February 15, 2020

"Stroke Survivor Falls in Love, Again"

 The stroke happened almost three years ago while driving down an Interstate on an Easter Sunday morning. Luckily, my 86-year old mother was in the passenger seat and grabbed the wheel to crash us on the side of the highway. Two good Samaritans stopped to help, and I was soon taken by ambulance to two different hospitals. The second one was able to conduct a thrombectomy, whereby they inserted a catheter through an artery in my groin, snaked it into my brain, and, with a basket, “caught the clot.” (It sounds like a video game, doesn’t it?) The procedure saved my life.
I had to have many hours of physical, occupational, and speech therapies to get to where I am now. It’s been a long haul, and I’m still getting better. I consider myself not a stroke “victim,” but rather a stroke SURVIVOR. I’m alive!!!
For a recent birthday, my husband surprised me with a trip to Paris, a city in which I spent my salad days. As a young American girl right out of college, I lived in the 17th arrondissement and worked in a law firm as an assistant to the chief partner’s secretary. My French was parfait. But after my stroke, I thought I would never have the strength to travel to Europe again. I was afraid of how jetlag might affect my double vision. Since I was four years old, I’ve had it, but would the fatigue from overseas travel make my double vision worse? Would I see two-times the ghost images that I usually see?
One of our stops was the Eiffel Tower, where I saw a woman in a wheelchair being pushed by her husband. I was overwhelmed. That could have been me. When my husband saw me crying, he knew exactly why.
“It looks like she has something congenital. Yours is more from your stroke,” Andrew said as he wiped my tears.
My husband has been my hero. He encourages me and is honest with me. I am slightly aphasic and weak on my right side. During the trip, Andrew was patient with my walking and keeping up with him. We stayed in a flat in the 6th arrondissement on the third floor of a historic building. No elevator. I let Andrew go ahead of me because it takes me longer to climb all those stairs. But I did it!
Andrew studying the map. He knew which way to go with 100% accuracy. (Studying cartography in college paid off.)
My hands might be shakier, and my walk less brisk. I keel to the right after a long day … but I’m alive. Whenever I start feeling low, I catch myself and say, “It could have been so much worse.”
Live your life to the fullest, and be grateful that you are waking up to a new day. And I wish it on everyone to feel how wondrous it is to fall in love again with the man I’ve been married to for more than three-and-a-half decades. Life is so incredibly good.  

February 14, 2020

Featured on MEDIUM: "Stroke Survivor Falls in Love, Again"

A story for Valentine's Day ...

Click here for Stroke Survivor Falls in Love, Again on MEDIUM.

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January 29, 2020

Trump at Davos on Climate Change

Hey, did you catch our president at Davos? Our friend Pierre Bizalion is a cartoonist and just sent me this. I'd say you got him, Biz. Bravo! Bien fait.

January 21, 2020

It's "Squirrel Appreciation Day"!!! Don't Miss the Hoopla!!!

Just when you thought there was a respite between New Year's and Valentine's Day, check your google calendar one more time. It's ...

Squirrel Appreciation Day!!

Click here for my HuffPost on what makes these creatures so flippin' cunning and adorable at the same time.

January 17, 2020

My Letter From Mister Rogers Himself

Remember when you could write a letter to a movie star, politician, or hero and get a response? My house is filled with framed letters to me from, amongst others, Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, James Stewart, futurist writer Isaac Asimov, Robert Goulet, the Lady-in-Waiting to Her Royal Highness, and Mr. Rogers himself.

I wrote to him when my son was 2 years old, hoping he would write back. I thought a letter from him would be a nice remembrance for David, an avid fan of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," the pre-school television series that ran from 1968-2001. I love it when Mr. Rogers writes, "You are fortunate to have a mother who cares so much about what is important to you."

With the two Mister Rogers films out in the past two years -- "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" (film, 2019) and "Won't You Be My Neighbor" (documentary, 2018) -- we especially prize this letter. It's like having something from the cool guy in town.

One of my favorite Mr. Rogers quotes, and there were many, is:  "All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we're giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That's one of the things that connects us as neighbors -- in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver."

It's a good feeling to know that Fred Rogers was a "Television Friend" to us all.             

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