Category Archives: Stroke

A Reader’s Message about My Reaction to Shirlee’s Passing

Dear Bonnie - I'm not surprised by your reaction to the very stressful time you just went through. If you weren't such a strong person it could be a lot worse. Enjoy your rest and do some things you really enjoy doing, have fun. This too will pass. Life goes on.

The fact that Shirlee was only nine years older than you shouldn't bother you. However, none of us have a guarantee on tomorrow and we should all be ready for when the Lord calls us home.

Dale is a typical man. They don't usually get all stressed out like we do. You haven't written recently how his mouth is doing and if he is happy with his new teeth.


A Reader’s Thoughts on Shirlee’s Passing

Dear Bonnie - My heart goes out to all of you at this difficult time. How gracious was God to not allow the suffering and pain to go on any longer. It makes me wonder how long any of you would have been able to handle the situation the way it was without breaking down. I know Shirlee would not have want to live any longer under the circumstances.

It was good to hear she had donated her body. My husband and I both did that. My husband went to Temple Hospital for students to study. Twice a year they hold a service to honor the donors and my husband's was wonderful. Many doctors, nurses, and students participated, telling what a benefit it was to their learning experience. If they have a service at Stanford you should all go, it will bless your heart. In addition, what a money saver.

I know it will take awhile for things to get back to normal but take one day at a time and those awful memories will fade. You are all in my prayers everyday.


Update On Shirlee, Dale’s Mother, who had a Stroke January 16, 2013

Shirlee is still hanging on to life. She is losing oxygen and the visiting nurse has been here daily to give her pain medication. The nurse has increased the pain medicine every day.

A helper came and gave Shirlee a sponge bath and washed her hair, which I'm sure she appreciated (she isn't communicating anymore except to shake her head no when Dale asks her if she wants the light turned off).

Dale's dentist is calling daily asking him to come back for his dentures, but he wants his gums to be less lumpy so she doesn’t have to grind out more of the denture material. Also, he doesn't want to be away from the house anymore than a few minutes at a time.

Dale has lost 20 pounds and has stuck to his vegan diet. His blood pressure is normal and he has stopped taking blood pressure medicine (he cut down in increments until he was off of it).

We are expecting the visiting nurse to arrive any minute. Dale is back from his daily walk and all our boxes have been picked up by the mailman. I’m going to go to Whole Foods for more "plant food" that Dale can grind up in the Vitamix.

A Reader’s Comment on Shirlee’s Stroke

Oh, Bonnie, my heart goes out to all of you, especially Shirlee. I am sure you know it will be best when the Lord calls her home. Meanwhile, to keep her comfortable and loved is the best, kindest, sweetest thing you can do.

Rehab is not allowed to keep someone if they don't show improvement.  A costly nursing home will keep her but many will not give the care that would make her last days comfortable. I commend all three of you for being willing to care for her.  It speaks so well of Dale who cares that much for his mother.

You will be daily in my thoughts and prayers.


Update On Shirlee, Bonnie’s Mother-In-Law, who had a Stroke January 16, 2013

Kaiser sent Shirlee home to die today. She has been off the IV that was giving her liquids (through a Pic Line) since Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 4:30 pm and she refuses to eat, which is probably because she can't swallow. She is taking sublingual pain medicine. She can't talk, see or control any of her muscles. She can't even keep her mouth closed. It is really sad.

The Rehab place where the hospital doctor sent her just ignored her. Dale believes we can care for her better at home.

The doctor sent her home in an ambulance. Two hours before she arrived a man from Kaiser brought a hospital bed and set it up. He also delivered a wheelchair, but we don't think she will ever be able to use it.

The visiting nurse is here and told us Shirlee could live like this for weeks.

Sandy is helping Dale and the nurse showed them how to change her diaper. She has a catheter in for urine and Dale knows how to unhook the bag from the tube, dispose of the urine, and hook it back up. I'm just helping anyway I can (like cleaning up after everyone and everything).

We are lucky we are three.

A Reader’s Comments on Shirlee’s Stroke

Bonnie - My heart bleeds for you all and the situation you are in. I remember going to church one Sunday morning and telling everyone my husband was doing great in rehab after his stroke. When I got to rehab I went to his room and the mattress was on the bed, stripped, and rolled up. I almost passed out, I was sure he had died. His heart had acted up and he was sent back to the ER. The doctor had left a message on my answering machine that I didn't see before I left for church. I know what ups and downs are all about. My husband was 71 when he had his stroke and lived ten years. I don't know how old Shirlee is but if she recovers enough to go home you will have your hands full and if she needs a nursing home it will cost an arm and a leg. I guess you just have to take a day at a time and do what you have to do.

It sounds like Dale is having a rough time with his dentures but if he loses weight and brings his blood pressure down maybe it will be worth it. It sounds like you and Sandy will lose weight also with all the running around and cooking less.


Update on Shirlee, Bonnie’s Mother-In-Law, who had a Stroke January 16, 2013

Shirlee has been gradually improving. It's been up and down. First she was sent to a rehab place and there she got a bladder infection. She was sent back to the Kaiser Hospital in two days. Then she had another mild stroke, which they saw on a CT scan. She is sleeping a lot and not eating much (she's lost 15 pounds). At the hospital she had the catheter removed but they used a scanner that showed she wasn't able to void her urine completely so they put the catheter back in. Then they put in a Pic Line to deliver her fluids as she still can't swallow liquids (the doctor said the Pic Line is safer than an IV needle in her arm). They are giving her antibiotics orally and a mild blood thinner. She was moved back to the rehab place last night. She can see with her right eye in the morning, but not very well in the afternoon. She can move her left arm to wipe her mouth but can't control either arm well enough to feed herself. She can't use her left leg at all, but she wiggles her left foot, but not when asked to. She can't keep her lower dentures in place when she falls asleep so the nurse has to pick them out of her mouth so they don't fall out. She doesn't want to have her dentures taken out but the nurse takes both upper and lower out and cleans them once a day. Yesterday she joked with the physical therapist when she had her therapy and that was a good sign. She can't hear well at all without her hearing aids and she can't put them in by herself, so she isn't using them. Her sister wanted to talk to her over the phone, but Shirlee couldn't hear her and didn't even know she was supposed to be on the phone with Joan. Joan said she could hear her talking to Dale, so that made Joan happy. At the hospital they use something on her legs that squeezes them for a few minutes everyday and that kept the fluid from building up in her feet and legs, but at the rehab place they don't do that and her feet and legs swell up. On her chart it says she is suffering from heart failure and the after effects of a series of strokes.

Dale still cannot wear his dentures. The dentist wants take his dentures and drill out over nine areas where he has protruding bone so they will fit, but he says he doesn't want to ruin the dentures as in all his research it says after 10 to 12 weeks the body reabsorbs the protruding bone and then the dentures get loose and have to have goop put in them so you can eat. He paid  lot of money for the dentures and doesn't want them to be drilled out. It's been five weeks since his oral surgery so he has five to seven more weeks to go without dentures.

He is eating everything blended in the VitaMix. He has also become a Vegan (all plant foods and no animal protein -- not even dairy). This is because he wants to eventually get off the blood pressure pills and in his research being a Vegan is the best and quickest way to accomplish that.

I'm going to close now and go to the store for "plant" foods (we have discovered ready-made tamales for Vegans, Vegetarians and meat eaters and the three of us have been eating one or two a day, which has been helping to keep us fed as we rush around trying to take care of ourselves as we drive to downtown Walnut Creek and try to find parking at the hospital and rehab place so we can spend time with Shirlee every day).

A Reader’s Comment About Shirlee’s Stroke

Dear Bonnie - I am so sorry about Shirlee's stroke.  It reminded me of my husband’s stroke. He was also paralyzed on the left side.  That means that the stroke occurred on the right side of the brain.  For some reason, if the left side of the body is affected, the thinking process seems to function better than if the right side is affected.  My husband's mind was good until the end for which I was thankful.

I know this is going to cause a lot of changes in your household.  It will be good that there are three of you to work together to meet Shirlee's needs. I will  be praying for all of you, especially Shirlee, as the days go on.


Bonnie’s Mother-In-Law, Shirlee, Had a Stroke (8 Days Before Her 85th Birthday)

We are spending a lot of time at the hospital as Shirlee had a stroke on Wednesday, January 16, 2013. She has taken a turn for the worst today after seeming to improve yesterday.

January 13, 2013, three days before Shirlee had a stroke

January 13, 2013, three days before Shirlee had a stroke


Her left side is paralyzed and the first indication that something was wrong (that we noticed) was that she couldn't seem to see perfectly during the night Tuesday night (the doctor told us later that she must have lost the sight in her left eye during the night). She didn't say anything about not being able to see, but she called to Dale from the hallway and asked him to help her find the bathroom and after she used the toilet (he waited to help her back to bed) she just stood up and didn't move and asked him which way to turn to get back into bed. She got back into bed and thanked him and he went back to sleep, but first he thought about her behavior and decided that maybe she couldn't see right and planned to call Kaiser about it in the morning. (He had taken her to the pain clinic Tuesday because she fell out of bed and landed between the bed and her end table Monday night and scraped and bruised her side. The doctor looked her over and felt her ribs, etc. and said she didn't break anything and she should take Ibuprofen for the pain.)

Dale was on the phone talking to the advice nurse at Kaiser when Sandy yelled to him that Shirlee was having a stroke (Dale had asked Sandy to sit with her while he called Kaiser from his phone in the office.) I was in the shower and I heard Sandy yell. Later Sandy said Shirlee was talking to her normally when all of a sudden she started to drool and mumble incoherently and shake her head and fail her right arm and hand around. Dale quickly called 911 and the ambulance came in 10 minutes.

Yesterday, Friday, Shirlee recognized me and seemed to be able to focus both eyes. We could understand most of what she said ("Oh, Bonnie, my friend." and then she began to cry). She even swallowed some apple sauce and cranberry shush. But today she couldn't swallow and she had another CT scan. The first one, that was taken on Wednesday, showed that she had been having strokes for several weeks, not just the big one that morning. I'm going back to the hospital now and maybe we'll get more information.

Dale is home now and is going to take a nap. We are taking turns (with his daughter, Rhiannon, in between us) of being there for Shirlee.

The next step for Shirlee is to go to a rehab facility and she will be there (as long as she keeps improving and can retain her instructions on how to do things -- the doctor says she will not fully recover and will be in a wheelchair) for up to six weeks. She was scheduled to go there today but not being able to swallow put it off temporarily. They haven't put her on a blood thinner yet either as that might cause her to die. Then the doctor said, "However, not putting her on it might cause her to die, too!"