Thursday, September 12, 2013

Update For The Down Stroke

Dear friends and angels,
time to update you all with the latest from my restoration. It has been one month to the day since I entered the stroke telemetry unit in the Kari and Dick Clark Neuroscience Unit at Providence St. Joseph's in Burbank. Those folks took really good care of me. I continue to get great care from the Missus and a raft of great doctors and support staff. However, there are times when the waters get choppy. To paraphrase CS Lewis, miracles occur when things are crap. My miracle, I am ever grateful for and very aware of.

"The best part of waking not dying in your sleep."
- Comedian Adam Ray, spoofing the Folger's jingle

I say a lot of prayers upon greeting each day. God is magnificent. When I wake up, I start the day thanking God for all of the wonders of this life. I try to name names, too; that may include you. Don't hesitate to contact me, if you want me to specifically pray for you (and you know who you are).

I keep a pretty tight schedule of meals and meds. I'm getting used to it. My diet is pretty limited. I'm removing as many sugars and processed foods as possible to expedite the healing. So along with my leafies, I'm also reducing the chips and the popcorn. Sigh. All in the name of better health. It's about anti-inflammatory foods. My brain is inflamed! I've already weaned myself down to decaf coffee. I still have black tea (with caffeine), but that's the extent of it. Thank goodness, I broke myself of Coke and soft drinks years ago. My outing today was to Whole Foods to find fun, healthy foods to add to the plate. Coconut is my friend! I'm looking forward to trying something sweet called Goji Maca Snakaroons.

"My brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare"
- David Bowie, Five Years

Another thing I am still getting used to is relaxing. From an early age, we are encouraged to go-go-go. Now, I have be slow, slow, slow. So, what am I doing with my time? A lot and a little. I do a lot of napping, depending on how much I have slept the night before. Because of my injury, the blood flow to my head plays a big factor in how well I sleep at night. It's hit or miss. Between that and the meds, imagine feeling woozy for 23 hours out of the day. You're getting close.

I fill the days with listening to music with my new turntable. It's a beaut! A vintage Kenwood KD-600 that I picked up from Atomic Records on Magnolia in Burbank. Love those guys. I dust off my vinyl and crank up the phonograph. If you follow me on Twitter or facebook, you've seen pictures of me sitting on the living room floor, exactly as I did when I was five, spinning records. Somedays have a theme, like Barry Gibb Day or Michael Jackson Day to commemorate a birthday; or if you suggest one (Marvin Gaye Saturday Morning was cool). Other times, I simply start pulling from the racks and let the albums dictate the flow of the music.

One of my favorite pastimes is entertaining Sir Perceval with my guitar stylings. I am able to practice about an hour a day on my trusty Yamaha acoustic or my Tele (yes, it is nicknamed Green Tea to complement the Cream Tea puppy). Nothing like a stroke to help you woodshed your major scales. Even though my short-term memory is still a little lousy, I am learning new music and teaching myself (or relearning and reteaching), as the case may be. Either way, I take these as positive steps in the recovery process. I have been truly inspired by the few live performances I have been able to attend since my release. Thank you, Dan Janisch and Rich McCulley.

There are still many challenges. I can't move very quickly and my balance is off. And I found out why. I went to an audiologist, via the ENT. I did a hearing test and due to the lack of blood flow over the ten lost days, I suffered nerve damage to the right side of my inner ear that resulted in hearing loss and imbalance. That makes sense; but God-willing that is temporary, too.

Last night, we made it to the Dodger game. Shoot, I got through as many innings as LA's starter Ryu. We had fun in our front-row foul line seats. It was a great night, even though the Dodgers didn't win. I get one major journey out of the house per day and I don't take them for granted. As I wrote this morning on facebook after my visit to the blood laboratory:

No matter how crappy and industrial the surroundings; no matter how kitschy the architecture; no matter how poorly the flowers and planters appear; if you are outdoors and upright and looking at them under your own steam, thank the mighty Lord! Amen.

Somedays I do feel much better and look better. I have heard plenty of anecdotes about stroke survivors who haven't been so fortunate as myself. It is humbling. So, what you all see in the singular snapshots on line are me at my most tip-top during any given day. 15 minutes out of the 24 hours. I am fighting to get back in shape; but the main part of the fight is in playing possum. I have had a few visitors to the house which has been fun. Oddly enough, even friends who are not on facebook, ha ha. I have also had some wonderful long-distance (long-overdue) phone calls with childhood friends. It has been sublime to reconnect with you and pick up conversations where they left off one-five-ten years ago.

I hope to have some exciting music news for you all shortly from home and abroad. We'll see. Huckleberry Finn as a track and video continues to build momentum even as I recuperate at home. Tonight is the premiere for The Death Together in Las Vegas. That is the film that features songs from A Talent For Loving. I'm looking forward to a Los Angeles screening.

I am thankful that you all are concerned about me and my misadventures; that you are supporting my Missus in these strange and beautiful times; and that you continue to keep my family and me in your prayers for complete healing and restoration. My prayers for you are for great health, peace and grace in your lives.

Ah! The dinner bell has rung and you can't unring that either!