#StoriesOfJorie | Not your traditional #ThanksgivingWeekend: my Dad had a stroke.

Posted Sunday, 27 November, 2016 by jorielov , , 10 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts

— it’s been a long 24hrs for me and my family.

Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Neil Austin. (Creative Commons Zero)
Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Neil Austin. (Creative Commons Zero)

Sometimes life throws you more than a curveball – sometimes you wake up to find challenges as *big!* as boulders placed on your path. Yet there is always the hope of tomorrow lingering in the background – you just have to find the strength to live through the rocky bits first & then find your rhythm lateron.

Blessedly, we are not oft given foreshadows about our future paths – in this particular case, I am grateful I entered *November* thinking about all the lovelies (stories) I would be focusing on whilst blogging my heart out about Science Fiction & the Futuristic Fiction I love consuming on a yearly basis. I was so thankful to have a full month to hone in on the stories themselves whilst sorting out how to arrange the month-long Sci-Fi Fest here on Jorie Loves A Story. As you can see by the schedule I posted the very first days of November (view this post) everything was set to be a smashingly lovely month!

Until I faltered a bit the first week of November, losing my footing for a short bit in my readings as I found that particular week emotionally draining. I recaptured my readerly heart by reading two stories pertinent to Current Events I felt were beckoning me to read at that particular time before I could proceed forward into the Sci-Fi worlds I had earmarked to alight inside – those two stories were spilt between fiction (see this Review) and non-fiction (see this review). Everything I wanted to say are on those two posts, including the recapture of what I shared on Twitter, as I let others who posted tweets express what was weighing on my mind at the time, whilst tweeting out a simple note of my own, too.

It wasn’t until the 15th of November, I truly felt I was gaining traction again – which is why I started to release my posts starting with a beautiful guest post by Julie E. Czerneda (read about her Web Shifters series) and sharing my reviews of: Remnant in the Stars (see Review) and The Loudest Actions (see Review) as well as a guest feature (this interview) before I took ill. My migraines returnt for a short while as well, leaving me wrecked to proceed. I’ve been dealing with my migraines off/on since Spring, as they had left me for 10 months from May 2015 til March 2016 before resuming at the end of Summer; until this month, of course. I had been finding my headaches were reducing by off-setting my readings of print books with audiobooks – my own version of ‘art therapy’ as I colour (adult colouring books) whilst I listen to audiobooks (as disclosed on my first Audiobook Review); by the time the story concluded I did not even remember all the colours I selected and am quite amazed at the end results! It’s the third time between my late twenties and late thirties I’ve recaptured a bit of Zen for myself! The first was through Mixed Media Art Collages (small scale – think ATC (Artist Trading Cards), rubberstamp art, handmade cards & painting bisque pottery and the second was through learning how to knit a hybrid variant between the American and Continental (British) styles.

I truly felt by Thanksgiving Day I was physically in better shape and all was right again in my world. We even postponed Thanksgiving Dinner until Black Friday in order to properly celebrate – we wanted to make turkey wings with homemade gravy with onions; fresh green bean casserole with mushrooms, walnuts & french fried onions; mashed potatoes for the pulled turkey meat off the wings and creamed corn souffle. The irony is that we were all so focused on my own health, none of us were thinking a major medical emergency was arriving ‘just around the corner’… I still remember how Friday went – my parents were excited because a parcel of books I was looking forward too had arrived (my latest ChocLit books for review – always a delight!) and they were getting some errands out of the way ahead of cooking & baking Thanksgiving. We were looking forward to watching the Christmas movies on television, a family tradition (we are watching both Hallmark Channel & Hallmark Movies and Mysteries) each year whilst preparing the feast.

We were going to start at 3pm. Instead we were calling the emergency number to get an ambulance for my Dad. We all joke around quite a lot, as we have a lot of humour in our close-knit family (greatly reduced over the years as we’ve loved and lost our entire family) so we (Mum and I) hadn’t really picked up on the crisis in our midst until I asked Dad a question for a second time and realised he wasn’t quite coherent – I instinctively called for Mum; she caught Dad before he collapsed and her cell was in her hand before I even saw her grab it. She called EMS, I grabbed some water for Dad. We both said to each other – “What if it’s a stroke?” He drank three glasses of water before he went with the medics – who knew that was not typical?

This isn’t our first rodeo (as they say) as I grew up in hospitals, ER’s, assisted living and nursing homes and attended more than my fair share of funerals afterwards – not just for my family but for close friends (who were school-aged when they died), friends of family, teachers and principals. I lost my first close relative at the age of seven and consistently lost most of my inner circle until age 13, including my beloved dog. In my early twenties everything felt like it had gone on ‘repeat’ and resumed – my original writer’s block was at 18 due to a medical emergency of my grandfather – the one I wrote about during my Nanowrimo Essay Priya (@PriyaPrithviraj) featured on her blog last November and is hopefully going to be able to re-release or I’ll feature it again here in 2017. Long story short, I broke my writer’s block 10 years later and five years after that, I started blogging here at Jorie Loves A Story. I celebrate my 4th Year as a Book Blogger in March, 2017.

Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Ray Hennessy. (Creative Commons Zero)
Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Ray Hennessy. (Creative Commons Zero)

Everything in life is connected. Even the pieces you don’t think will be threaded together in the short-term have meaning in the long-term. Such as my long history with emergency medical situations and circumstances; hospitals don’t scare me anymore and somewhere along the way, I sorted out how to stay calm in a crisis.

Until of course, it was my father’s turn to be the one who needed the medics – my emotions have been heavy on the surface of my soul – I was quite shocked, as it’s out of character for me. I’m equally as strong as my Mum; we both generally crash ‘after’ the crisis not during it. We both learnt we sometimes just have to let ourselves recognise the emotions pounding through us – even if their inconvenient and even if you want to show strength – there’s plenty of time for both, to rally yourself together around your loved one but also, for the quiet moments where you just have to purge the emotional angst. Life’s brutal at times and your emotions can cut you to the quick. Plus, ever try to stop your memories?

Sometimes I find your memories can plague you worse than the crisis at hand – many moments between Friday and Saturday, I kept reminding myself – don’t ‘go there’, be aware of it but your in the ‘recovery and rehab’ portion of this emergency; you know the odds, you know what can happen – nothing’s absolute – not the hope of tomorrow and not the certainty of today. Yet. You can hold onto the small things – the small changes of seeing your Dad come out of his stroke and the personality you know tickles your funnybone because your Dad has undiscovered talent for humour and satire! You can read him better than the doctors and nurses and you hold onto those small gestures of ‘Dad’ coming out of the chaos of yesterday.

Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Murray Campbell. (Creative Commons Zero)
Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Murray Campbell. (Creative Commons Zero)

You set your mind to focus on what is ‘here and now’ and not ‘what could be tomorrow’. Tomorrow could be challengingly difficult or it could be one step forward towards a long-term recovery. You just have to fight and chose your attitude.

Let yourself go and let the tears come but don’t do what I did and try to fight them at a choking distance!

Even your neighbours can surprise you – they can step forward through an emergency – offering support, prayer and hugs when you weren’t even sure they knew  you that well in the first place. You can go back to a local eatery as it’s just ‘a cuppa of comfort’ and a meal you know you could handle to eat – because you have to eat, even if you think you don’t – and find more of the same: kind thoughts, offers of prayer and random acts of kindness greeting you when you did not expect them. Sometimes it’s even more simple – telling your Mum you need some air and space, just to shake things off – settle into an empty waiting room and scroll through a cell phone. You find two numbers – and someone answers a call and doesn’t even notice how long your on because you just needed that voice to help find the serenity you had struggled to latch onto all along. Sometimes you just need that friend who understands you like your own Mum and knows what to say, and knows how to let you know ‘it’s okay to just let it go’.

Including my blog – my health and family have always come first – I’ve gone through a lot these past three years but my blog is my saving grace; my balance beam (if your familiar with the film Center Stage). Re-directing my focus into stories and blogging my heart out about the stories I love finding as a book blogger is a joy I love having in my life. The hard part is being okay with being ‘behind’ with a backlogue and somewhat current on everything else. I tried several times this year to get current on everything and stay current; yet, life just continues to come along, sometimes taking my attention away (such as when my cat died) and sometimes, I just need more time to settle into the stories.

I don’t often share my personal life – I like focusing on the stories and authors instead. I like re-directing myself into a place free of stress and get to lift someone elses day with a bit of joy. This is why I love to tweet my reading life and participate in Twitter chats. Not that I’ve been able to do too many of them this year – I had to take a full step back when the migraines returnt – but evenso, it’s something I enjoy.

This is different though. This isn’t a migraine I’m recovering from – I know that kind of stress and how to resolve it. This isn’t the flu and it’s not something as numbing as a personal lossit’s the harder stressthe ‘wait and see’ holding pattern doctors advise you to keep yourself inside until all the tests are done and understood properly.

It’s that difficult period of focusing on keeping your loved one positive and his morale higher than you might even feel in the moment. It’s making his hunger for lunch and dinner the most important thing right there in the second, because just the fact he can eat and drink is a milestone. It’s finding Hallmark Channel in a sea of channels that offer nothing but sport, news or hard-hitting movies just to give your Dad something ‘lighter’ to watch before he sleeps. It’s finding that your best support are the nurses – who understand families know their loved ones best and can help guide them as you shift through this – as what is normal for ‘him’ and what is potentially the after effects of ‘stroke’. It’s finding your own way when there isn’t a lantern to guide you. I’m in that mode right now.

We’d love to know what to do next, which is why I put on hold at my library over 30+ books on heart & brain health as well as people who survived stroke – from it ‘should have been fatal’ to it was quite minor – I like researching something I need to understand better; I take after my Mum. I want a ‘go plan’ for when Dad comes home from the hospital – a blueprint of what to expect and how to go ‘forward’ because moving forward is our gameplan right now. Not just after the stroke but in life. We’ve been rebuilding our lives this past year and we knew we wanted to relocate – somewhere other than here, where the climate is kinder, the seasons are in bloom and we can hug close to nature whilst we heal from the turbulence of the past years.

We chucked out the plan – the place we dreamt of moving too for over 13 years today at lunch – Mum and I both decided at the same moment, we’re moving for Dad now. We’re going where we know he’ll be happy and where medically he’ll have support, too. We are going to look into a service dog for my Dad as well – his cataracts are what proceeded this stroke and might have been the initial onset. His BP spiked at 200 two years ago during pre-opt and his surgery was cancelled. His BP spiked yesterday and he had TIA (small stroke) presumably; but it was a precursor to what happened this morning – as he was back in the ER by 11am. We going to sort out a way for him to unfocus on curing the cataract and embrace having a dog – a guide for his reduced vision field, a companion to lesson his anxiety and a medically in-tune canine who can alert Mum and I if there is a medical issue. That’s my second step – once I read the library books, I’m researching service animals for the visually impaired and victims of stroke.

Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Denny Luan. (Creative Commons Zero)
Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Denny Luan. (Creative Commons Zero)

We’re leaning on our faith a heap, too,

as how else do you deal with life’s crises?

You have to take a leap of faith

– esp when you don’t know about tomorrow & only have today.

I’m reducing my online presence but will be reading to offset my mind too, as reading uplifting stories right now will be good for my spirits. Mum and I are talking about taking our knitting to the hospital and walking to help rejuvenate our own mind whilst taking a breathier from ‘talking, thinking and planning’ what ‘comes next’.

I sent out notes to the publicists I work with for the most immediate blog tours – the ones coming up in early December to re-route them if I can to later dates. I didn’t want to cancel them completely because I’m going find my ‘new rhythm’. Besides, if Dad asked me once he asked me four times tonight – your not abandoning your blog are you? Just because I’m here, I don’t want you to only focus on me. That’s classic Daddy! He loves hearing about my adventures in book world and the book blogosphere – this journey of mine as a book blogger has been a family journey. The stories, the characters, the memories of my interactions on Twitter, the interviews & guest features – behind it all, I’ve had two cheerleaders – my Mum and my Dad.

They read my blog together – they are my sounding board if I need advice or want to share a ‘story’ about the stories – yes, I’m the kind of reader who talks about characters like extended family members or long lost friends – Dad loves all of this and even gets as excited as I do about what ‘comes in the mail’. I cherish the whole process of being a book blogger – it’s truly changed my life. Multi-dimensionally.

Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Silas Joao. (Creative Commons Zero)
Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Silas Joao. (Creative Commons Zero)

So, no, I’m not abandoning my blog. Honestly, I survived the first three years of of ‘stress behind the blog’ — I will get through this patch of crisis, too. I already planned to have a Renaissance here on Jorie Loves A Story – part of which is already in place – a full reduction of blog tours (check!), alternating from audio to print (check!), posting between blog tours or guest features (hmm, I think this post counts!), blogging about knitting, cooking/baking and other bits of Jorie’s life outside of books (WIP!) — I’m going to grab the books which feel right to read right now. The rest can wait.

Long-term? I’m spending the first quarter of 2017 enjoying all the lovelies I did not get to read in 2016 – I am hinting here of my backlogue. This way, as I work towards my 4th Year Blogoversary and have a new rhythm of normalcy as my Dad shifts forward out of rehab, etc. I will be on solid ground once again.

I do plan to read the Science Fiction stories over December and January – I’m just in a Sci-Fi kind of mood! Laughs. I’ll share my short list of next reads in a moment – as I want to announce what will ‘take me out’ of Sci Fi November and what will move me into the ‘Sci Fi Experience’.

Please keep us in your thoughts and/or prayers — if you see me pop online, know I’m having a ‘good day/moment’ and when my reviews wink on my blog know those are the stories pulling me through, too.

This isn’t the holiday season I was expecting but I’ve gone through a worst Thanksgiving/Christmas in the past when my relatives were at hospital and went to Heaven shortly thereafter. Somehow you get through what arrives and blessedly find the courage along the way. I think their (the books I’ll be reading) are going to give me a great distraction as I know the weeks moving forward will be unique unto their own.

Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Ray Hennessy. (Creative Commons Zero)
Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Ray Hennessy. (Creative Commons Zero)

Mum and I are tucking into our faith;

focusing on each hour as the hours arrive;

keeping our mindset positive & bolstering each other up;

we’re helping each other get through the bad bits & focusing on the good bits;

this too shall pass,

all seasons do,

it’s how you approach them that sets your resolve.

Thanks for listening –

I felt like sharing what is on my heart tonight.

I could have just disappeared but I wanted to say ‘why’ Jorie is going to be absent & not let the hours stack up to where ‘everyone’ might wonder – what came of that girl who loved the stories? Thanks for being here on this journey of mine – and I look forward to the new memories arriving next :

I just need some breathing space right now.

I will sort out my new rhythm and the stories – are already speaking to me.

I am going to be finishing the Nebula Awards 2015 Anthology.

I want cathartic release and will still be reading “The Last Day of Captain Lincoln”.

I want to remember the joy of Candace Cameron Bure coming into her own on “Dancing with the Stars” and will be reading her autobiography “Dancing through Life”.

I want to know about the Light in Julie E. Czerneda’s “A Turn of Light”.

I pulled some inspirational fiction & non-fiction – books focusing on faith & positive thoughts.

The rest will materalise as it is meant to arrive.

I am taking it one day, one hour and one moment at a time.

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postscript: I want to stay active in my #bookclub reading of the novella behind the chats I’m hosting through the tag #AChristmasSurprise but I think I’ll yield to Priya’s kind wisdom; if I cannot keep the schedule to meet-up on Saturdays, I can still enjoy the novella on my own hours. I’ll table this until I know more about what my Dad is facing throughout the coming week and successive weeks thereafter. My heart is willing but the timing might just be completely off for me to continue participating.

I posted this and stuck it on Twitter to help spread the word to those I wanted to see it. Then I logged off and realised – did I just forget to mention the capstone piece of Sci Fi November!? The best joy I had because I had this clarity of thought and was able to ‘run with an idea’ I’ve been working on for months now? Oy vie. Yes, I did! I forgot to say, my favourite moment thus far was my participation in the Blogger Panel hosted by Rinn – our lovely hostess of Sci-Fi November! (see this  Post) I answered the infamous Q: if you time travelled where would you go and why!? After reading this post I blogged tonight – my essay for SFN will NOT surprise you!

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If you choose to leave a note for my Dad or my family in the comment threads – I will be printing them and taking them to the hospital to read. I thank you in advance.

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{SOURCES: Although it is not required, I gave credit to the photographers whose photographs are included on this post to help set the tone of my message. All photographs on this post are from Unsplash.com and are available under Creative Commons Zero. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Stories of Jorie Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Ben White and the Comment Box Banner.}

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

“I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen.” – self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 27 November, 2016 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Birthdays & Blogoversaries, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Sci-Fi November, Stories of Jorie

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10 responses to “#StoriesOfJorie | Not your traditional #ThanksgivingWeekend: my Dad had a stroke.

  1. Greg Hill

    So sorry to hear this! Prayers and best wishes to your dad for recovery and to you and your family as well, after all the caregivers often need blessings as well! Here’s hoping for healing and blessings in the days ahead. :)

  2. Carolyn Steele

    Dear Jorie,

    What a tender, personable post. I think we all have walked the path of fear and tears when someone we hold dear is suffering. The fact that you would take the time to let your readers know what’s going on speaks volumes about your dedication to your blog, your readers, and the authors you feature. Even in your worry, your writing buoys us and brings us smiles. You are a force for joy despite all.

    My heart and prayers continue with you, your mum, and sweet dad. Remember when we chatted about “tender mercies,” or as you call them, “God winks”? I believe this whole experience has been filled with those little blessings. May you feel God’s arms wrap around you when you most need it and least expect it. And may every day be filled with progress, joy, and God winks. Much, much love to you and your family.

  3. Kathryn Freeman

    Dear Jorie, what an awful time you are going through, my heart goes out to you and your family. It sounds like you are a strong unit though, and that strength will pull you all through this time. It made me smile that you took out all those library books – that’s absolutely the right thing to do. Focus your energies not on negative worry, but on the positive, and how to help him when he comes home. Very best wishes to you all xxxx

  4. Andrea ( aka rokinrev)

    Oh Jorie! Been a little behind in my reading and everything since our election which almost gave me apoplexy and a serious rethink of whether we might move over the border…:0 . Know I have been EXACTLY where you are sans migraines both as a caregiver, health proxy and nursing home admin. This is little comfort I’m sure, but know we are surrounding you with prayer and healing from many traditions and ethnicities. We put you and your family on the prayer list.

    Giveboth your parents (((hugs))) from your friends in Central NY.

  5. Jorie, I admire your mental strength and determination at this time. I really hope you’re able to pass on the positive vibes to your mom and dad.

    Mom, I’m sure things will get better soon. Please do stay strong.

    Dad, I wish you a speedy recovery and hope you’re healthier in time for the Christmas cake.

    Love & regards,
    Priya ♥

    • Hallo, Hallo dear Priya!

      Thank you for your sweet notes of comfort! :) I am taking yours and the others who came in after yours today to read to Dad! It will give him some joy as he has some major tests to rule out anything major going on right now. As well as find out about any potential clots. We’re keeping positive and focused on his return back home; sometimes you don’t realise how strong you can be in the middle of living through an emergency. Mum and I sometimes find ourselves wanting to pinch ourselves about how well we’re handling the day to day waiting periods (all the tests, etc) whilst living off of little sleep and keeping up with the ordinary things too – such as laundry or dishes, or just finding joy in eating our meals. We still have the Thanksgiving feast I described in our fridge; hoping Dad will have a chance to enjoy it. I had forgotten to mention we cooked it on Friday night after Dad returned from the EMS/ER visit. So much has happened in two days, two nights + three hours and a morning! Aye.

      Yes, I am definitely helping Mum and Dad stay strong & positive. You’re words are truly comforting right now.
      Sending blessings and love back to you.

    • Bless, you! :)

      I appreciate you – you always give me such beautiful winks of joy simply by how much you share the love of my bookish thoughts when you tweet a s/o of joy about a post I’ve shared. You’re words today are comforting and I am thankful your thoughts are with me. Thank you for sharing your concern and I shall let Dad know one of my avid readers is sending him some comfort, today!

  6. Oh, Jorie. I am so, so very sorry that you are struggling with all this. I think you are striking the right balance. It’s a beautiful, eloquent heart-wrenching post. I wish you and your lovely mum and dad much love and luck. I know it’s not quite the same, but my little dog had a full out stroke recently. He has made a full recovery, largely thanks to the medicine. I class it as a small miracle. I’m sharing this because there is hope. It’s not easy, but stay strong and hold on to that. xxx

    • Blessings to you, Ms Browne!

      I’m taking your sweet words of encouragement & hope for a healing recovery with me to the hospital, today! :) What surprised me a bit is how calm I was writing this post – I had a lot I wanted to say, I knew I wanted to ‘post it’ and ‘let it go’ – part of my own self-healing through the crisis; where I could tell everyone I needed to tell all at the same time; where everyone could read it on their own time. I knew it was going to be a difficult post to get through – it’s been a different time for Mum & I just to sort out how to transition through ourselves.

      I found the words pulled together organically – there was a moment where I felt the words were already written and I was simply passing them along to let those I care about know what was going on in my life right now. A very heartfelt living faith moment for me. It took a bit over five hours to compose and I released it. It felt amazing to just find the path of what I wanted to convey and hope everyone knew why I felt like I needed to share it. Your initial reaction truly showed me how I wanted this to resonate with each of you is translating well: It’s a beautiful, eloquent heart-wrenching post.

      You’re story of your dog’s recovery was wicked brilliant to share! :) Dog or human is immaterial – stroke is stroke! I cherish those stories because we all have hope and grace to share with each other. It’s what pulls us through and reminds our hearts to *breathe* and know, there is always a bit of light sneaking into our anxious moments; medicine has evolved so much even in the sort bit of years since my grandparents were at the hospital. Mum and I hold onto that too, knowing as the doctors did tell us: you came within the first 12 hours. You did good!

      Bless you for tweeting,… my heart felt your heart twiceover.
      Sending you a *big, big hug!* and a heap of gratitude.

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