Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Stroke Of Bad Luck?

Apparently, I have had a TIA, a transient ischemic attack, and like blogs, this is now a part of my life, for a long time to come, I sincerely hope. To those less familiar with medical terminology, I've had a small stroke. This was just hours before I turned 93, and it affects my writing. If it is a good thing, it is because it will also affect my behaviour, causing me to attend to matters that I have postponed, but which should not be left to my heirs.

Some of what I need to do is simply to simplify. I have been meaning to get rid of my credit cards, including Platinum American Express, "forced" on me by vanity (at an annual fee). Then there are magazines that I glance at, but do not read, and which add to the fairly neat piles all over the place. Many items around me are just waiting for attention or for use that will never come. If I wrapped them properly, could they serve as gifts?

One good thing is that I appreciate people more. A flood of phone calls, for example, came within the 48 hours which included my stroke, my birthday, and Christmas, and for these I was most grateful. They were from family, of course, and also from my colleague with whom I came to Toronto 41 years ago to establish the Ontario Science Centre. Enough. My point is that I have had quite a wake-up call, and I intend to heed it.


At 6:25 PM, Blogger SJ Stone said...

Good luck with everything, Don. I'm kinda in the same place (without the medical issues). That is, I'm looking to simplify, spend more time talking to my parents and family, make my friends know how much I care about them, pay more attention to my kids, etc.

It seems like it usually takes a major life event for us to pay attention to pay really matters, right?

At 6:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think a wake up call is ever a bad thing, however it occurs. Once one stops having epiphanies, there is no point to life. How else can you grow, or move on? Life is a series of chapters, and it would be a very boring book if there were not things to keep moving the plot along. Your book is longer and more interesting than most.

My dear friend who died long before his time grew up quickly in a very short period of time. Part of this was his realization that despite a quest for the answers to many outstanding questions and having them answered, that those answers then generated more questions.

My only regret for him is that he didn't have more time. I believe if he had, he would have reached Nirvana, or at least gotten closer to it than most other people on this planet could ever hope.

At 8:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Don,

I am so sorry to hear that you had a mild stroke. I just discovered you and want to enjoy your interesting comments for, at least, another two strong decades--which may likely place you as the oldest living man on this planet.

Organizing messes and simplifying is a good thing. I have been organizing my stuff for the past few months and enjoy knowing that I can find things exactly where I placed them last.

The key for me was getting several plastic see-through drawers sold at Walmart. They are lighter and cheaper than wooden drawers and can stack right up to the ceiling. I have two towers to the ceiling and organized from the heaviest stuff at the bottom (bedsheets and blankets) to the lighter things at the top (hats and gloves).

Stuff that used to sit in the middle of the floor are now loaded up in these clearly visible drawers. I can always view my items and decide what I need. Now, instead buying for the sake of shopping on a whim, I am more cognizant of what I have, what I need, and what I cannot afford to buy. I can see how these purchases would impact on my organized space. Also, I find these plastic organized towers beautiful--like corinthian columns in my room.

Don, I hope you feel better and hope your space is used to the best of your abilities.

If you cringe at the sight of too much stuff, avoid images captured of Sigmund Freud's personal office. His office was crowded with stuff on tables, walls, desks, and glass displays.



At 10:15 PM, Blogger kenju said...

That sounds like a good wake-up call, Don. I have been going through boxes of old photos; writing names and dates on them where possible. My cleaning woman asked if I was feeling well. She thought I was doing it because I expected to die. I certainly hope not - but it is a good idea to simplify our lives and not leave messes for our families to clear up.

At 11:04 PM, Blogger MyMaracas said...

So sorry to hear about your TIA, Don! And yet, you've turned it into a positive. You're such an inspiration.

PS. I've decided my heirs are on their own. I'm keeping my stuff. They do, however, have my blessing for calling in an auctioneer and/or a dumpster crew when the time comes.

At 11:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


May you have a gentle and happy recovery.

My observation has been that the majority of most motor skills return with time and practice following a minor event. (Family members.)

I knew a guy who suffered three substantial strokes. You couldn't have called them mild. They were ambulance rides in the middle of the night with sobbing family members driving in from all directions.

During that 20 year period, he continued to manage a very successful business in town, buying and selling used books and text books next to the University of Oregon. He opened a second branch, turned the whole thing over to his wife and daughters, then opened a successful restaurant.

One must simplify, simplify, simplify, or become infused with one's past.

At 12:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope everything works out. I'm glad the stroke has helped you to "wake up," like you said. Keep it up.

At 8:03 AM, Blogger oceanskies79 said...

I came by to wish you good health. I'm sure you now treasure life more too after this wake-up call. Please take good care of yourself.

At 11:32 AM, Blogger Buffalo said...

It has to be a difficult and frightening experience. If my wishes had any affect on the cosmos it would have not happened.

I hope you realize that you are very important to a lot of people and they all care about you.

At 6:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that I've retired I am currently "de-fragmenting" my home. Getting rid of things that were associated with work, and things I no longer need. I don't want to leave a mess behind for others to sort out. I keep now just what is necessary to live a comfortable life, and I feel so much happier without all that clutter surrounding me.

Keep well, and live long Don.

At 6:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a cliche, but I hope you will remember to take care of yourself first before taking care of others. It would be easy to worry about your wife and the piles of magazines and what you are "supposed to" do and forget to be good to yourself.

As Judy Dench said in "Chocolat": "Don't worry so much about 'supposed-to.'"

At 10:29 PM, Blogger masdevallia said...

Sir, you are a self-aware inspiration that offers a voice of peace and logic in an often chaotic world. I hope your energy and health rebound quickly and that your spirit stays with us for a long time to come.

At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate your blog, and wanted to send my well wishes on a speedy recovery and good luck with the changes you want to implement in your life. I have no doubt you will be successful in them! Peace...

At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mentioned wrapping your stuff as gifts, and I think it is a spectactular idea.

How about taking some important items, and wrapping them for birthdays, and cristmas presents in the future. You could wrap and tag several years worth of gifts, and give custody of them to somebody who will distribute them to your family on schedule long after you have left this plane.

My dad passed away a couple years ago, but I still get "gifts" from him, and they are always the most special gifts that I can recieve. I consider them gifts from beyond.

To your journey... and mine.

At 1:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

im so sorry to hear about your medical problems...but somehow you put a positive spin that made sense to me on it..god bless

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