Friday, April 13, 2012

Ted's Stroke

As I mentioned about a week ago, Ted had a stroke in early February. He had laid down in bed on a Friday night as we were getting ready to listen to our youngest son's (Alex) radio show from his college. Even though he's been doing a radio show for a year and a half, it was going to be streaming live for the first time and we were so excited to be able to listen to it.

After Alex introduced himself and the first song, Ted rolled onto his side and said, "What's wrong with me? What's going on?"

I thought he was just messing with me, so I asked him what he meant, then looked at him and saw his face all contorted. I went over to him and again thought he was just trying to trick me, so I told him I was going to call 9-1-1. After the fourth time I said it, I added, "I really mean it this time. I'm going to call right now."

And I did.

The dispatcher was absolutely wonderful. He told me to take Ted's hands and have him squeeze mine. He couldn't do it. Then the dispatcher had me ask Ted to smile. He couldn't do it. The dispatcher said that the ambulance was on its way. I hung up, got a robe on (yes I was in my nightclothes), went to the foyer to unlock the door and turn on some lights. When I got back to the bedroom, Ted was "with it" and asked me what was going on. I told him the ambulance was on their way. "For WHO???"



"You've been out of it for about 6 or 7 minutes."

He couldn't believe it.

When the paramedics got here, they were just great. They talked to him, checked his pulse ox and blood sugar. Both were fine. They asked me to describe what happened, and for those of you who know me in real life, you can attest to the fact that I gave a very detailed description. They asked him questions and he could answer them, however his left side was numb.

At some point during all this, I called Ted's brother Tim and told him what was going on. They live behind us and over a little. I figured that they would see the lights of the ambulance and wonder what was going on. Tim answered with "We're listening to Alex right now." Then I had to tell him why I really called. I asked him to call their sister, who lives next door to us, and fill her in since I was going to be leaving in a few minutes. Patty, Tim's wife, called back and said they'd go to the hospital with us. I appreciated the offer immensely, but by this time it was 10:30 pm and I wasn't going to drag them out of the house at that hour. I thanked them, then told them I'd keep them informed.

They were getting him ready to transport him to the hospital, and once he was on the cot, he asked the ultimate question....

"Are we going code three?"

I said, "He watches too much Adam-12."

They all laughed then and said it was probably going to be code two.

For those of you who are not Adam-12 aficionados, code three is lights and sirens; code two is just lights.

They left, I got dressed, made a couple of quick phone calls, stopped by my folks' place to pick up my mom (a retired RN who is a wealth of information), and got to the hospital not long after they did.

We were in the E.R. for quite a while, during which time Ted had blood work done, and a CT of the brain. Some time after 1:00 am, the E.R. doctor said that his blood work was good, his CT scan showed nothing unusual, and he felt that Ted had either a mini-stroke or a seizure. He also said they were going to admit him for observation.

Mom and I left shortly after that, and after I dropped her off, I came home and noticed on the caller I.D. that Alex had called a couple of times and knew that he would be concerned that we didn't answer the phone. I texted him and asked if he was still up. He was, and then he called.

I had to tell him what happened, then he said he was coming home even though it was the middle of the night. I told him to let me know when he got here, and at 3:30 am, he woke me up.

The next day we went to the hospital and Ted had a migraine. When he gets migraines, it's not pretty in the least. Alex went back home and got Ted's c-pap machine (for sleep apnea) and brought it in so Ted could get some good sleep. After a while, Ted started throwing up, which is normal for him when he has a migraine. After that, all he wanted to do was sleep.

Later that night I talked to him on the phone and he said he felt a lot better. He also said that there were some tests planned for him, but they hadn't told him when they would be.

Sunday morning he was released and on Monday morning I made appointments for an echocardiogram, carotid artery ultrasound, and an MRI of the brain. After that week of testing, we had to wait until the following week to get the results. The neurologist told us this....

"You had a stroke. Not a mini-stroke, but a stroke. However, it is recoverable. It will just take time."

Ted was a little upset when we left, but we sat on the bench outside the hospital and talked a little. I told him that this was the best news we could have gotten and he looked at me like I was crazy. Then I said that it was NOT an aneurysm; it was NOT a tumor; it was NOT multiple sclerosis; this was the best possible thing it could be AND he would more than likely completely recover from it. I told him we needed to start getting back to "normal," so we decided he could drive home instead of me.

Since then he has changed medical doctors and is almost finished with physical therapy and occupational therapy...two more sessions of each. The neurologist did not suggest the pt/ot, but the medical doctor did. It really has helped.

However, his left side is still numb and tingly. He also gets tired very easily, but it's much better than what it was. He used to take 4-5 naps a day, now it's only one.

He's a little on the grouchy side at times, but that's to be expected. He gets very frustrated at times, but again, that's to be expected. He still can't work, and that just adds to his frustration.

Ted and Alex at Alex's fraternity chartering ceremony in October 2011.

I just keep in mind that it could always be worse.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Many many years ago when I was a little girl, I would arise very early so that I could see what the Easter Bunny brought me. I was very fortunate, as there was always a full basket along with a couple other things that were not candy.

One particular year, it was still dark when I woke up, and I was WIDE awake. After surveying my basket, I sat on the living room floor with a couple of pieces of candy and tried to watch TV. Way back then, in the stone age, there were not very many channels to chose from and those that we had were not "on" 24 hours a day. However, I came across a show that I watched very intently. It was the story of Good Friday and Easter, being done in a very dramatic way. I was mesmerized by it. Although I knew the story, I'd never pictured it in my mind.

This show had me in tears several times, seeing how badly Jesus was treated, how unbelievably painful it must have been for him and the other two who had spikes driven through their hands and feet so that they could be attached to the crosses. I couldn't understand (at that time) why no one would help these people.

To say this had a profound impact on me, is an understatement.

And then he came back to life. Wow.

Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 6, 2012's been a LONG time

I was so surprised that my blog was still here and hadn't been deleted by the "powers that be." Maybe that's a sign that I should get back to writing, hmmmm....

Well, let's see...since I last wrote, our oldest son is still a student working on his second Bachelor's degree at a MAJOR university in northeast Ohio. He really enjoys writing and is hoping that this second degree will take him in a direction in which he will get to use his skills. He also has a girlfriend that we have met and like.

Our younger son is finishing up his junior year at a much smaller liberal arts college in east central Ohio and is an officer in his fraternity. He's working on finding an internship for this summer and is majoring in Communication. He has gotten a lot of experience in TV, radio, and print media at his university and really seems to enjoy it.

The hubby has had a rough time as of late. In early February he suffered a stroke. We've been told by several doctors that it is a "recoverable" stroke, but as of yet, he is still numb and tingly on his left side. He's doing physical therapy and occupational therapy twice a week now and that seems to be helping, but he is in no-way ready to return to work. Hopefully in the next few months we may get a "return to work date" and that will make like much easier.

I am still teaching and still enjoying it, although a few more snow days this past winter would have been nice. We only had one. We're just finishing a week of spring break and I think that we'll all be better for it. We (the staff and the students) all needed a little break. We have state testing coming up in a few weeks, so we'll be working hard on that as soon as we get back.

I've gotten into discovering my ancestry over the last year or so and have come across some interesting photos. This is one of my grandparents when they got married in 1931. Grandma's sister (my Aunt Louise) and her husband (my Uncle Jim) stood up for them when they got married.

That's about it from here. Hope life has been treating you well!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Counting My Blessings

As you may or may not be aware, Ohio's governor is attempting to get a bill through that will do away with collective bargaining. For some reason, he feels the need to aim his focus on police officers, firefighters, teachers and all other state employees. Unfortunately, the bill has gone through the Ohio Senate (it passed 17-16) and is now in committee in the Ohio House of Representatives.

If this bill (Senate Bill 5) passes, as it is currently written, teachers' salaries will be reduced to $17,000 to $32,000 a year. This is a DRASTIC cut for many teachers who have moved up the pay scale to the $55,000 level. Our district tops out at around $62,000 a year for teachers with a masters degree plus 32 additional credit hours.

(Do not EVEN start on the bit about being paid during the summer and having 3 months off. If you've done your homework, you know that argument is ridiculous.)

We currently pay $20 a month toward our health insurance. I can't tell you enough how fortunate we are to have such good health insurance. So far my cancer episode has cost almost $200,000 and I've only had to pay about $5,000 out of pocket.

SB 5 states that we will pay 20% of our insurance. I know what it costs the district to insure me and my family (a little over $17,000 a year), so I've done the math. Instead of paying $20 a month, I'll be paying close to $300 a month.

I'm still not sure of the correct interpretation, but I may also lose my seniority AND my continuing contract.

Of course we'll also lose the ability to strike (I don't think the teachers' union in our district has EVER gone on strike, and I doubt they would, so quite frankly, this is the least of my worries).

So, if SB 5 passes as it is written, I will have my pay cut by over 40% AND pay 15 times more than I am currently paying for my health insurance.

As you can imagine, morale in schools throughout the state of Ohio is pretty much at an all-time LOW.

And this is just how it will affect me and my family. And we have two kids in college right now.

I have not checked out the issues that law enforcement personnel and firefighters will face. The people who think nothing of putting themselves "in the line of fire" so to speak, will also have to take cuts, as will ALL state employees, because the governor wants to balance the budget. (I wonder if he'll be taking a cut in pay and paying more for his benefits too? I'm not EVEN going to get started on that!)

We are making cuts in our family budget, in case SB 5 passes as is. We usually order pizza every Saturday night (the pizza shop knows who we are as soon as I place the order...yes, we're regular customers), and we haven't done that for a few weeks. We usually eat out once (or occasionally twice) during the week, and we haven't done that for several weeks. On pay days at my school (every other Friday) we get to wear jeans. On the opposite Fridays we also get to wear jeans, but we have to pay $5 to do so, and the money is donated to a good cause. I'm sorry about not always contributing to the cause, but I'm not spending $5 to wear jeans. I haven't done that for the last two "pay-to-wear" jeans days. We were talking about going to Myrtle Beach this summer, as we haven't been there since 2006, but we're not going now. We'd also been sort of kicking around the idea of maybe thinking about beginning to look at a new vehicle. Hahaha...NOT GOING TO HAPPEN NOW! There are other ways we're trying to cut back, but I won't bore you with the details.

Even with all this going on, I know that I am truly blessed:

I have my family, and for the most part, everyone is healthy right now. (Ted is dealing with some knee/back issues but we hope to get them resolved soon.)

Our sons are doing well in college and learning about "life," in addition to academics.

We have vehicles that run well and are NOT in need of repair (*knock on wood*) at this moment.

Our cats bring us so much joy and laughter, that we can't imagine what we ever did before we adopted them.

Things will work out, one way or another. If the worst possible scenario comes to fruition, then at least we know we won't be going through it alone.

As I've said all along in my adult life...things could always be worse. That's why I'm counting my blessings.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Skip This Post if You Don't Like Pictures

The Christmas season has come and gone, but of course I feel the need to share some photos with all of you.

Pepina was just lying around Christmas morning, waiting for the festivities to begin.

Oliver was getting impatient and kept jumping up on the coffee table, then down, then repeating.

Pepina finally expressed a little interest when someone opened up a gift.

Marina was not about to get up off the packages, NO MATTER WHAT.

Pepina liked watching Joe open up his gifts.

Cousin-to-be Cathy, Cousin Damon, and my mom enjoying a deep conversation on how to create the world's most perfect wine slushie.

Cathy is holding Cousin Davene and Rick's newest family member, Rafiki. He's a very sweet kitty.

Once dinner was over, Alex and Joe continued their Christmas break hobby of catching up on their sleep while my dad talks to Ted (out of the picture).

Damon decided that the kitchen towel Cathy received could be better used as a loin cloth!

Davene and Joe, just chilling out.

Christmas is always fun, but it's even more entertaining when there are children involved! Sister-in-law Patty and Niece Holly are getting presents ready to pass out, while Jamie watches daughter Kaylee, and Niece Kelly plays with Great Nephew Michael.

Michael is looking at his various gifts.

Sister-in-law Patty, brother-in-law Tim, and Niece Holly enjoying the holidays.

Sister-in-law Peg is wondering where the crayons are so she can start coloring in Michael's coloring book.

Alex is holding Holly's kitty Sophie while Joe watches.

Then Joe took his turn with Sophie. Isn't she a beautiful cat?

And that pretty much sums up our various Christmas celebrations! How was your holiday season?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Since I Last Posted...

...we celebrated Thanksgiving with Ted's family,

Our great nephew Michael, sitting next to his mom, our niece Kelly.

Our other niece Holly, her mom (Aunt Patty), and Joe, who was taking the opportunity to catch a few winks.

Our brother-in-law Mac, and Alex, who is giving me a "look" about who knows what.

Joe, my other brother-in-law (aka Uncle Tim) and my other sister-in-law Aunt Peg buttering another roll.

After dinner Alex passed out various copies of his college newspaper so that we could all read some of the articles he has written. What a way to entertain guests! Fortunately, he's a good writer, so it was okay.

...celebrated Thanksgiving with my family,

My Aunt Dolores, cousin Davene, and her husband Rick, getting everything ready on the table.

My cousin Damon, his fiancee Cathy, and Davene, watching my mom take another drink of her wine.

Davene, Rick, and Alex...we're all too STUFFED to move!

My dad, my mom (telling another story), and Damon.

put up the tree and decorated it (but now the lights don't work and I'm in the midst of a Plan B, but wish I had a little more time to implement it),

made some holiday candy,

went to our school Christmas program (which was held at our high school gym and there were LOTS of people there!),

finished Christmas shopping,

Gift bags for my Reading Mastery students, in front of the pink tree they decorated AND the static cling they put up.

did a snowman craft with my Reading Mastery students,

Believe me, this was a "fly by the seat of your pants" type project. Even though I had it all thought out in my head, I'd never done it before and learned a LOT if I ever do it again!

attended Ted's work Christmas party (and had a very nice time),

This Turtle Cheesecake dessert was nothing less than absolutely FABULOUS!

got our annual Christmas letter written, cards addressed, and sent,

began baking,

and wrapped almost all of the gifts (just about 5 things to go!).


Later today I'll finish baking and wrapping, then maybe even clean the house a little. I've been letting that go, as I just haven't had the time to take care of it. Joe and Alex are both home from college and although I just LOVE having them home, I've gone from cleaning the kitchen a couple times a week, to cleaning it about twice a day.

I understand that Christmas is coming in two days, whether I'm ready or not.

I'm really looking forward to spending time with the family....that's all I need to make Christmas special.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's Been a While

Yes, I'm still around.

Life has sort of gotten a little busy at times, and I've not been blogging. I hope to get back to it soon, and be much more consistent about my posts.

School is going okay. It could be better, but I'm trying not to get all stressed out about things I have no control over. I've been trying to leave work "stuff" at work and enjoy my time at home. I'm also not staying after school nearly as much this year. Those days of staying until 6 or 7 pm, are OVER. It's not that I don't love what I do, because I DO! It's just that the more of myself that I give to my job, the more that's expected of me. I don't mind giving 150% all the time, but it gets discouraging when it's not noticed or appreciated, and then expected.

Like I said, I absolutely love what I's so rewarding to see the sparkle in a child's eye, and a huge smile when they "get" something. It's like they've just discovered a new world! I work with some second graders on a computer program called "Math Facts in a Flash." It breaks basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts into levels, and a student needs to complete 40 facts correctly in 2 minutes or less in order to go on to the next level. Even though I work with them on their facts, their regular classroom teacher also schedules time for them to work independently on this computer program. When I see these kids in the cafeteria when I have duty, they just love to tell me that they passed a certain level. I try to make them feel like they've won the lottery, because many of them don't get much recognition at home. I love seeing their reactions when I gush over them passing levels. That's what makes my job so great.

So anyway, it's not the kids that make me frustrated, it's the other factors.

Alex turned 20 last weekend, so we told him that we would take him and a couple of his friends to dinner in a city near his college.

Megan, Tino, and Alex...The guys decided to wear ties. Something about watching "Breakfast at Tiffany's" a few days earlier. Yes, I realize his hair is VERY long. I'm trying to pick my battles. And for the record, he's scheduled for a TRIM the day before Thanksgiving.

A few days after we told him this, he said that he invited EIGHT of his friends!

John, Dan, and Emily...they agree that Alex needs a haircut!

Alex has made some excellent choices with friends. These young people are all very ambitious and I was impressed with their selections of majors and minors.

Apparently I didn't make it clear what was meant by a couple. Alex wanted to go to Olive Garden, and as it turned out, only five were able to make it, but we had a very nice time. Joe was able to join us too.

Joe returned to college for an additional Bachelors Degree (this time in Journalism), and it's going quite well for him. This has been a whole new experience for him, as he got his first degree (in Business) while living at home. Now he's living in a dorm on the campus of the second largest university in Ohio. He's actually adjusting quite well.

When they both come home for the same weekend, it's really entertaining. I've walked in from school on a Friday and have seen them both at the kitchen table, with their laptops open, sitting across from each other, discussing music and radio. They both have weekly radio shows at their perspective campuses. Joe has his own 2 hour show on Monday mornings, and Alex co-hosts a 2 hour show on Tuesday evenings. It's as though they can finally have actual discussions about things and not get into a big altercation. is going okay right now. I'm going to try to be more diligent about updating here. That's my personal goal for the rest of 2010!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


My cousin Damon (and his fiancee Cathy) hosted a family gathering yesterday. It was absolutely WONDERFUL to get together with everyone, including the extended family!

Dean, Davene, Aunt Sandie, and Damon

It also gave us the opportunity to talk about my Uncle Medie's passing last spring. Uncle Medie is my mom's brother, and he and his wife, my Aunt Sandie, moved to California in the 90s. Their older son, Dean, moved there even earlier than that. They are definitely transplanted Ohioans! Dean and his wife Mara, along with Aunt Sandie are visiting Ohio. They even brought a friend of Dean's with them.

My mom, Aunt Dolores (my mom's sister), and Cousin Patty

Dean and Cathy (Damon's fiancee) looking at old photo albums

The day was gorgeous! Sunny, but not too hot. The food was excellent! Would you expect anything less from a bunch of italians?

This is just a part of all the wonderful goodies we had!

The beverages flowed,

There was plenty of water, pop, wine, and beer to go around!

games were played, pictures were taken,

Cousin Damon, Ted, me, Cousin Matt

a birthday celebrated (my mom),

and we all got caught up on each other's lives,

Patty is trying to tell a story, and being italian, she has a glass of wine in one hand, while using her other hand to convey her thoughts.

She's still working the story, the wine, and the hand.

As the story winds down, it's important to note that not a single drop of wine spilled. She doesn't like to waste important things like that.

in addition to talking about Uncle Medie.

Damon has a plaque in his backyard, in memory of his dad. Uncle Medie was a very special man. He's missed and thought of every day.

It was such a great day...we don't get together often, but when we do, it's like we haven't missed a beat!

Me, my mom, and my dad

It's all about the family.