and the Simple Things in a Marriage

One Sunday after attending the morning service at Unity on the River in Amesbury, MA, Hannah and I stayed after for a two-hour workshop on improving relationships.  The counselor, Jim Goldstein of Powerful Partnerships, offered some good reminders for us.

Everybody Loves Somebody

Karla Souza plays the lead

For me, it is “easy” to be with Hannah.  It’s just easy to chill with her, hang out with her, whether we are hiking or pickleballing or just in different parts of our house.   “Easy” is one part why our marriage seems to work.  Check out an excellent movie, Everybody Loves Somebody (2016), to see the importance of most of the time it being easy with your spouse.  Click here to see a two-minute trailer of the film.

Love between parents

I believe raising a healthy family is like the instructions delivered by the flight attendant.  “Put the mask on yourself first before you assist others.”   Throughout our years together, I made a priority of my relationship with Hannah; that became the foundation for giving it our best shot to raise healthy, happy, appreciative, engaged, and loving kids.  By the way, I believe the best thing a dad or a mom can do for their kids, is to love their spouse.

So, I leave you with six simple things from the workshop that we don’t always do, but that we sure as hell want to do.

  1. Have rituals that we do together (e.g. evening wine on our front deck or in front of the fireplace)
  2. Have date nights (e.g. Ruby’s in town for half-priced margaritas and nachos)
  3. Do nice things for each other (e.g. simple stuff, without being asked, like Hannah’s meal making and my dishwashing and laundry doing)
  4. Focus on what you like about the other one (e.g. for me, how she gives things a shot. For Hannah, how I encourage people)
  5. Touch a lot (we do every time just one of us leaves the house)
  6. Talk about real things, not just the business of getting through the day. (e.g. our relationship, our friends, our family, what’s ahead)

Simple, but not always so simple.

Dan and Hannah and Roger Federer

For a long time, I’ve been a big fan of Roger Federer, the tennis champion.  You may be thinking, well that certainly fits, Dan; you are the classic front runner.

You got me there.  I do love me my Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots and Thousand Time NCAA Champion UConn Women’s Basketball.   Oh yeah, all the way across the country, I am all in on Steph Curry and the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors.  Obviously, I have no shame.  Jordan Spieth is my favorite golfer, now that my fellow Sun Devil alum, Phil Mickelsen, has driven off into the sunset.

RF Roger 1

Roger Federer

Roger said something that rang very true when he was interviewed after winning Wimbledon this past July.  I’ll get to that in due time, but let me tease his quote by saying that I’m reminded of the dangers of taking things for granted.  Mea culpa.

Consider, we live on the coast of Maine, two miles from the Atlantic Ocean.   We go months without seeing the rocky shores and walking its beaches.  Mea bad.

RF Radburn

Back to Roger.  Well, really back to Dan.  Tennis was my game of choice growing up in the 1960s in northern Jersey.   Living just two streets from the Radburn Tennis Courts, I played much of the day throughout the summer.  I played some for the high school team and a little in college.

RF Wooster

Fact is, Hannah and I started courting (you see what I just did!) on the tennis courts at the College of Wooster in Ohio in 1967.  I was hoping my game (in the larger sense) would find its way into her heart.

Something worked, we married, life was very good, but tennis fell to the wayside.  We moved on to running, and later I added golf to my sporting life.  As seniors, Hannah and I have found a hybrid tennis alternative – pickleball – to our immense pleasure.  Being a racket sport, pickleball fit nicely with our tennis-playing past.

RF Brady

The GOAT

But back to Roger. As Michael Jordan is to basketball and Tom Brady to football, Roger from tiny Switzerland is the GOAT in tennis!   As in the Greatest of All Time!  He glides around the court, making shots mere mortals can only dream of.  He’s the people’s champion, beloved around the world.  Fluent in English, French, German, and Swiss-German, he is gracious and articulate, no matter the continent, whether in victory or defeat.

RF Wimbledon

Roger Federer at Wimbledon 2017

Well, back to my tease in the opening paragraph.  As Roger was being interviewed, he was asked about what is the best part of winning this major championship.  Was it that he won his 8th Wimbledon title, the most in history?  Was it racking up his 19th major championship, four more than second place Rafael Nadal (now three since Rafa won the US Open).   Nooooooo.

He said I’m healthy againIt’s all about my health. (The previous year Roger had taken six months away from tennis to heal after knee surgery.)

How quickly those of us who have been blessed with a lifetime of good health can take it for granted.  I have been one such person with remarkably good health for my first seven decades.

RF pickleball

Pickleball sweethearts

But it’s been a rougher go over the last two years.   Nothing big, but my vulnerability is showing.  I’ve had a nasty four day stiff neck and strained shoulders from lifting our grandsons, an aching Achilles from playing ping pong in bare feet, as well as over-enthusiasm pickleball injuries (right elbow and left knee tendinitis, a groin pull).   And then a recent four-hour bolt out of the blue – Transient Global Amnesia – when I couldn’t remember or speak coherently that has me on meds for the coming year.

It is said that retirement is the best.  And I am one of the fortunate ones who has two of the necessary ingredients for retirement – financial means and good health.

There is one caveat.  By being grateful for my good health, I’m only half way there.  The equally important second half is my commitment to sufficient sleep, eating well, surrounding myself with loved ones, meditating, and an hour of daily stretching forever, so I can stay in the game.

Dan and Hannah and the Ways of Our Love

It’s the first week of August, Hannah and I have come to Sandy Springs, Georgia (Atlanta Metro Area) for Hannah’s second experimental stem cell injection; we’ve hopes that stem cells just might hold a key to improving her voice, which has been softened and limited for the past 15 years.

SH 1 Julie and Dr T with H

NP Julie and Dr. Tan prepping Hannah

Injected into her spine (to pass the blood/brain barrier), the stem cells will also be infused into her blood system for improved joint health as well.  We have been encouraged by the positive stem cell results by many pickleballers that we have met from the Yonah Mountain area (north Georgia).

SH 1B J to infuse H

Julie prepping to infuse Hannah with stem cells

Up by 2A in York, Maine for our 6A flight to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta, we arrive in the Peach Tree State before 9A; drive 25 miles north to Sandy Springs for Hannah’s treatments.  Dr. Tan administers the stem cell injection; later Nurse Practitioner Julie Thorne infuses the stem cells into her blood system.

SH 2 Anne Frank

Anne

Hannah comes out of the 90-minute procedure smiling, without any pain, but…

…we are both weary beyond belief from our just after midnight wake up call on this 90F afternoon.

Unsuccessful in our attempt to check in the early afternoon at our Comfort Suites motel, we take the opportunity to visit the Anne Frank in the World Center in Sandy Springs!  Who knew that the heart of Dixie would have such a treasure!  Click here for more information about this much-needed telling of her story, especially in light of the August events in Charlottesville and the dangerous equivocating of the President.

Finally checked into the Comfort Suites, we lunch on our Subway Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki subs, sort of nap, later walk to the local grocery store for our dinner, and then, toast the success of Hannah’s stem cell surgery with a fine Cabernet in our suite.

Fried, though Hannah’s feeling no pain, we are in bed by 8P.  That’s when our love kicks in.

Unbeknownst to me in my deep slumber of exhaustion, Hannah soon develops back pain pushing past 12 – on a scale of one to ten.  She can’t sleep.  I mean can’t sleep at all.  She showers; she walks the corridor of the motel’s second floor; she takes a bath; she lies in bed hoping to fall asleep.  Nothing works.  Her back hurts big time.

SH D and NR

Dan and Nancy Rose over brunch at the Summerland Cafe, south of Santa Barbara

And this is where Hannah calls on the wisdom of our Santa Barbara and Unity friend Nancy Rose.   Earlier in the evening, Nancy Rose had emailed Hannah

Dear Hannah,

Just getting around to reading my emails.  I love your friend’s saying- “what soap does for the body, tears do for the soul” -beautiful.  You are good for my soul too, Hannah.  Take good care down there in Georgia.  You are in the best hands, and you know whose they are. 

Later, Hannah emails Nancy Rose.

SH Four of us D H NR Duncan

Dan, Hannah, Nancy, and Duncan earlier this year in Summerland, California

dear Nancy  

            Your latest email helped more than I can say….in the middle of the night last night (after my stem cell injections yesterday) I couldn’t sleep, was feeling aches down to my bones (lower back and back of my thighs), tossed and turned – and thought of your words: “You are in the best hands and you know whose they are.” Because of that sharing from you, I woke Dan up and let him be “God’s hands” in the middle of the night.

      I am so blessed. And I am so grateful for you, dear Nancy. And, for my Danny Boy.  my love – to you and your Duncan.

Hannah

As often in our 50 years together, I am the regular recipient of Hannah’s love, and tonight was another such case.   Hannah wakes me and we cuddle as she tells me of her incessant back pain and inability to sleep.   For me, I am so damn pleased she woke me; I hold her snugly until she is ready to give sleeping another shot.

A few hours later, she wakes me again, still unable to sleep or get comfortable.   We walk the motel corridors together before dawn while everyone else, except us two, sleeps.

And that, my friends, Hannah waking me in the middle of the night is one way of our love…

PS Oh yeah, we’ll remember the Tylenol next time.

Dan with Hannah Makes a Comeback

When I last posted about my late June episode of temporary amnesia (Part 6 of Dan Loses His Mind as His World is Shaken, Rattled, and Rolled), I concluded that blog with my appointment with Dr. Maslinski, a local neurologist.   Click here for the link to that blog.

CB HM 1

A simple 2017 Holter Monitor

At that July 5 appointment, the good doctor wanted me to wear a Holter monitor for 48 hours to check out the electrical activity of my heart (EKG); basically to see if my episode was a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) that caused my symptoms.  To lay folk, a TIA is often thought of as a benign mini-stroke.

A TIA is a temporary blockage of blood flow to the brain that doesn’t cause permanent damage.  That said, ignoring it can be a big mistake since a TIA may signal that a full-blown stroke is coming down the pike.

CB HM 2

One pale dude who knows no shame sporting a Holter Monitor on his right hip

July 24 is Holter Monitor Installation Day.  At the cardiac unit of York (Maine) Hospital, a cardiologist technician attaches five electrodes to my chest, each with a wire to the Holter Monitor; a device that is no more than 1.5” x 2.5” that fits neatly in a plastic holster on my waist.  Installed in less than ten minutes, the monitor has one non-negotiable – no showers for the next 48 hours.

During the day, whether playing pickleball, working out at the gym, playing ping pong, or chilling at home, the monitor is so non-obtrusive that I don’t even know it’s there.

Nighttime?  Sleep is not restful as I reposition the monitor as I inevitably move in bed.  Even so, the Holter monitor is a minor inconvenience over two days.

Eight days later on August 4, I have my second appointment with Dr. Maslinski to go over the results of the electrocardiogram (EKG) from the Holter monitor.

As when meeting with medical professionals, I come with my hopes and my unwarranted expectations.

CB Hope 2

Hope #1The Holter Monitor will identify whether I had a TIA.  The EKG indicated that my heart is basically normal, one any 69-year-old would be proud to call his own.  What happened to me was not likely a TIA.  Still, I am on baby aspirin for the foreseeable future since something heart-related can’t be ruled out.

Hope #2The neurologist would have an idea what did happen.  He does.  He thinks it’s a TGA.  Transient Global Amnesia is a sudden, temporary episode when recall of recent events simply vanishes.  Although a TGA isn’t harmful, there’s no easy way to distinguish the condition from the life-threatening illnesses that can also cause sudden memory loss.

Hope #3He will know why it happened to me specifically.  No dice.  While there is a name for what happened, why it happened remains a mystery, as it did 15 years ago during my first such episode.  He is leaning toward something epileptic (hence putting me on the anti-seizure medication Keppra).

Hope #4 – I’d be able to stop taking the twice daily Keppra medication (for seizures) that I’ve been on for the last month.   That’s not happening any time soon.  Since I had a previous incident, albeit fifteen years ago, he cannot rule out that a seizure is at play.  Hence, Keppra for the coming year.  That we don’t have to meet til late next June suggests to me that the doctor is not overly concerned about my condition.  I put that in the plus column.

Hope #5 – I’ll be able to drive three months after the episode!  And that I will be able to do, if I have no repeat episodes.  And another incident, in my mind, is not likely as I am on anti-seizure Keppra; and it’s been 15 years since my last episode.  He did say that he did not inform the Department of Motor Vehicles of my status because he believed I would follow the law.  It’s not tough sizing me up as a first child, rule-follower.   He did say, he does inform DMV if someone presents as “non-compliant.”

Many people wonder if not driving is a big deal.  It hasn’t been.  Largely due to Hannah’s sweetness and that we are retired.    She and I balance our schedules and make trips happen without too much grief.

To me, Dr. Maslinski’s caution seems reasonable, especially considering this being my second episode.

Could dehydration have triggered this event?

Fact #1 – Without fail for the 2+ months since my episode, I continue daily to drink my 40 ounces of water throughout the morning.

Fact #2 – I have not had a repeat episode.

Fact #3 – Two plus two is four.

Fact #4 – I am not sure I really understand syllogisms any better now than I did when I barely earned a C in a Logic course at the College of Wooster.

Fact #5 – No doctor has suggested a connection between dehydration and a TGA.

CB hospital costs

So, what does something like this cost in 2017?  I had no idea a CAT Scan costs $1,053; an echocardiogram sets one back $1,454; an MRI goes for a cool $2,069; the charge for a carotid artery test is $652; an electroencephalography (EEG) is a mere $561.

In my six pages of detailed charges from York Hospital, I can’t find the cost of my hospital room for the night.  But considering that to date, the total charges are $12,822.93, my overnight stay couldn’t have been cheap.

I am a fortunate dude.

Dan and Hannah and Sharing Our Good Fortune (Part Deux)

Molly July

Re: treating another

The day before we are to meet at the golf course, I email Molly and say, I want to treat you to golf and breakfast tomorrow.  And then I add, Sometime down the road, consider paying it forward when you happen to be out with someone else.

How cool is that!  Oui?

So, what do you think?  What do you do in these situations?  Post your comments beneath the blog or let’s talk more on this subject the next time we get together.

Dan and Hannah and Sharing Our Good Fortune  

At times, Hannah and I wonder how to share our good fortune…

…without that genuine act of generosity screwing up our relationships.  If you are on the giving end, you know that there can be great satisfaction and a self-confidence that can grow when treating others.  But it’s not all that simple.

How does the one being taken care of feel?  Their confidence?  Their feeling that they are pulling their own weight?  Can treating another easily throw relationships out of balance with one party holding all the cards and the other wondering how can I ever repay these genuine acts of kindness?  I don’t have the money to do so.

coffee and muffin

Hannah knows sometimes it isn’t easy for another to accept her offer to treat them to coffee and a muffin when they go out together.  It can be complicated for many reasons.  She smooths it out by saying to her friend, It’s Dan’s treat.  Pretty cool, n’est-ce pas?

We try to be thought-full when we are treating others.  Just because we may have more money, we don’t want to set up an unhealthy superior/inferior dynamic.  You know the kind, where having more means, means we are the ones feeling good by treating and taking care of others.

And worse, the one being paid for could get used to being paid for.  And then come to expect it, possibly eroding their self-esteem.  It can be a complicated picture when true generosity is at the heart of the giving.

golf with molly

On the 7th green at the Amesbury Country Club

In late August, I wanted to treat our daughter Molly to nine holes of golf at dawn at the Amesbury Country Club and breakfast after at the Morning Buzz.   In June, she treated me for Father’s Day to golf and breakfast and later that summer, I paid the bill for those two for her birthday.

So, how to go about paying this third time?  At this time in our lives, Hannah and I have much more disposable income than she and Tip.  Still, I don’t want paying for golf and breakfast this morning to complicate and distort our relationship.

And I came up with a brilliant finesse.

Tomorrow I’ll post that finesse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dan Loses His Mind While his World is Shaken, Rattled, and Rolled (part 6 of 6)

Prelude:  Many people have approached me in the three weeks since my temporary amnesia/aphasia event saying something like “It must have been scary.”  It was scary in 2002.  At that time, with similar symptoms, I had no idea what the future held.  It scared the sh%$ out of me.

Since it happened before, this time wasn’t so scary.   For the first hour in 2017, I had no idea what was happening.  Why would I be scared if I had no idea what was going on!

During the second hour I could sense I was remembering more and speaking a little more clearly.  I was not scared; I was encouraged, especially since I remembered that previously in 2002 I came out the other end just fine.

If it happened again in the coming year, now that would be scary!

So, what do we know with any certainty?   Not much.

Fact #1: On June 27, 2017, I had a temporary episode of amnesia (I didn’t remember squat) and aphasia (gibberish flowed from my mouth).

TIA or TEA are acronyms being thrown around as possible diagnoses.

TIA stands for a transient ischemic attack (ischemic relating to the heart).

Hitch D and H with paddles

Re: TIA.  My echocardiogram and carotid artery tests suggest that my ticker is doing just fine.  No surprise, my parents lived healthy lives into their 90s.  To cover all bases, the neurologist wants me to start taking baby aspirin daily, just in caseAspirin prevents blood clots from forming in the arteries. It can help certain people lower their risk of a heart attack or stroke.

I have no limit on my physical activity; pickleball, ping pong, and working out at the gym top my agenda.

Next week, the neurologist wants me to wear a Holter monitor for 48 hours, which will continuously record my heart’s activity as I go about my daily activities.  I’ll keep you updated.

But a TIA is not the neurologist’s first choice.

It’s the TEA.   TEA stands for transient epileptiform amnesia (which in my case might apply since the neurologist couldn’t rule out some form of epilepsy after reading my EEG (electroencephalogram).  So, there’s no certainty, but it’s the leading choice in the clubhouse.

YH bases

To cover all bases again, I have been put on a low dose (500 mg twice a day) of Keppra to prevent seizures, if some form of epilepsy is what I have.

The bottom line is that the neurologist doesn’t know what caused my temporary amnesia/aphasia.

YH safety net

So, a reasonably wide net has been thrown to cover a host of possibilities.  I get that and am thankful for the caution.

After such an event, by law I am not allowed to drive for three months.   I get that caution, too.  Not driving will be inconvenient but hardly a sacrifice.  I am retired.  Hannah and I regularly play pickleball and go to the gym together.   I have a modest social life (read: limited).

So, for three months, we err on the side of caution despite an uncertain diagnosis and no explanation for a cause.

YH dehydration

I wonder whether dehydration due to caffeine consumption and not drinking enough water (2002) and not drinking enough water (2017) might have triggered the temporary amnesia/aphasia.  The medical professionals never suggest such a connection.  And why this time, when I have been dehydrated many times before?

Without any explanation for the cause of my two events (2002 and 2017), I still wonder.

Takeaways:

YH water

Whether dehydration had anything to do with my temporary amnesia/aphasia, I have become a zealot for drinking water daily.  Each morning when I awake, I drink two eight-ounce glasses of water.  Three more follow: mid-morning, before lunch, and with lunch.  Dehydration will not be the cause of any future such event.

I live in a town on the coast of Maine with a great community hospital and in a country with excellent Medicare health coverage for seniors.  I’d recommend York Hospital for its effective loving kindness health care.

YH David and Dan

David Stoloff, my department chair at Eastern, stopped by to check on me.

Since posting of these blogs, I have appreciated many people contacting me and wishing me well.

I heard from a childhood friend who referred to me as Brother Dan in his email of support.

Thank you, Brother Tom.

Dan Loses His Mind While his World is Shaken, Rattled, and Rolled  (Part 5 of 6)

As I am wheeled up to room 220 at York Hospital for the night, much is on my plate.

First, I love the ER staff, nurses and docs of York Hospital; even though I don’t remember their names, I thank them for their kindnesses.  Being more “with-it” later in the evening, I do remember Jo, Tracey, and Nicki, up on the second floor.  I felt their loving kindness and professionalism.   Pretty sweet combo for my nurses.

As I nestle into bed this Tuesday night, some five plus hours after coming into the ER, I am pretty much coherent, speaking intelligibly, and remembering how good life is.  One helluva far cry from a few hours ago.

Tomorrow morning, I have three bad boys lined up to see if there are answers for my temporary amnesia/aphasia; 15 years ago there were no answers.

The echocardiogram will look at how blood flows through the chambers of my heart, heart valves, and blood vessels.   Might some blockage be the reason for my short-term amnesia/aphasia?

The carotid artery ultrasound builds on the info from the “echocardio.”  It creates pictures to show how blood is flowing through my arteries.  When arteries become clogged with cholesterol (i.e. the technical term is “excess crap”), they can become dangerously narrow.  Could clogged arteries be a cause of my brief whacked-out-ed-ness?

The EEG (electroencephalogram) detects electrical activity in my brain.  The test diagnoses seizures and epilepsy, which could be the cause of my temporary-out-of-mindness.

As the Red Sox game ends this evening, I am with-it enough to appreciate the health care I have.   My mind takes a simple leap to the question – How many millions will lose such health care if Republican Washington has their way?  I’m begging you, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), don’t be bullied.  I have my fingers crossed.

From 11P to 1230A, I flip between the Red Sox game highlights and ESPN Sports Center, but little is of interest and still I don’t fall asleep.

At 1230A, still wide awake, I buzz for some Tylenol for a slight headache and for a sleeping pill.  I never take sleeping pills, but I’d like to get a little sleep before dawn, less than five hours away.  The doc approvals Tramadol, but it does little and I muddle through the night, occasionally sleeping.

Sometime around 2A, I buzz the nurses for another pit stop as I am hooked up to a saline solution which keeps me well-hydrated.   And then, all of sudden, I am looking up at the faces of four beautiful nurses.  It seems my blood pressure was 65 over 35!   I got up a little too quickly from my bed.  Fortunately, one nurse caught me as I tumbled.  Unfortunately, I have to use a bottle to pee in from now on!

At 540A, I give up and turn on Sports Center; amazing how boring baseball highlights for 15 separate games can be.  I mute the TV, then text on my iPhone to pass the time.  Thoughout the morning, three angels visit: thank you, Corky and Scott and Tree.

My morning line-up of heavyweights:   electrocardiogram at 8A;  carotid artery test at 11A; and the EEG immediately thereafter.  Dr. Mark Graziano, my PCP (primary care physician of 35 years), will fill me in on the details tomorrow.   Does everyone get such prompt care?   I am guessing it’s the norm at York Hospital, here on the Gold Coast of Maine.   Rural and inner city America?   I’m not betting on that.

YH Owen and Max

Watching Dinosaur Train in style

After the 90-minute EEG test at 1230P, I am wheeled passed a waiting area where Hannah, Owen, and Max talk to Corky.   Delighted as I am to see them, I am chomping at the bit to transition home (discharge seems like such a disgusting verb filled with sewage and waste).

While I wait, Owen and Max lounge on my hospital bed and watch their favorite show, Dinosaur Train on PBS.

Released after 2P, I have instructions to take a baby aspirin once a day and don’t drive until the neurologist checks me out.

On Saturday, part 6 is a wrap (to use a Hollywood term); my temporary amnesia/aphasia saga concludes with the test results, what could be an explanation of what has happened to me, and the changes that are coming to me for the short and long term.

Dan Loses His Mind While his World is Shaken, Rattled, and Rolled  (Part 4 of 6) 

In a side room off the ER at York Hospital, dressed in my hospital johnnie, I am aware something is changing.   And that’s a good thing.  Having entered the ER in a haze an hour ago, now, just after 7P, I can tell the fog is lifting because I am starting to sense what is happening around me.  Though I don’t know the answers to the medical staff’s basic questions, previously I didn’t know they were even asking questions.  That’s progress.

YH YH logo

Earlier in the evening at home when all hell was breaking loose, Hannah had called Mandy with the apt summation that Dan is acting weird.  Mandy said she would come when Hannah needed her.  At this point, Mandy’s daughter Sammie said, Mom you can’t wait, you have to go now.  Is that a great kid, or what!

When Mandy arrives at our house on Chases Pond Road, Hannah has already taken me to the ER.  Mandy then drives on to the hospital where she watches Owen and Max while Hannah tends to her whacked-out husband of 45 years.

Once it seems that I will be staying for the night, Hannah asks Mandy to follow her home and then return to the hospital with my overnight bag.  While Hannah puts our grandsons Owen and Max to bed, Mandy returns with a change of clothes, my journal, my iPhone, my Scrabble dictionary, shaving kit, and latest Sports Illustrated.   But something much more.

YH Mandy and Han

Mandy and Hannah

Her presence.   You see, Mandy stays when I need someone.  As Woody Allen says, 90% of life is showing up.  And show up Mandy does.

What I need is someone just to listen.  After being totally unaware of what the hell is going on, things are now less fuzzy in my brain.  Slowly, pieces of information are starting to come into focus.

Something else is starting to happen – I begin drinking glass after glass of water.  Fifteen years ago when a similar temporary amnesia/aphasia occurred, I felt that dehydration might have been contributed to my problem.   After pounding my third 20 ounce plastic cup of water, I am feeling alert and aware.  Could dehydration be a connection the medical professionals are missing?  Or is my condition just running its course?

I spend the next hour sipping water and talking nearly non-stop to Mandy about things in my life that I am starting to remember.  My constant chatter is proving to myself that I am coming out of this rabbit hole of amnesia, aphasia, and confusion.  I know I am talking a lot, but Mandy gets it.  She understands that my words are going a long way in convincing me that I am going to be okay.

As I come out of the fog this evening, Mandy’s presence is a gift beyond anything material she could ever give me.

After 9P, Mandy steps out when Dr. Braden fills me in on what’s what.  I am staying the night and tomorrow there will be some big-time tests of my heart and brain.  Shortly thereafter, the nurse wheels me up to room 220.

Next Wednesday, part 5 highlights my overnight in the hospital and my road to recovery.