Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Remembering Jack, Dad, Gaga


Eight years ago today at 2:00 A.M.
Jack Stovall "burst from the darkness of
Alzheimer's Disease into God's glorious light."
That's how I saw his death.
A glorious homegoing.


We had watched him suffer for ten years.
He fought valiantly. But you don't win against AD.
A line from his obituary reads,
"Even in his illness he was a role model for upright
behavior and tenacious living."


That reminds me of a story which the
Silverado staff loved to tell.
They took Jack with them on all kinds of errands.
If he was riding with a female, he would sit
way over on his side of the car and make absolutely
sure they knew that he was married!


For months and months (maybe years!) the
guest book from Jack's visitation and funeral service
has been missing.
I have wrung my hands!
I was just sure that I would not have 
misplaced it. No...it was probably at the Metzger's.
Actually, I was sure of it. But they weren't. 
Ironically, today I found it--here, in a drawer where I
had placed it, of course.


The reason I wanted to find it, and the reason I'm
telling you about it is that I wanted to be
reminded of all those who attended these services.
And it was such a blessing! 
In the stress of the moment, 
and then with the passing years, 
I had forgotten that some of you were there!
My heart is just overflowing with gratitude
tonight for the love you showed us eight years ago.


Another line I love from his obituary reads,
"Jack's commitment to excellence, integrity, and
God's constant care made a deep and lasting
impression on all who knew him."
The blessings from his devotion still carry over
to all of us today.





This portrait hangs in the office entry.
The plaque reads:

Given in loving memory of
Jack D. Stovall
Stovall Construction, Inc. Employees
2010



Friday, March 23, 2018

My Recovery


Two months ago today I had a total replacement of my right knee. I cheerfully told you a good bit about my plans for the surgery in two blogs. If you haven't read or have forgotten, (surely you wouldn't!) just click below.




My plan for the surgery was very successful. I got first class treatment and suffered very little pain or fear! I wasn't quite able to climb those stairs on the day of surgery, but I could walk with a walker, so I was zipped right on out of there! We Ubered back to our hotel. 

After the surgery with Dr. Berger.

The next morning a physical therapist came to our hotel room and showed me the exercises I would need to do. I did them all, expressing practically no pain. (Susan videoed it!) So far, so good! And so full of pain medications!

On morning two, the derailing of my plan began. I was too sick to do anything--even take the pain meds. I was dehydrated, weak, and nauseous. Dr. Berger's nurses had told us to call them about anything with the exception of a 911 emergency. I told Susan to call 911.

I was picked up by a Chicago ambulance and carried to a hospital about which we knew nothing. The ER was full, so I was on a gurney along a wall. I don't remember very much about that day except that I was so scared. And so worried about my poor Susan. 


My ride


You may have heard that I was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism--blood clots in my lungs. I was in the hospital for six days. And it was not just any hospital! It was Northwestern Memorial, ranked #16 on one list I saw of top hospitals in the country. Coincidence that I landed there? 

Rob flew to Chicago to help us and stayed in our hotel room, which turned out to be only two blocks from the hospital. My sweet girl stayed with me at night. I must say that hospital stay was anything but taxing for me! I had a great time--loved all the staff, food was good, and I did not have enough pain to need pain medication! I was also not doing any therapy. 

This is Brock, one of my nurses. Poor me.
Susan immediately got on the phone with Madeline
to see if she could come visit me!


We flew home just four days later than our originally scheduled plan. I did great! I even ate pizza at the airport! 


There is a reason that you are not reading this until two months after the surgery. It's called "setbacks." They began, of course, with the blood clots and piled on when I got home. 


I won't go into any detail about the next big setback. If you have ever taken pain medicine after surgery you may have experienced similar "digestive nightmares." Mine were to the extent that I had to have my stomach Xrayed. Yes, it was scary.

However, at two weeks three days post surgery, I was walking well. Jay took this picture of me.


Then...just three days later I woke up with severe pain in my surgery leg. Neither my primary care doctor nor my in home therapist had any idea what could be causing it. So Susan and I called it a pulled muscle. It got so bad that I could put no weight on that leg at all. I was barely able to get around on my walker. I was so afraid, but I made a big mistake here. Since I couldn't visit my surgeon, I didn't call him. When I went for my follow up visit just last week he told me it was probably a hematoma caused by my being on blood thinner. This "pulled muscle"/hematoma took 11 days out of my recovery progress. 

By this time I was gripped by fear. I didn't want to be or choose to be--but I was. My brain was shrouded with a depression laced fog. I woke up every morning unable to control my thoughts or emotions. I was vaguely nauseated constantly. I wanted to believe I was going to get well, but I felt as though I had traded my mind for a new knee. It was really bad for me, for my family, and for my friends. Where was my faith?

This feeling actually began soon after I got home. At first we blamed the hydrocodone and left it off. I got better, but very temporarily. I had good periods in which I was distracted by friends and did very well. But my mind seemed to be always ready to lapse into the fear and depression. I was not interested in doing any of the things I enjoy, like watching tv or reading. I didn't call or text my friends. 

Early on I had another complication. I completely lost my appetite. I could actually go all day without eating. Now this sounds appealing to those of us who are always trying to lose weight, but it was scary to me since I was desperately trying to heal and get better. There was a good side to this problem, however. I lost weight, and the loss validated my claim that something was wrong with me. This is something you can't "do to yourself." But no professional ever mentioned the reason I have come to believe caused all of these side effects.

I believe I suffered post surgery depression. This condition is well documented online. I think it was greatly exacerbated by my age. Although I feared general anesthesia because of my age, it never occurred to me that the girl with the exclamation point life could fall into a depressed state. Here is a quote I found in an article online which sounds uncomfortably close to how I felt: "I stopped hoping for a future filled with joy and meaning. Life began to look like one long, painful, sad slog into the grave." I hated not being independent and being a burden to my children. Susan spent many days and nights with me. Jay brought me food (of my choice) every night for weeks.

My doctor eliminated, increased, and added medications. But on Tuesday of this week, I believe it was God who rescued me. I woke up with a clear mind and a thankful heart praising Him! Today I am almost giddy with joy and thankfulness. The exclamation points are back!!!!!!! 


I feel that God cared for me in spite of myself, every step of the way. It was not coincidence that I landed in that hospital so able to help me in Chicago. I definitely believe in using the resources and helpers He provides, but only God can make us well.

My strongest prayer in the Chicago hospital was, "God, please heal me *so that* I may live to help others. I pray that something I have related might be a help to you now or in the future. I don't have any amazing solutions or answers, but I would be so very glad for you to call me or message me just to talk if you have had or ever have an experience like mine. I promise I will be a great listener and empathizer.

And most of all, if you don't have Jesus in your life, don't let another day go by without joining up with Him. During my darkest hours, I might not have been able to believe that He was going to make me well, but I still knew that I was His and that I was going to spend eternity with Him. I can't imagine facing life--much less surgery without Him.

****************************

My references to *so that* refer to a sermon preached on January 7, 2018, by our beloved pastor, Jason Paredes. It is one of the best I've heard in my long life. I believe you'll be able to hear it and be blessed if you...









Monday, January 22, 2018

I'm Set for the Main Event!

Today was my last day to hobble in pain.
Tomorrow I get a new knee!
We had a lovely flight to Chicago.
If you are wondering why Chicago, please read
all about it HERE.


Susan did a little tour of our room.
We are at the Hilton Magnificent Mile Suites Hotel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WROWubQFKdw


It is in a great location--for Susan!
She walked around last night and checked out
the neighborhood, even finding a theatre!
She is out walking now, getting in her steps!


Our first appointment was at 8:00 A.M. today.
It was a class which is required before surgery.
We were there by 7:20! (Verging on paranoid!)
There was only one other person in our class, 
and her surgery wasn't until Thursday.
We were shown and were able to hold what
will be placed in our knees tomorrow.
Pretty amazing!


Then we were told about our medications.
The nurse asked me to empty out my bag.



So help me, it was even more overwhelming in person!
We were instructed about each one's purpose, 
dosage, etc.
Good luck, Susan!


After visiting with an internist, I got my final okay!
We ubered back to our hotel to lock up my meds!
Then we decided we should walk the short distance
to the John Hancock building to go up to their
observation deck on the 94th floor!
We were warned that the visibility had just dropped
to zero, but we were optimistic...it would clear!






See that view in the background?
In case you think you can see something, you can't.
But we were warned!



Just as we were giving up...





We got to see the water!


As we ate lunch at our hotel
(that's the Hancock building in the background)



we looked up to cloudy but blue skies!
And, yes, it's a barbecue restaurant.
Just what we Texans were looking for in Chicago!
But it is a terrific place.


Well it's almost Happy Hour at the Hilton.
Rob and Susan are Hilton Honors members, so
we take full advantage of the nightly Hors d'oeuvres.
(I didn't have to look up the spelling of that or anything.)


Susan is back from her walk, and look how close
we are to the water!





Next time maybe I'll get to walk down there too!


Thanks for being my therapists this afternoon.
I haven't had time to be scared cause I've been
wrestling with getting pictures on here and
getting the video to play and spelling horse do overs.



Don't know when I'll be back with my next report, 
but I'm so touched by your well wishes and prayers!
I am blessed so that I can bless others.
I hope I have a chance to bless each one of you,
cause I sure love you.







Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Want to See A Real Live Scam?


I captured one for you.
This appeared on my incoming email this week.

Top...


_________________________________________________________

Bottom...



This is the best I can show it to you--in two pieces.
I could not screen shot the whole thing, but
you need to see both halves.
**If you click on it when viewing,
it will be totally readable.


Now I'll have to admit that I might have fallen 
for this if my computer had let me.
This is why.
I knew I had not ordered this, and
just look how easy the sender made it for me.
All I had to do was click on

"If you did not authorize this purchase please visit
iTunesPaymentCancellation" 

And I did...click on it.
My computer let me know in no uncertain terms
that this could be a scam website.
If it hadn't, what was going to happen?
Well...in order to cancel my payment, I would
have had to give them my credit card number,
 exactly what they were after.


There are often tell tale signs in these scams, such as
 misspelled words or awkwardly worded phrases.
In this one I had noticed the sender name
after "iTunes Payment."
(sadasdasdas@cekera.com) Whaaaat?


I hope this will be of help!







Monday, January 8, 2018

Goofy Linda-isms

It seems I'm often using some expression no one
else has heard of!
I just can't understand it.
They all seem so natural and applicable to me.


For instance.
I am the only person I've ever known who 
breaks into a chorus of
"Comin' in on a wing and a prayer"
when arriving somewhere late and out of breath.
(Which happens frequently--to me, anyway!)



Now this one I got from my mother.
"Well, will wonders never cease!"
Now personally, I don't see how a person exists
without this one.
Especially within a family, it is so often applicable.
I've actually set it to music, adding an obnoxious
number of "evers" after "Never."
 ("Never, ever, ever, ever, ever cease")
using descending notes in my best voice.
This has elicited lots of eye rolls from my kids
through the years.


Most of these sayings can be googled, believe it or not!
But...when you google this next one, the
explanation is about as confusing as the saying.
My daddy often referred to "Putting the big pot in
the little one."
I use this expression occasionally, with my own
interpretation.
When I pull off a spectacular (IMHO) party or
event, I say that I sure put the big pot in the little one!
It really seems like putting the little pot in the
bigger pot might be a better mental picture!
But no one understands it either way!


One of my sayings almost caused a family emergency.
I had plans to deliver something or other to my
niece, Diann, at the Stovall Electric office.
I got to running behind, so I texted her that I might
not make it, because I had
"one wheel off and the axle draggin'."
Di's husband, Patrick, texted me right back,
asking where I was and if he needed to come help me!
Doesn't anyone else use this one?
If not, you should start.
It's just so descriptive of the way
 I am some many days!
"I got one wheel off and my axle's draggin'!"


Now I was fully convinced that no one else had EVER 
heard of this next one when I found...



My Daddy used to say this, and I do too!
I hadn't found anyone else who had heard it, but
 I did look it up online even before I found this sign!
We know about the "stars," but
the "garters" refers to the Order of the Garter,
a high honor bestowed by the British.
It's a military thing!


Writing this blog came about because of something
I said Saturday while at lunch with Becky Leffler.
For some crazy reason I don't remember I said,
"There ain't no flies on me!"
And she said, "Whaaat?" 
And I said, "I have no idea what that means."
 I really can't imagine why I said it after googling
 its meaning.
It's talking about someone in such constant motion
that flies can't even manage to land on them.
That is positively, most definitely, for sure 
NOT me these days.
If I am in motion, it's surely slow enough for even
the laziest fly!


Stay tuned...
I'm sure I'll think of more.





Friday, December 29, 2017

Why Chicago for a New Knee?


My most frequently asked question of the moment!
The answer: Dr. Richard A. Berger.


When Susan told a friend of hers that I was needing
knee replacement surgery, the friend said,
"She needs to go to the doctor in Chicago my dad 
has researched."
In checking I found that this doctor is a graduate  
of MIT with a degree in mechanical engineering  
as well as an orthopedic surgeon.
He has developed and pioneered minimally invasive
surgery, allowing patients to recover faster and
with less pain than traditional knee replacement surgery.
His engineering background has helped him design
specialized instruments which allow the surgery
to be done without cutting any muscles,
tendons, or ligaments.
He also has designed gender-specific implants.
Oh...and by the way, he replaced both of 
George W. Bush's knees.
If he's good enough for "Dubya..."



The anesthesia which Dr. Berger uses is also
extremely important to me.
I am very uneasy about going under general
anesthesia at my age.
For my surgery I will have a spinal epidural and 
be asleep but breathing on my own.
  

CLICK HERE for amazing video!

***You have to scroll just a tad down to video***


I called and made an appointment the day we saw
that video!
Then we began receiving affirmations!


Susan has a friend from college who contacted her
after she posted something on FB about the possibility
of my using this doctor.
Her friend had had surgery years ago and had
traveled to Chicago for Dr. Berger to perform it.
She thought there was no one like him!


I can't remember (nor would you be particularly
interested in) all the other affirmations I got.
But I'm up to 7 or 8 reliable people who know all about
Dr. Berger, his amazing reputation, and know actual
patients of his who have had fantastic outcomes.
 I would have not expected any!
And Dr. Berger's online reviews are so impressive.



I absolutely know there are excellent doctors locally.
I have several friends who have had very successful
experiences with knee replacement.
Just one difference--not one of them
 is/was 80 years old!
I certainly wish I had this done at a younger age.
Dr. Berger said I have very poor range of motion,
and that I have needed a new knee for some time.
 I just did not realize I needed it until this year.
I have always been worried about osteoporosis,
but never osteoarthritis!


Susan will travel with me.
We arrive on one day, 
pre op classes, exams, and prep the next,
surgery and back to the hotel the next,
in room therapy the next,
return visit to doctor next,
then fly home on third day after surgery.
Physical therapy will continue here at home.


Reading this may lead you to believe that this was an
easy decision. It was not.
I've been about as decisive as a squirrel
sitting on the side of the road trying to decide
whether to run under your car or not!
I've made and cancelled more appointments
than a booking agent.
But doors have been closed and encouragements
received to the point of my feeling confident
that I'm doing the best thing for me.



"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, 
make your requests known to God;
and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7


Because, you know, only God can heal me.
I can carefully choose the most skilled surgeon.
He can do a perfect job.
But once he sutures my leg back together,
only God can cause that severed skin to rejoin
as good as He created it and
my body to accept and adapt to my new parts.


Thank you for caring enough about me 
to have questions!
I hope this answers them.
And I'm so grateful for the prayers lifted on my
behalf already. 
It will comfort me in Chicago to think of all my
prayer warrior friends back home.
I love you all very much.
















Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Linda Stovall Come On Down!!!



I'd just love to tell you all about a very exciting event
in the the lives of the Stovall family!
We had gone to California for our 1978 vacation.
Susan was 18 and Jay 14.
We didn't have tickets for The Price Is Right, but when
we went to tour the studio where it was being filmed,
there was a line forming to see it.
Someone gave me two tickets, so we began asking
if anyone had two more extras.
Lo and behold, someone did!


We were there for hours.
At some point producers came down the line and
interviewed us.
I said I was a college sophomore, because I was
attending Texas Wesleyan at the time.


When we got seated in the studio, we were definitely 
hopeful that I was going to be
chosen, because the producers stood on the
stage and seemed to be scoping out the location
 of those selected.
And they were looking at us!!!


SO HERE WE GO...

CLICK HERE!


Little side note:
We were seated in the order we had been standing,
so we had gotten to be friends with those around us.
I thought I would never get out!


So here is my big moment!


CLICK AGAIN


I do not know whether or not I would be as nervous
now as I was then.
I felt like I was going to do something really ridiculous
with the whole world watching!
It's really hard to describe.
But as my face shows, I had no idea what number
to take out of Squeeze Play!


If I had been thinking totally rationally, I would
have removed the "0" leaving $1495.
That sounds so logical.
 But it still would have been wrong!


The dinette set was (is) actually pretty cool.
The sides fold down so that it is only 10 inches wide.
Susan and Rob used it, and we used it when we
first built our glass room.
It is still in my garage!
And...I did not know how often I say,
"That would be great," but to this day if I
say it in Jay's presence, I'm aware of his reaction!



Since I made it onto the stage I got to spin the 
Big Wheel.
Must warn you--this is a heart breaker!

CLICK TO SEE ME SPIN THE BIG WHEEL!


I had it until that last spin!
But we were perfectly happy with what I won!
(At the time...I got greedy later!)


CLICK TO SEE MY BEAUTIFUL FAMILY


And my girl was highlighted between segments:







We took a few pictures afterward at the 
Farmer's Market where we went to eat, but they
are slides and too hard for me to get to.
It was sure a fun event for all four of us!


I keep thinking of other things I want to tell you.
This was in the very early days of VCR's, so we
had to rush home and buy one so we could record
the show when it aired.
Even if I had won, it
might not have arrived soon enough.
(But I should have won that showcase spinoff!)