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Times Like This, Even I Need Prayer [Update at #292]
My own heart | 1.24.07 | Michael King

Posted on 01/24/2007 10:24:26 PM PST by mhking

As most of you know, my time is generally not my own these days -- I am a web producer for the NBC station in Atlanta, plus at this time of year, I'm also a tax preparer for H&R Block. Plus I always keep a side-hustle of some sort or another (I've been doing a lot of mystery shopping the past year or so)...

In any event, sometimes God reaches out and rattles the cage to remind me who's truly in charge.

I received a phone call yesterday that truly rocked my core.

My 42-year-old younger brother had suffered a stroke. My dad called me at work with the news, sounding so much older and weary than I had heard him in many years. He and my mom were at the hospital in Chicago, along with my sister-in-law and her entire clan.

Thankfully, I had enough presence of mind not to jump behind the wheel, realizing that I was in no condition to try to go home. After a silent prayer, and a rushed phone call to my wife, I threw myself into my work, trying to get through the night.

He has no movement on the right side of his body. He cannot speak. But, my dad says, he has recognition of those around him. He's able to nod and shake his head yes and no.

The doctors say that with what they called aggressive rehab and therapy, that he should regain the vast majority of what he's lost. They say that his age is in his favor.

A good sign is that he has been fighting to try to move his right foot and hand.

A CAT scan today showed no blood or fluid buildup in his brain. An MRI tomorrow will look a bit deeper, to be sure.

The physical therapist came in to see him today, and said that Rick was trying to pull himself up with his left arm, and using that arm to pull his right arm across, which, too, is a good sign.

I'm in Atlanta, and my sister is with her husband in San Francisco. We figure we'd be in the way if we tried to go home now, so we are waiting a bit -- perhaps until he comes home. We figure there will be more of a need for us to help out then.

And while I'm praying real hard for him, I can always use more hearts praying for him. And for myself for that matter. I'm not being selfish; I just need to have more strength to endure and be strong for everyone else.

Our family -- blood and extended -- is a strong one, and we're all there for each other. I just know that extra prayer is always in order. I thank you all in advance, folks. And God bless each and every one of you.


TOPICS: Daily Prayer; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: mhking; prayer; prayerrequest
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To: mhking

Thank you for the update, Michael. You, your brother and your entire family remain in our family's prayers. May God keep you and bless you.


251 posted on 01/30/2007 10:09:09 PM PST by bootless (Never Forget - And Never Again. And Always Act.)
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To: mhking

Prayers for your brother, you and all of your family. May God bring you peace, comfort and strength during this trying time. You'll be in my thoughts.


252 posted on 01/30/2007 10:13:22 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife
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To: mhking

wow... in times like these, you think of Job. :-( "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be his name."

I'm so sorry you are having to go through all this. May the Lord be your comfort and sustenance.


253 posted on 01/31/2007 7:08:59 AM PST by Terriergal (All your church are belong to us! --- The Purpose Driven Church)
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To: mhking

Hi Michael, just catching up after some time away...prayers up for your brother Rick...safe travels to CHI-town and place your trust in The Lord to heal his body, and just k-e-e-p o-n p-r-a-y-i-n'!


254 posted on 01/31/2007 5:09:54 PM PST by NewLand (The most quoted FReeper on obscure anti-Free Republic websites)
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To: mhking

You and your brother (well, your whole family) are in our thoughts and prayers, Michael.


255 posted on 01/31/2007 11:48:20 PM PST by Watery Tart (Late as usual! Think of it as a catch-up post....)
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To: mhking
Our sister, Courtney, flew in from San Francisco over the weekend, and when she came into the room, he became animated and tried to talk. Hopefully, when I get there Thursday, it will do him some good as well.

Oh our Gracious God bless you in your travels and anoint you for this service to your brother, because Jesus LIVES, amen!

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
~1 Peter 5:7

256 posted on 02/01/2007 2:50:04 AM PST by .30Carbine
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To: mhking

Thinking of you and Rick. Praying continues.


257 posted on 02/07/2007 12:35:54 AM PST by Rte66
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To: rdb3; Khepera; elwoodp; MAKnight; condolinda; mafree; Trueblackman; FRlurker; Teacher317; ...
Update time...

Our God is an awesome God. He is the Great Physician and Healer, and he heals hearts, minds, bodies and souls. And I thank Him and praise Him and go to Him in prayer each and every day.

In these last two and a half weeks, I've prayed harder than I've prayed in my entire life. I've asked for the prayers of others everywhere to join with mine.

And our prayers continue to be answered.

When I got to Chicago last Thursday morning, I expected the worst. Rick was still in intensive care, and I could see that much from the hallway. Tubes went everywhere, he had multiple IVs in his arms, and he looked out of it. That is at least until I entered the room.

Where he was listless before, he started trying to talk to me, and became very animated over the course of the conversation. No words, mind you, but he kept trying, nonetheless. Courtney had told him he sounded like "Young Frankenstein," and that was an apt comparison, though not quite as gravely as what everyone said he sounded like earlier in the week.

My folks and I sat and watched, and talked to him. Once in awhile, he'd get this real vacant "Where am I" type of look. My mother would immediately try to soothe him, telling him not to worry. I just watched.

During one of these episodes, he became very animated, gesturing to her and then pointing in the vague direction of the chair next to the bed.

"I'm fine," the gesture said (at least from what I could see). "Stop worrying about me."

I stood up behind my mother, reached over and patted Rick's hand. He looked at me.

"Cool it," I said. I pointed at my chest. "I've got this covered. She'll be fine. She'll get some rest. No worries."

He nodded wearily, and dropped his head back onto his pillow. My mother looked at me quizically, but didn't say anything. She sat down in the chair next to the bed and rested her head on Rick's arm.

On Friday, Dad and I made Mom go to work. Something to get some kind of mental rest (as if teachers get a mental rest).

When he and I got to the hospital, Rick was finishing breakfast. A veritable pantheon of doctors and nurses came in over the next few hours, including both his lead doctor, and a diabetes specialist. Dad and I were schooled in the mechanics of testing Rick's blood sugar and giving him insulin. Among the prognoses, as you'd might imagine, was full-blown diabetes.

Dad and I got to feed Rick his lunch. He surprised us by reaching up and grabbing the cup out of my hand and drinking from the straw himself. Of course, I had to keep him from going too fast. The liquid was thickened, so to make it easier to swallow.

Diagnosis-wise, Rick had what amounts to a perfect storm of maladies that came together to create the stroke. Rick was damn-near 400 pounds at 6'3". Those of you who remember us together will remember that he has always been a good hundred pounds (or more) bigger than me over the years.

In any event, in addition to the newly-diagnosed diabetes, he's got a measure of high cholesterol, some hypertension (though the doctors think that may be directly related to the aftermath of the stroke), and his weight, the doctors found a couple of blood-borne disorders that may have contributed to the stroke itself. In particular, he's got a genetic disorder that causes sticky platelets, and is apparently related to lupus in some form. The doctors there said that my parents, my sister and I need to be tested for that (my appointment is tomorrow morning), plus if I'm found to be a carrier, my kids will have to be tested. They said that since my sister and I are relatively health, if we're found to have this same disorder, we most likely will only have to take a baby aspirin each day -- and of course watch our weight (more an admonishment to me than anyone else).

Rick improved so much that on Sunday, he was transferred from the hospital to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), which is adjacent to, and affiliated with Northwestern Memorial. According to a number of surveys and bits of information I was able to glean from the web and elsewhere, RIC is renouned around the world for their work with patients in general, and stroke patients in particular.

Since then, they have worked him quite a bit. They get him dressed each morning in a t-shirt and workout shorts, and are working wtih him to regain his mobility and other skills. On Sunday, once they had gotten him settled in his bed, he was trying to scratch at his catheter (the one remaining tube). I grabbed his left arm and pulled it away. He wasn't happy; he gave me a look that would have withered most people. And I suppose rightly so. I've been on the business end of his left hook before. But I stood my ground.

He finally rolled his eyes at me (a good sign in and of itself) and huffed. I said, "You're gonna cuss me out when you get a chance, aren't you?" He nodded vigorously.

The doctors and my parents commented on the non-verbal level of communication that we have in general. They said that they had noticed it throughout my stay there. I just shrugged. That's what siblings do.

By the time I left Chicago, he had been able to get a few words out, with great effort: "Hi," "Yes," and "All Right." The doctors say he'll be able to speak again, pretty soon, and say that some of his first words will probably be profanity-laced. They say that is normal in cases like his. His appetite had come back, too. Of course, he's still on soft food only.

My parents made it over there yesterday (Wednesday), and while there, he moved his RIGHT leg while they were trying to help readjust him in the bed. He said he's got some pain in his right arm as well. This is a Godsend, considering that when I was there, he had no feeling on that side at all.

I've still got a bit more to do and get for him on this end -- he wants a ballcap, and in particular one from a black college. We had talked about that before. I'll pick one up from Clark Atlanta or Morehouse either tonight or tomorrow. He also wants me to read to him on tape or CD. I've got a book on the Negro Leagues that I had reviewed last year that I was going to give him for Christmas; when I suggested that to him, he smiled and nodded.

In any event, he is well on his way back this way, and with prayerful hope, I watch and smile at each baby step that he's taking. This has been a life-changing event for all of us. And all the repercussions are not over and done with yet, I'm sure. God is not done with us yet.

For now, it looks like he'll be coming to live with my folks once he gets out of rehab, which is good; their house is mostly on one level, and has wide doorways that can accomodate a wheelchair or walker, if necessary. Plus with my dad retired and my mom about to retire, they have the time to spend with him. Rick's wife seems to be okay with this, since she's working long hours, and they have stairs in their home.

Many of our other relatives have been passing through and calling and e-mailing like mad. Once we get a handle on everything, Courtney and I will both be headed back home at varying points to lend a hand where we can.

My mother has asked that anyone with any cards, to please send them to Rick in care of their address: c/o Mr. & Mrs. Howard C. King, 8330 Doubletree Drive North, Crown Point, IN 46307.

Thank you once again for all the prayers, well-wishes, thoughts, calls, e-mails, and cards. We all truly appreciate them. Please keep up the prayers, for God is able!

258 posted on 02/08/2007 10:36:40 AM PST by mhking (I make my livin' on the evening news....)
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To: mhking

I'm so glad to hear this, friend.

We'll keep you in our prayers. And take care of YOURSELF; this cannot be easy on you.


259 posted on 02/08/2007 10:43:01 AM PST by Howlin (Honk if you like Fred Thompson!!!)
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To: mhking

Continued blessings to you.


260 posted on 02/08/2007 10:46:53 AM PST by showme_the_Glory (No more rhyming, and I mean it! ..Anybody want a peanut.....)
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To: mhking

My wife and I will be holding you and your family up in prayer.


261 posted on 02/08/2007 10:52:55 AM PST by BenLurkin
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To: mhking
Glad to hear of the progress.
A strong family is a good thing.
262 posted on 02/08/2007 10:53:45 AM PST by norton
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To: mhking

Our God is an awesome God. He is the Great Physician and Healer, and he heals hearts, minds, bodies and souls. And I thank Him and praise Him and go to Him in prayer each and every day.





Thanks be to God for this encouraging news.....prayers ontinue for Rick, you & all your wonderful family!

"He would believes in Him shall not be disappointed."
1 Peter 2:6


263 posted on 02/08/2007 10:54:30 AM PST by JulieRNR21 (Trust the Lord with all your heart.....)
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To: mhking

Prayers continue, Mike


264 posted on 02/08/2007 10:57:09 AM PST by Tribune7 (A bleeding heart does nothing but ruin the carpet.)
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To: mhking
Prayers . . .
265 posted on 02/08/2007 10:59:19 AM PST by blues_guitarist ( . . . As in the days of Noah!)
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To: mhking

Prayers for your brother's recovery, fellow FReeper, from me and Hub. Also for your Dad, and for you too.

God bless and keep you all in His Healing and His Love.


266 posted on 02/08/2007 11:02:28 AM PST by Judith Anne (Thank you St. Jude for favors granted.)
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To: mhking

Prayers up. May the Lord give your family comfort and patience. If you need to talk, fmail me.

It sounds like the Lord is at work already. Hoping you will keep me appraised of his progress. God bless.


267 posted on 02/08/2007 11:02:53 AM PST by AliVeritas (Stop Global Dhimming. Demand testicular fortitude from the hill. Call the crusade.)
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To: mhking

Oh Mike what a great report. I know it did your soul well to be there & participate in the process. Prayers continue. I hope he can loose some of that weight. A burned on his poor body all the way around. He has to make the choices to be compliant or not, frustrating as it is.

keep us posed.


268 posted on 02/08/2007 11:18:43 AM PST by DollyCali (Don't tell GOD how big your storm is -- Tell the storm how B-I-G your God is!)
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To: mhking

Amazing the progress your brother is making, and there are thousands of us trying to will him into more and more of it. I'll bet this is one time you can't wait to be cussed at by your brother! Continued success to you and your family.


269 posted on 02/08/2007 11:32:01 AM PST by speedy
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To: mhking

Thanks for the very encouraging update! So glad to hear how his recovery is coming, and your family's spiritual strength is also inspiring and touching. All of you continue to be in my prayers.


270 posted on 02/08/2007 11:34:24 AM PST by Fedora
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To: mhking

Great update! Sounds as if he is taking little, but important steps in the right direction. Hopefully, they will nail down the cause soon.
YOU take care too.

keeping you all in our thoughts,

tatt


271 posted on 02/08/2007 11:55:38 AM PST by thesearethetimes...
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To: mhking

Wow!
Clearly I have not been paying enough attention! This is all wonderful news! So glad that he is doing so well, that the family is hanging tough, and really glad that they know some of the causes.

keep doing what works ;}

p.u.s.h.

tatt


272 posted on 02/08/2007 12:07:12 PM PST by thesearethetimes...
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To: mhking

Thank you for the update.

Sounds like a small miracle, so pleased to hear about it.

Cheers.


273 posted on 02/08/2007 12:21:03 PM PST by Sundog (What are we going to do tomorrow, Brain?)
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To: mhking

God is awesome! Continued prayers for all of you!


274 posted on 02/08/2007 12:28:52 PM PST by Jaded ("I have a mustard- seed; and I am not afraid to use it."- Joseph Ratzinger)
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To: mhking

'Tis great news.


275 posted on 02/08/2007 12:59:36 PM PST by steveegg (Now playing in Hell - the Hussein family reunion, produced by President Bush, directed by the Iraqis)
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To: mhking
fyi, he is added to the house prayer list.

free dixie,sw

276 posted on 02/08/2007 2:04:26 PM PST by stand watie ("Resistance to tyrants is OBEDIENCE to God." - T. Jefferson, 1804)
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To: mhking

May God restore your brother's body and mind completely, for His great glory. Rehab's no fun, but with God's grace he'll get through it just great. In Jesus' name, Amen.


277 posted on 02/08/2007 3:09:23 PM PST by xJones
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To: mhking

More prayers from me, Mike.

Bill


278 posted on 02/08/2007 3:18:54 PM PST by Little Bill (Welcome to the Newly Socialist State of New Hampshire.)
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To: mhking

WONderful! Fools rush in where angels fear to tread... I can't help but think that your sister being there first and your later arrival was great medicine. It gave his body a chance to rest, his mind to quiet, and then-

it looks like when he saw you BAM!

Interesting about the platelets. We're testing for something like that in our family, also. Curious to know if he's been prescribed a blood thinner.


279 posted on 02/08/2007 6:18:32 PM PST by freema (Marine FRiend, 1stCuz2xRemoved, Mom, Aunt, Sister, Friend, Wife, Daughter, Niece)
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To: mhking; 4woodenboats; abletruth; Accountable One; Aeronaut; AKA Elena; Alamo-Girl; AlGone2001; ...
Prayer ping update. Please see post 258 posted on 02/08/2007 11:36:40 AM MST by mhking {click the number}

Please post your replies to mhking


Wonderful news mhking. I will continue my prayers for your brother and your family. 

Blessings,
trussell


If you want on/off my prayer ping list, please let me know. All requests happily honored.

280 posted on 02/08/2007 9:35:30 PM PST by trussell
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To: mhking
Praise God!!! Thank you for the update! Prayers continue...
281 posted on 02/08/2007 9:42:48 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: mhking
He surprised us by reaching up and grabbing the cup out of my hand and drinking from the straw himself. Of course, I had to keep him from going too fast. ...

Great sign!...............

282 posted on 02/09/2007 5:13:06 AM PST by Red Badger (Rachel Carson is responsible for more deaths than Adolf Hitler...............)
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To: mhking

Good news and thoank you for the update. Continued prayers for his complete restoration.


283 posted on 02/09/2007 5:22:39 AM PST by WV Mountain Mama (Adventure is the invitation to common people to become uncommon. Warren Miller)
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To: mhking

I had missed this thread until now but will certainly be adding you and your family to my prayers now.


284 posted on 02/09/2007 7:08:30 AM PST by kayak (Praying for Jemian's son, all our military, and our President every day!)
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To: mhking

Prayers continue for your brother, and your whole family.


285 posted on 02/09/2007 7:46:30 AM PST by Kathy in Alaska (~ God Bless and Protect Our Brave Protectors of Freedom~)
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To: mhking
"With God all things are possible!"

Praising the Lord for all that He has already done, and all that will be done!!

286 posted on 02/09/2007 7:55:56 PM PST by MountainFlower (Brownback, Brownback, He's Our Man!!)
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To: mhking

Thank-You so very much for the update on your brother! I will continue to pray for him for complete physical healing and for you and your family for peace & strength during this uncertain time in your lives.


287 posted on 02/09/2007 10:50:35 PM PST by Wandaroos
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To: mhking

Continued prayers for you and yours... to join with those surrounding you!

Thank you for the update!


288 posted on 02/24/2007 3:13:41 PM PST by cgk (Republicanism didn't make Conservatives a majority. Conservatism made Republicans a majority. [NEWT])
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To: mhking

I pray that God will bless your brother with healing and the return of all his facilities.

And I pray for your folks and for your brother’s family and for all the people who love you and your family.

May the loving embrace of all who love you be a comfort now in this trying time.

I pray that God’s peace will be with you especially at this time of Easter.

God’s richest blessings to you all,

Jane


289 posted on 04/06/2007 10:06:56 AM PDT by janereinheimer
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To: mhking

Prayers Said.


290 posted on 04/15/2007 9:59:45 AM PDT by fishhound
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To: rdb3; Khepera; elwoodp; MAKnight; condolinda; mafree; Trueblackman; FRlurker; Teacher317; ...

I realize I haven’t written in quite awhile. As you can imagine, all our lives have been more than busy, as they have changed dramatically across the board.

First and foremost, Rick is doing well. During the week, he stays with my mom and dad, and they get him back and forth to the intensive therapy sessions he has been getting during the week. On the weekends, he has been going home with Deborah. And from what I understand, things on that front are coming along.

A van comes by my folks’ house and picks him up (along with either my mother or father, who prepare his lunch and go with him each day) at about 7 a.m. The van also picks up others who live in south county or over in Porter County, and takes them all to the rehab facility out in Munster.

At the facility, which is tied to both to the hospital out there and the rehab facility at Northwestern Memorial in Chicago, they put him through his paces each day. The types of therapy include physical, occupational and speech therapy methods.

He has been able to move his right leg for awhile now, and the physical therapists have been working on that in order to get him up and moving. Though he is sitting in a wheelchair, he has been able to move himself from the wheelchair to a bed and back. He is able to do quite a bit with his left hand, including feed himself. Rick still does not have much movement in his right arm, but the doctors have said that movement will come back as time advances.

This past week, he was fitted with two braces on his right leg — one on his ankle to hold his heel in place and to prevent that foot from drooping. The second, provides support to his knee so that it can help him stand.

One day this week, the physical therapist, along with my dad, helped him stand and to take a few steps. The therapist got him a type of cane that was fitted with a wide base and four feet. The therapist and Dad walked slowly with him, in order to steady him; Dad had Rick’s wheelchair, in case it was needed. Rick walked to the end of the room, and kept right on going, out toward the front door of the complex. He got near the front door, and wanted to turn around.

“Do you want to sit down?” the therapist asked.

“No!” he replied.

Once he got turned around, he found that he was out of steam. Dad held the wheelchair while he sat down.

Anyway, Mom said he has been walking all week and getting better at it.

Rick’s speech is improving dramatically. He is able to slowly put words together — but don’t ask him to repeat himself — at least not for now. He certainly knows what he wants to say, but putting repeated thoughts back together is still a bit difficult for him. I talk with him on the phone several times a week, and our conversations have advanced dramatically.

The experts say that stroke victims tend to make major strides in the fifth month and again in the seventh month after a stroke. We’re just coming up to the five-month point now. So we’re still looking for more advancements as time goes on.

Courtney and Roy got him the full set of Black Adder episodes — he’s a longtime fan — so he has started watching them. And since he’s such a big fan of British comedy, I picked up the first season of “Father Ted”, and sent him a cap from the Final Four. Dad said he’s been happy with watching all of those, and loves the hat.

Rachel and I are still planning on driving up with the kids in July, and we’re all looking forward to seeing him. As I mentioned at the start, this has changed all our lives immeasurably. I had ballooned to 306 pounds as of my physical last fall, and my cholesterol level had risen to 213. As of a month ago, I had come down to near 290, and my overall cholesterol had fallen to 198. I’ve changed the way I eat, reducing the portions and the types of things I eat. I’ve increased my water intake, and almost completely eliminated fried food and bread from my diet (okay, I still grab some fries every couple of weeks or so). I’ve upped the amount of fish in my diet, primarily with tilapia and salmon — I try to have fish at least twice a week. I’ve also added more fiber to my diet, primarily with Wasa crackers (a high-fiber, low salt flatbread cracker), but also with more fruit and vegetables.

People tell me my face is smaller, and I’ve noticed that my clothes fit differently. My doctor wants me to get another cholesterol test within the next week or so, so I hope there is an even bigger reduction than a month ago.

Thank you to everyone who has written and called and e-mailed, and thank you for all the prayers and thoughts and words. God is the Great Physician, and His hand is evident in everything that has been happening as things have moved forward. May God bless you all and may He continue to hold you in His hand, and may you keep Him in your heart. Keep praying for us — though we are not out of the woods yet, things are much, much better.

Finally, to each and every one of you — please, please, please monitor yourselves. Blacks in general, and black men in particular, are at hightened risk for stroke and cardiovascular disease. Cut the amount of fried food, sugars and fats in your diet. Pay attention to your portion sizes. Get your cholesterol checked regularly. Get out and walk more. Also for us as black men over 40, getting a regular digital exam for an enlarged prostate is a necessity. It ain’t pleasant (although I asked my doctor for a cigarette after my last one), but it is a necessary safeguard. It will make a difference in your life, and it very well may save your life.

God bless you, be well, and we’ll talk soon...

Michael


291 posted on 05/20/2007 10:13:53 AM PDT by mhking (I make my livin' on the evening news....)
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To: rdb3; Khepera; elwoodp; MAKnight; condolinda; mafree; Trueblackman; FRlurker; Teacher317; ...

I realize I haven’t written in quite awhile. As you can imagine, all our lives have been more than busy, as they have changed dramatically across the board.

First and foremost, Rick is doing well. During the week, he stays with my mom and dad, and they get him back and forth to the intensive therapy sessions he has been getting during the week. On the weekends, he has been going home with Deborah. And from what I understand, things on that front are coming along.

A van comes by my folks’ house and picks him up (along with either my mother or father, who prepare his lunch and go with him each day) at about 7 a.m. The van also picks up others who live in south county or over in Porter County, and takes them all to the rehab facility out in Munster.

At the facility, which is tied to both to the hospital out there and the rehab facility at Northwestern Memorial in Chicago, they put him through his paces each day. The types of therapy include physical, occupational and speech therapy methods.

He has been able to move his right leg for awhile now, and the physical therapists have been working on that in order to get him up and moving. Though he is sitting in a wheelchair, he has been able to move himself from the wheelchair to a bed and back. He is able to do quite a bit with his left hand, including feed himself. Rick still does not have much movement in his right arm, but the doctors have said that movement will come back as time advances.

This past week, he was fitted with two braces on his right leg — one on his ankle to hold his heel in place and to prevent that foot from drooping. The second, provides support to his knee so that it can help him stand.

One day this week, the physical therapist, along with my dad, helped him stand and to take a few steps. The therapist got him a type of cane that was fitted with a wide base and four feet. The therapist and Dad walked slowly with him, in order to steady him; Dad had Rick’s wheelchair, in case it was needed. Rick walked to the end of the room, and kept right on going, out toward the front door of the complex. He got near the front door, and wanted to turn around.

“Do you want to sit down?” the therapist asked.

“No!” he replied.

Once he got turned around, he found that he was out of steam. Dad held the wheelchair while he sat down.

Anyway, Mom said he has been walking all week and getting better at it.

Rick’s speech is improving dramatically. He is able to slowly put words together — but don’t ask him to repeat himself — at least not for now. He certainly knows what he wants to say, but putting repeated thoughts back together is still a bit difficult for him. I talk with him on the phone several times a week, and our conversations have advanced dramatically.

The experts say that stroke victims tend to make major strides in the fifth month and again in the seventh month after a stroke. We’re just coming up to the five-month point now. So we’re still looking for more advancements as time goes on.

Courtney and Roy got him the full set of Black Adder episodes — he’s a longtime fan — so he has started watching them. And since he’s such a big fan of British comedy, I picked up the first season of “Father Ted”, and sent him a cap from the Final Four. Dad said he’s been happy with watching all of those, and loves the hat.

Rachel and I are still planning on driving up with the kids in July, and we’re all looking forward to seeing him. As I mentioned at the start, this has changed all our lives immeasurably. I had ballooned to 306 pounds as of my physical last fall, and my cholesterol level had risen to 213. As of a month ago, I had come down to near 290, and my overall cholesterol had fallen to 198. I’ve changed the way I eat, reducing the portions and the types of things I eat. I’ve increased my water intake, and almost completely eliminated fried food and bread from my diet (okay, I still grab some fries every couple of weeks or so). I’ve upped the amount of fish in my diet, primarily with tilapia and salmon — I try to have fish at least twice a week. I’ve also added more fiber to my diet, primarily with Wasa crackers (a high-fiber, low salt flatbread cracker), but also with more fruit and vegetables.

People tell me my face is smaller, and I’ve noticed that my clothes fit differently. My doctor wants me to get another cholesterol test within the next week or so, so I hope there is an even bigger reduction than a month ago.

Thank you to everyone who has written and called and e-mailed, and thank you for all the prayers and thoughts and words. God is the Great Physician, and His hand is evident in everything that has been happening as things have moved forward. May God bless you all and may He continue to hold you in His hand, and may you keep Him in your heart. Keep praying for us — though we are not out of the woods yet, things are much, much better.

Finally, to each and every one of you — please, please, please monitor yourselves. Blacks in general, and black men in particular, are at hightened risk for stroke and cardiovascular disease. Cut the amount of fried food, sugars and fats in your diet. Pay attention to your portion sizes. Get your cholesterol checked regularly. Get out and walk more. Also for us as black men over 40, getting a regular digital exam for an enlarged prostate is a necessity. It ain’t pleasant (although I asked my doctor for a cigarette after my last one), but it is a necessary safeguard. It will make a difference in your life, and it very well may save your life.

God bless you, be well, and we’ll talk soon...

Michael


292 posted on 05/20/2007 10:16:19 AM PDT by mhking (I make my livin' on the evening news....)
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To: mhking

prayers for you!


293 posted on 05/20/2007 10:21:10 AM PDT by Perdogg (Cheney-Bolton 2008)
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To: mhking

Prayers continue


294 posted on 05/20/2007 10:28:50 AM PDT by Tribune7 (A bleeding heart does nothing but ruin the carpet)
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To: mhking

Hang in there, MHK. A co-worker of mine had a stroke like this at the same age. He’s sixty now, full time teacher, walks with a limp and is a little weak, but... still alive, kicking, working, twenty years later.


295 posted on 05/20/2007 10:29:27 AM PDT by A_perfect_lady
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To: mhking

Still praying Mike. Thank you for the update, it sounds as though things are going very well. Prayers for Rick to continue improving, and for you and your family.

State Farm has a special program going right now called “The 50 million pound challenge” They have a kit that you can pick up that is suppose to have some very good information on how to acheive your weight loss goal. It is available to all...but specifically aimed towards the black community as that is the area where weight has been shown to be an issue with more dramatic consequences. (I hope nobody takes offense, it certaintly isn’t meant to be offensive to anyone)


296 posted on 05/20/2007 10:33:38 AM PDT by trussell
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To: mhking

Thanks so much for the update. It is great to hear that Rick is making such good progress.

Bless your parents for taking such good care of him. He has a loving family and a loving God. That is a rich life.


297 posted on 05/20/2007 10:33:57 AM PDT by Bahbah (Regev, Goldwasser & Shalit, we are praying for you.)
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To: mhking

Prayers up for you all.


298 posted on 05/20/2007 10:33:59 AM PDT by flying Elvis ("In...War, the errors which proceed from a spirit of benevolence are the worst" Clausewitz.)
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To: mhking

...Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.(John 14:27)

By standing firm you will gain life. Luke 21:19

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”- Romans 15:5-6

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6


299 posted on 05/20/2007 10:34:43 AM PDT by Vision ("Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him." Jeremiah 17:7)
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To: mhking

Praying for Mike and the whole family.


300 posted on 05/20/2007 10:40:26 AM PDT by Trueblackman (Terrorism and Liberalism never sleep and neither do I)
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