Monday, June 28, 2010

The Day I Spoke Another Language

After I got home things were not really clear for a while, Cindy sat me in front of the computer and challenged me to play Free Cell, which did nothing but confuse me at first but after a while of playing I finally won a game, I looked at myself in the mirror and did not like what I saw, I actually stood there and talked watching only one side of my mouth move and one eye was always partially closed, this really ticked me off but as you all know now everything finally started working again, I got myself strong enough to return back to work and was told on my service anniversary that I was on medical leave until “You find out what’s wrong with you”

Diabetes is a condition that can bring on these type of things, I was diagnosed at the age of fifteen so nearly twenty eight years with no complications is a blessing, and now I was seeing more Doctors than the law allows and after going through all the tests from “Remember these three words” which were told to me then I had to repeat them at the end of the visit, well I was no good at this to the carotid artery sonogram that showed a plaque build up that “we are just going to watch for now”, another side effect that appeared at this same time is called Neuropathy and rather than getting into one limb it hit all four so with this diagnosis I was officially retired from work due to my disability, so now that they knew what was wrong with me those at work could stop saving my service orders and let the other servicemen work them.

I am told I suffered several of these mini strokes so the fear of another coming on is always at the back of my mind, in 2007 Tim was getting ready to graduate from High School and we were going through all the preparations of getting him there, my brother had come to live with us to be with me when Cindy was working and to help me get some things done around the house that I had neglected for obvious reasons for a few years, Cindy had taken classes for a New Mexico Certified Nursing Assistant certification and was to leave early morning to take the test.

I remember her kissing me goodbye and it kind of scared me that I thought I heard her voice echo, I laid there for a while and saw my brother sitting at Cindy’s computer playing on Myspace I actually called for him as I was trying to get myself out of bed, he looked my direction and laughed, it seemed to take forever but I finally got myself up thinking my blood sugar was low I made my way to my own desk and fumbled with my glucometer, I just couldn’t get it to work and kept dropping it, Brother asked if I needed a hand and I told him that it appeared I did, in my mind the words were clear but the ones that came out were gibberish, Brother laughed out loud and went back to Myspace (I am calling him Brother because I didn’t know his name at the time) I worked and worked to get the sugar checked and finally got a reading that looked good but I still was not in good shape, I tried to light a cigarette but couldn’t do that either and it pissed me off so bad that I have to this day never picked one up again, Brother got a kick out of this too and gave me another laugh when I told him I was having problems, as I said before the words were clear until they left my lips and were no more than gibberish again to which he thought I was messing around and laughed again.

Dixie (You remember my little sidekick Dixie, our longhaired daschund) was sitting trying to get me to pick her up and I complied, I could remember her name and she was still on my lap loving on me when Cindy came rushing in, evidently Brother and some other guy (that turned out to be Tim) had decided to call Cindy since I wasn’t acting right, my new language told Cindy everything she needed to know and was picking up the phone to call 911, I remember arguing and shaking my head no as the thought of riding in the ambulance had me scared, through Cindy understanding my body language she talked me into going to the hospital as long as I didn’t have to ride in an ambulance, she got me into my wheelchair and Brother pushed me out to the van, some other people were in the front yard talking to me like they had known me forever but they just confused me and when I spoke the look of fear on their faces helped me very little.

Lying on the bed in the hospital I saw a lot of people who asked if I knew who they were, I don’t think it was the ER but it may have been, could have been Intensive Care, the guy that put the IV in asked me if I knew where I was and he just smiled when I said that I had a good idea, this new language just wasn’t working well for me, Cindy came in and told me that Nancy was coming to see me, I knew who Cindy and Dixie were but for the life of me knew no one else.

My words started coming back and Cindy had to leave for a little while, they informed me that I was going to be with them for a while and I had some forms they needed signed which didn’t work too good because I didn’t know what to do with the pen they put into my hand, they gave up and Cindy signed for me later I suppose, a nice lady with a German Shepard came by everyone’s beds to visit and when I saw this dog I asked if I could bring Dixie up for a while, the lady talked with me about the dogs and the longer we talked the better my words got, Cindy came in and was happy to talk with me in our own language for a change, I told her about the dog that had visited and asked if she could get Dixie, she stroked my head and agreed with me but I could see by the look on her face that she did not believe me about the dog that had come to visit.

I was taken to a room and people came in to see me that I recognized but just couldn’t put a name with, it seemed I was in the hospital forever which turned out only to be two days because I threw a fit that I would be home in time to see Tim graduate, I was placed on a Plavix and two aspirin per day regimen and given instructions to go for another carotid artery sonogram which came out with the same results as before, I was wheeled into Tim’s Graduation in my wheelchair and feel good that I did not miss this important accomplishment in his life.

Three years later we have moved to California, I got to see Tim marry the love of his life and witnessed the sonogram that showed the image of a baby boy that is our grandson who appears to look just like his Dad, Cindy and I have had a lot of quality time together and I have had only one episode that appears to be a TIA since the last one, my short term memory is not very good and I now have a stutter in my voice especially when I am tired, my medications are monitored really well and a new drug has replaced the Plavix/aspirin routine.

To go back a bit we get a laugh today when we think about the dog that came to see me at the hospital, I actually had to find a nurse who verified that I was right and while Cindy was out a group had actually brought dogs in to cheer up the patients, we also get a laugh when Cindy recollects that she knew I was back with her when I stated in the hospital that I never knew that I knew Japanese until I started speaking it, and to this day I am the only one who understood it.


  1. I'm happy to see that you are back to speaking (and writing) a language that we understand! What a great post. It's obvious that you really do appreciate what you have. I'm gonna work on it a bit myself, so thanks for that...

  2. I haven't researched much, regarding diabetes. (one of the few things I haven't) I wasn't aware it caused plaque build up. Thought that was a cholesterol thing. Learn something new every day... just don't ask me tomorrow, I may not remember!

  3. Hey Pat, I was kind of tickled to get back to where it all worked again, that last one scared me the most.

    Hey Ms A, I think a lot of these things go hand in hand, having Diabetes puts us more at risk than non diabetics, cholesterol and high blood pressure just figures in there too, I have been blessed to not have the latter :^)

  4. I'm new to your blog so I hadn't heard anything of this before. I had no idea that diabetes could bring on such things.

  5. Hey TS, Diabetes can put you at a higher risk of stroke and heart attack simply due to the increased stress on our vascular system, high blood sugars make the blood harder to pump so to say so things wear out quicker, kind of a simple wat to put it but in a nutshell thats how it goes. Keeping a close watch and monitoring your blood sugars helps to put off or even eliminate these complications.

  6. Some of the things you have been through are so scary to me as a fellow T1. I try very hard to watch myself so closely so I can avoid these things but as both you and I know that only helps to some degree. Diabetes has a mind of its own and only another person who suffers with well as your spouse and children...ever understand how awful it really is. That being said, it does help improve your coping skills since you must monitor yourself 24/7 and things can change on the turn of a dime. You can be fine one minute and passed out the next. Somehow living like this allows you to take the other unpleasantries of life with a little bit of a grain of salt. I guess if we can cope with the daily struggles of diabetes we can cope with other things too! inspire me to no end Jimmy.

  7. Yes Susie you are so right about it having a mind of it's own and how quickly things can change, as you know I had a few years where the control was poor due to an insulin change that didn't work and I believe this along with stress was the beginning of all of this for me, but that could be another post :)

    With this said and knowing how serious you are with controling your glucose levels I have a feeling this is something you will never have to experience.

    Tomorrow is going to be good you know that don't ya!! :^)

  8. What an incredible story, Jimmy!

    I was GLUED to your every word. Not only is this post educational for those of use who know nothing about Diabetes, but it's SUCH an inspiration!

    You're a strong man, my friend. Inside and out. And it's so touching to read how supportive, loving, and caring your family was/is for you.

    And YOU to them!

    You should consider writing a book because I think your journey would inspire others.

    Thank you for sharing this!

  9. Wow Ron,

    I am honored by your words my Good Friend, I find life easy to talk about especially the things I have been through myself, it is much stranger than fiction and a whole lot more educational.

    I am inspired by the Friendship all of you have shown me here.

    Thank You

  10. Jimmy--Incredible story and you tell it so well. My mom had a couple of TIA's and was never really able to articulate what she felt. So glad you recovered and have given us this gift of your experience.

  11. Thank You Betty,

    Those were two I remembered, others Cindy told me about and I am honored to share in hopes that others can relate and hopefully live life now rather than miss out.

  12. I agree with Ron in that I think there is a book in there somewhere! How long between the stroke and the second attack?

  13. Hey Peg,

    Thank You I just may have to bind it all together one day :) I was 42 when the first one hit and 47 with the next one I remembered actually was about a year between the last two. not sure about the ones between.

  14. Jimmy, I love you and pray for you. Cindy, you are a good wife and may God bless you both.

  15. I have to thank you for this post. My father has suffered many mini-strokes over the years and through this post I was able to glimpse into what he might have felt at the time. I always wondered about dad's short term memory loss. I am now wondering if it might be a side affect from the strokes. It had never crossed my mind before.

    I am grateful you made it through and are with us today to share your experience.

  16. Fascinating post, Jimmy. It is hard to see you talk about your health issues when I sit here feeling pretty good most of the time. It makes me appreciate things so much more, and I have you to thank for that.

  17. Jimmy,

    Wow, scary stuff, but am happy you found the humor in it when you look back. Thank goodness you got to the hospital in time.

    Jason has Type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed at 23 when he was in the Marines. They have him on heart meds, cholesterol meds, sprain, and now thyroid medicine. He is only 35. I am glad they are staying on top of it.

    It's so hard to understand how easy it is to get sick for you guys, and really, life is so precious. Every moment and every day, I thank God. And I pray for a cure.

    Thank you for sharing your journey. It is very insightful for me to relate to Jason as well.

  18. Hey MC, Thank You so much we are proud to have you in our little family here and your prayers and kind words are most appreciated.

    Yes Heather, The short term memory loss is defiantly a side effect of the strokes, I see something new changing with each one and actually feel that my leg weakness just may be from them in some way, it’s been a while and I am proud of that, All I can say is to be patient with him because I know how he feels trying to remember what he was going to do or to hear a story everyone is telling you that you already have heard.

    Good Morning Joe, I suppose that we all have some sort of issues with our health just some sooner than others, thirty five years with diabetes brought on some of mine a bit quicker and you never know with your health good now it just may be that your issues will be few and far between, I pray that for you my Friend.

    Morning Angelia, You have to laugh because if you cry then it just is not worth it, Type 1 Diabetes can be tricky and going into a marriage with Jason I suggest you do exactly what Cindy did when she learned of my condition, learn all you can about it and ask questions from those who are dealing with it, Diabetes is different but yet the same with each person. A sudden low can be brought on simply by a change in what you have eaten or not eaten that day or from a bit more activity than usual, be patient when he suddenly gets confused and learn to check his glucose level if you haven’t already and know what to do when he refuses to eat for you, he is going to need you I am speaking from experience. Any questions just let me know I will be here for you.---Looks like I could do a diabetes post huh :^)

  19. Well Written Jimmy--You are helping a lot of people!!

    Good stuff Bro,


  20. Oh, Jimmyhow incredibly scary. I am so glad you have it under control and are able to do things without constant worry. and kudos to Cindy for taking such good care of you.

  21. Hi Jimmy, Reading your opinions is new for me as I've only recently signed up to receive them as you write. It is good to receive links back to earlier writings that were before my time with you. I'm slowly getting a picture of a brave and courageous man with a superb Cindy by your side.
    This tale makes me thankful that my diabetes is Type 2, and in good control at present. Doubt that I'd have your courage and the fortitude that you display here. Long may it continue.

  22. Thank You John, I appreciate you my Good Friend

    Suzicate, Yes it is a scary thing and worrying does go along with it, but you can’t dwell on it because keeping it in control is made easy with the help of a loving wife like Cindy :^)

  23. Hello Holmes, I am honored to have you following along and hope you get a chance to catch up on past writings as you can, I am happy to hear you have your Type 2 diabetes in control and have faith that you will continue to do so, You have more courage and knowledge than you realize and if you ever have any questions there are a number of us here who will be proud to answer them :^)


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