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DECISION-MAKING; CREATIVITY; CONFIDENCE; SELF-ESTEEM; TAKING CHANCES WITH IDEAS; PROBLEM-SOLVING; MEMORY; COLOR BALANCE ; COURAGE; ORIGINALITY are just a few of what this article is about.
As writers, we are all concerned, as to whether of not we still have the function of the brain. Almost any event could disable any one of us, and we would not even know it, etc. The ability to string words together; composing a writing piece that makes sense to others;a decline in spelling and grammar;
After my discharge from the hospital (June 19, 2012), I have to find out if everything is still working...the physical and the mental (cognitive) as well.
For all our friends around the world, who may not be familiar with this word (cognitive), I will discribe it for you.
cognitive (definition); as of pertaining to the mental processes; perception; memory; judgement; and reasoning; as contrasted with emotional and volitional processes;
Guilty of procrastination;(writing a business letter to three cardiologists; I rarely ever procrastinate. I like to be timely with my work; my bills; and orderly and organized with everything I do. So, this type of behavior at this time in my life was unusal...but it happened. As I said at the opening of this piece, I suffered a stroke on May 23, 2012. The stroke was of the mild variety (or so I was told), and I spent a month in the hospital and in rehab, learning to walk all over again...at the age of 67, no less.
In 2006, a defibrillator/pacemaker was implanted in my body, and in Januray, 2012, I talked to my new cardiologist, is it was possible to remove it...as long as the heart was strong and I could deliver all the documentation that was necessary. I knew, at the time, this was going to be a tedious process...after all, the device was implanted at the local VA Medical Center, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. had to get paperwork for the beginning, the middle and the end of the implantation of the device. Dealing with the government, would be my biggest challange.
After talking to my cardiologist in January, 2012, I could have started right away, drafting, what I knew at the time, would be one of the most important letters in my life, and I knew, at the time, the letter would be about two pages long, summarizing the last six years since the implantation of the device was done.
Instead of using February; March, and April of 2012 to my benefit, and start drafting the letter and gathering the necessary documentation...I procrastinated it all away. In May, 2012, I had the stroke, and was hospitalized for a month. About a month went by after my discharge from the hospital, and I started on the letter-writing project, and at the time, I didn't know if I could do it. I didn't know if my brain was fried after the stroke, and my confidence-level was not very high at the time.
At the time, I was getting thoughts, that the pacemaker/defibrillator could be the reason...OR at least could be part of the reason for the stroke I suffered, so there was NO turning back. I had to move forward, in getting the necessary documentation for Dr. Downey, so we could proceed with the removal of the device.
The first page of the letter to the Director of the Heart Station at the VA Medical Center (Dr. Icenogle) was AWFUL AND I THREW IT AWAY! This didn't help my confidence, but I had to stay with it. The second try, was awful as well...and I threw the piece away! I was getting frustatrated by this time.
While I was in Rehab for about a month, I don't remember having anything to do with the mental (cognitive) part of of the body. We worked on the physical part every day. The coordination; balance; walking; getting up, after a fall, and so forth.
And now...six weeks after my discharge from the hospital, I'm having to come up with the confidence to write, which could be the most important letter, of my life to three cartiologists, and to get the ball rolling on the removal of the defibrillator. (yeah, right...Jer...you're going to write this letter in a professional manner...to professional people)
The week after I wrote the letter, things began to happen;
- The VA Medical Center sent me a form to fill out, which is probably routine. The form asked for a variety of intormation, including who to send the information requested to whom;
- About the middle of September, 2012, my cardiologist called me, and told me that he had all the documentation he needed, and outlined four options and how we could proceed.
- The scheduled meeting with Dr. Downey, was already scheduled for the end of November, 2012. My primary doctor, Dr. Sautter, suggested that I try to move up the visit with Dr. Downey, to as early as August, 2012. I don't know if he saw some urgency here...he didn't elaborate.
- At that time, I wrote another letter to Dr. Downer, suggesting that we move the date of our visit to October or September, 2012 sometime.
- The following week, I received a call from the nurse of Dr. Downey, moving the date of our visit from the end of November, 2012...to the end of October, 2012.
So, all in all, there has been movement here, in my effort to remove the defibrillator by the end of the year. And, it all started with that very important letter that I HAD to write to get this process started.
As I said earlier, and after the stroke, I didn't know if I could write a love letter to myself. The letter is question does not appear on this page, but does appear on the following article;
A $64,000 Question; Can A PaceMaker Cause a Stroke?
Decorating a door; (Creativity/Holiday season/2012);
I'm a senior, and I live in an apartment, in which, there about 175 units. In 2022, a decorating the door contest was held, in which I thought was unique, and so I joined in and decorated my door to the apartment. I didn't win anything, but it was fun, and it made the holiday season mor enjoyable.
I've been in the art world and the writing world for over 40 years, so I didn't think that decorating the door could be that difficult...and it wasn't. It was a no-brainer, to say the least. I Santa over there, and a snowman over here and some lights over there and PRESTO... a decorated door. The door decorations stayed up and running for about a month during the holiday season, and I enjoyed it very much.
But, the stroke that I suffered was months away, and NOW the ballgame has changed. Would I ever be able to decorate anything again...much less a door? These thoughts came to me around the last week of September, 2012. None of us, can do anything about the ideas that enter our heads, etc. So, this idea came into my head about how I would like the door to appear...and if I attempted this idea, it was sure to be a toughie! I didn't have any other ideas enter my head, excent this one, and I was reluctant to try it, becasue it would be difficult. And again, I didn't know if my brain had been fried during the stroke, etc.
The door to the apartment is a chacolate brown, on both sides, and I couldn't get an electric sander, and sand down the door, to make it look weathered and old; I had to come up with some other way to make the door look old and weathered, etc. But, how? I had been in the art world for over 30 years, and I knew I could do it...but how? At the time, I had no concept as to how I could do this...after all, I had no other ideas in my head.
Decorating this door, was important to me, because it would use all the qualities I would need in normal day to day living...especially after suffering a stroke. Reasoning; creativity; problem solving; decision-making; color balance; good judgement; good taste; white space; taking chances with ideas; spelling; grammar; confidence; pride; after all, this piece would be in the public domain for over a month, and so it had to be right.
This idea would be a challange for me...BUT HOW WOULD I DO IT? How would I make a new door...look OLD? Believe it or not...but, the answer was at the copy shop. We're talking about an area of 3 feet x 4 feet...too much to sand by hand...and even with an electric sander, would be quite a job.
IDEA! I took my little sheet of wood grain at the standard size of 8.5 x 11, and I had the clerk enlarge it to a 11 x 17. I told her to lighten it by two notches. What happened here, was amazing! This piece looked like it was out in the weather since 1932! The copier sucked about 60% of the color out of the paper...and left about 40% in streaks up and down (vertically of the page). In other words...THE COPY MACHINE DID ALL THE 'SANDING' FOR ME...WOW! Covering an area of 3 feet x 4 feet with 11 x 17 paper would be no problem...at the cost of 25 cents per sheet, etc.
IDEA! But, now that I got the idea for the background for the piece...how was I going to mount the frame to the background? I looked for some left-over sheets of plastic, which I used as a drop cloth, when I painted a room, to cover the carpet and furniture. I had plenty left over, and so this was the idea. I cut out about a 3 foot x 4 foot piece, and I taped it to the top of the door...draping over the fixture already hanging on the door.
Then I took a magic marker (black) and drew a line over the plastic, in the center of the foot-long strips, that made up the fixture (frame) that would border the background piece. The plastic piece was clear, so I could see the fixture behind the plastic. (following me, so far?).
The background piece had already been finished, by gluing the sheets of wood-grain to the poster board of 3 feet x 4 feet. The piece was laying on the bed. I removed the plastic piece, which was hanging over the fixture on the door, and re-enforced it by stapling it on every strip. I then took the plastic off the door, and carried it to the bedroom and laid it on top of the background piece. (still with me?)
The 4 foot x 3 foot plastic piece is laying on top of the 4 foot x 3 foot background poster board...so, how am I going to cut the poster board, so that it will fit under the frame that is currently in plastic.
IDEA! With my hands, I ironed the plastci from the middle...OUT...so we can get rid of all the wrinkles. I did this firm...but, not tight. I taped the plastic piece to the background (poster board). Instead of drawing a line, with the felt pen around the plastic, I think that would not work, and bunch up the plastic, etc. So, I just placed a 'dot' with the felt pen about every 4 inches...all around the plastic. Now, all I had to do was to cut along the dots...in other words...'connect the dots.'
It worked out beautifully, and now the background posterboard housing the weathere woodgrain was now cut out. Once this was done, the plastic piece became expendable, and taken off the background piece and thrown away. Now, the frame piece is still hanging on the door, right? I go to the front room and get it and bring it into the bedroom. If this piece was cut right...it should fit over the background piece, and form a frame over the entire posterboard and weathered background.
The frame fit over the weathered background piece perfectly, and I couldn't be more pleased. Nobody is going to do this perfectly, so there had to be a few adjustments made, and now the only thing that was left...was to glue the frame of maple color...to the background piece...which now looked like it had been out in the weather since 2951.
The only thing left to do, was to attach the frame piece to the weathered piece. I did that by stapling the foot-long pieces to the background piece with two staples, in the direction of the grain...and later covered the staple with a felt pen, (sanded them down), and the staples couldn't even be seen, etc.
THE PIECE LOOKED INCREDIBLE, to say the least! I knew this piece was going to be tough, but I was up to the challenge! I couldn't wait to get all the colorful knick-knacks mounted on the fixture. The orange pumpkins; the colorful fall leaves; the multi-colored turkey; And, the assortment of colors, that would dot this piece. When all was finished...WHAT A GREAT LOOK...and, I couldn't believe I did this...and it all started with a single piece of wood-grain paper (standard size, etc.)
Reasons for decorating a door;
During the time I was in the hospital (Rehab) the focus was mainly on the physical. So, I had to learn to walk all over again. There was no therapy on the mental/cognitive part of the body. I decorated the door in 2011, for a contest held here during the holidays, etc., so I had a little experience at doing it. But, could I do it again, and make it look presentable"
This project was incredibly important to me, because I had to find out (for myself) if there was any brain damage during the stroke of May, 2012. This door was NOT easy to do, and I wondered if I could do it all. It involved the following;
creativity; decision-making; text and graphics; color balance; spelling; grammar; the use of white space; logic; problem-solving; sizing; originality; font size for easy reading and so forth. After the job was completed, I couldn't be more pleased with the way the door turned out. HIGH FIVES FOR EVERYONE!
Completing a project like this, is not the entire answer about my recovery from the stroke (mental/cognitive)...but, it's a start, etc.
NOTE; Of course, I took plenty of pictures of this project, and after I get the pictures back, I will scan them into this article, and let the visitor see them...
Copyright; 2012; Jerry Aragon; The Humor Doctor