Monday, December 22, 2014

'Tis The Season

The tree is decorated and our three cats are trying their hardest to undo our efforts.  Watching their antics is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season.

Nine years ago, I missed this annual entertainment and spent a month in an Intensive Care Unit.  Surgery saved my life, but caused other problems including a blood clot that resulted in a stroke two weeks after my release from the hospital.  Strokes impact so many things.  I lost my sense of taste.  I struggled to find words for everyday objects.  I couldn’t roll over in bed or lift my feet without assistance.  I experienced bladder and bowel incontinence.  I was dizzy and uncoordinated, spilling drinks and splattering food.  The stroke changed my life forever and it changed my family’s life as well.

Things did improve, although the pace was slow.  After a year, my sense of taste began to return and I regained control of my bladder and bowels.  In subsequent years dizziness gradually abated and chronic fatigue lessened.  The transition from wheelchair to walker to cane took eight years.  Today I can walk unassisted on smooth, level surfaces.

 It’s been a long haul, but I am alive and able to enjoy the daily activities that I once took for granted.  The same is not true for everyone who has a blood clot.  Margaret Cooper lost her life from a pulmonary blood clot a few weeks after a fall, which slightly cracked a kneecap.   The American Blood Clot Association was founded in her honor with a mission to educate, prevent, diagnose and treat the effects of blood clots.   

Pulmonary embolisms, deep vein thrombosis and clot related strokes are deadly.  Do you know the symptoms of a blood clot?  Your own life or the life of a loved one may depend on it.  Visit The American Blood Clot Association to learn more. It’s the season for giving, so while you’re there, consider making a gift to support this lifesaving effort.  Every six minutes, a person dies from a blood clot.  Your donation can help to change that.  What a wonderful holiday gift! 

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