christmas - midnight mass
I am Catholic. When I was young, for Christmas, we went to Midnight Mass as celebrated by our church. The preparation at home was fairly simple - we ate a lite supper and then Dad and I took a nap before we had to get dressed and leave for Mass at St. Paul’s Catholic Church. Mass started at Midnight but Christmas Carols and seat-selecting and getting comfortable caused us to leave our house much earlier than we would for regular Mass on Sundays. I would say, if memory serves me right, we left the house around 10:30 p.m. for Midnight Mass!
Back in those days, we were joined at our Catholic Church by a lot of non-practicing Catholics, and just non-Catholics as well. I am sure the same occurs now. That is quite okay with me. It gives more people a chance to pray for themselves and others that need praying for.
The church service included all the same as the regular Sunday (or daily) Mass did - the readings, etc. but I remember some years we had live animals on the altar which were a treat! Mainly though I remember the Christmas Carols...and we seemed to sing them throughout the entire service. Christmas Carols are still so special to me. They were always very special to my mom as well.
After the service (Mass) was over, we would head back to the car in the parking lot - along with all the others - and hope for some snow to start falling. And then we would head back home. Once we got home we enjoyed some of those Christmas cookies that Mom baked - Pecan & Date Pinwheels, Almond Crescents, Chocolate Chips and Kolacky with a big glass of milk. We would take one last glance of the wrapped presents and then go to bed for an early rise. It was so glorious!!
God Bless and Merry Christmas!! -- Peg
"My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?" –- Bob Hope
what christmas used to mean to me
So, it’s the first week of December 2018 and Christmas is 3 weeks away. It’s the time I really start remembering my Christmases gone by. And gosh they were great ones too! Chrismases with Mom and Dad, and with Bob and Don. Christmases with Tom. And Christmases with Annie - especially when Annie was growing up!
I remember the REAL Christmases we had when I was growing up. As a child I remember the real Christmas trees. I remember the real Christmas wreaths (well, maybe Mom used SOME fake ones when we were still kids).
I remember the real Christmas cookies (Mom always baked cookies and Kolacky, never bought them to serve us or guests). I remember when everything about Christmas was real (well, almost everything).
I remember shopping with my Dad so he could buy my Mom presents. We went Christmas shopping, we didn’t order online. The two of us would go to downtown Valparaiso, Indiana, and it would be snowing and Christmas carols would be playing outside. I remember Burl Ives’ Silver Bells playing from speakers perched at the top of the Porter County Courthouse and Dad singing the lyrics along: “It’s Christmastime in the city...Soon it will be Christmas Day… As the shoppers rush home with their treasures...Hear the snow crunch ...see the kids bunch...” It was magical to me then and still is now - just my Dad and me - and just shopping for my Mom. We would get her some Calgon (it was then) body bath splash and a couple of other things she would like. Remember, Bob and Don are 8 and 6 years older than I am so they were probably busy at the time with young teenage “boy” stuff.
We had a real (we called them “live” but it really just wasn’t artificial) Christmas tree. Almost everyone in our neighborhood would have a real tree, but decorations varied. My Mom was very particular about her tree’s decorations, and I remained the same all through my life, too. Even Annie now believes a real Christmas tree is special. By the way, our last Christmas tree we bought in California was for our temporary apartment as we were planning to move to Las Vegas. We bought a real and LIVE tree, yet small one and decorated it for the apartment. After Christmas we gave the tree to Sara and her family (Sara and her family was Annie’s daycare family) so they could plant it in their backyard to remember Annie and us by!
After the tree was put in its tree-stand and water was added (water was added everyday to ensure the tree would stay fresh and "alive"), string lights were put around the tree. The string of lights was started at the top and added all the way to the bottom, about eight inches apart but all the way around (so the tree and/or the lights were not touching the wall).
Next, Christmas “bulbs” were added to the branches. As a child, these were glass bulbs, mostly round and mostly the same size, and mostly red, green, gold and silver. But a few were special - and not round - and some were from what we made (at school or at our friends’, but not at our home).
Then we added the ICICLES - these were the big debate throughout the years of trees (not ours, but of ours compared to others!). My Mom made sure that we only put the icicles on our tree one at a time! We could not throw them on or clump them on or put hand-fulls on! Needless to say, it took a lot longer to decorate the Witmer Family Christmas Tree every year, but it was the MOST organized, MOST symmetrical, MOST beautiful Christmas Tree I will ever remember!! Also, I never remember adding garland to our Christmas Tree.
While we were putting those Icicles on the tree, Mom would put a “fake” artificial wreath on the front door. That wreath would the first to great neighbors and be the first to wish a Merry Christmas. It would generally just be a medium-sized, pine-green and decorated with minor Christmas-like items (holly, etc.). Mom would then put electric Christmas Lights (a 5-light "candolier") in the bedroom windows so that people could see them from the sidewalk outside. She would also put a heavy two-foot old-fashioned church with steeple in our living room that played Silent Night when plugged-in and wound up. It made the move from Pennsylvania to Indiana, but I remember being “hurt” when it didn’t make the move Las Vegas from Indiana.
Finally, Mom would put the Christmas Wreath Light on the top of the tree. It was in the shape of a star so it made sense to be at the top of the tree. It connected to the string of lights so it, itself, would also light up, which was very nice.
And there the Christmas Tree was, and the Christmas Wreath on the front door, and the Old-Fashioned Church with its Steeple ready to play Silent Night and the various other decorations Mom put out for us to enjoy the season. I remember coming home from school until Christmas Break and then having two weeks off at Christmas Break to enjoy the tree and my family and my friends. And then it was getting closer and closer to Christmas Eve (Midnight Mass) and Christmas Day - and I will save those memories to share with you in my next posts.
God Bless, Peg
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas...” -- Meredith Wilson
thanksgiving - 2018
Happy Thanksgiving to you and all of your loved ones. Today is our day to give thanks to those that deserve our thanks. Let me first say what I am most thankful for. I am thankful to God for continuing to give me the strength and the courage to remain alive. I want to still be here to give memories and wisdom to others, but mainly to give my memories and wisdom to Annie.
I am going to share some of my memories of Thanksgivings-past before I spend a portion of this Thanksgiving with Tom’s family in Southern California. This will be my first flight since my incident over 1 year ago - I am looking forward to it, actually. I am glad, though, it is only a 1-hour flight.
When I was growing up in Indiana, we always celebrated Thanksgiving with just our immediate family. The rest of our extended family was in Pennsylvania. So, on Thanksgiving morning Mom got up early and started cooking the “usual turkey” in the oven. She did all the necessary cleaning and removal of things, of course, before having to put it in. I remember the first time I cooked a whole turkey myself...I had to call her and get blow-by-blow instructions on how to hold and clean a turkey before getting it ready for the oven. Gosh, I think I was already in my 20’s!!
She placed the turkey in the oven without putting dressing (stuffing) inside. (I’ll explain the dressing in a moment.) At the Thanksgiving dinner with the turkey, we had mashed potatoes made with good old-fashioned russet potatoes (still my go-to all-time favorite anytime), corn, her dressing, turkey gravy and dinner rolls. We also had her famous cucumbers and onions (sliced cucumbers, sliced onions, equal parts water and vinegar, and sugar, and some salt/pepper to season) instead of a salad. Dad liked cranberries so he got the canned cranberry sauce!
Okay the dressing was “on-the-side” and not cooked in the turkey. Mom cut up white bread into nearly 1” squares and added cut-up celery and onions and seasoned it with salt, pepper, parsley. She let it “toast” (dry out) in the oven at 350 degrees. She kept an eye on it, as you should, to make sure it didn’t burn. She softened it lightly with some Swanson Vegetable Broth. It truly resembled Stove Top Brand Stuffing of today!
So on the plate, the special plates (as pictured above - 22-carat gold trimmed, now at least 70 years old) that we used for only Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, was the turkey, mashed potatoes and the dressing. All of those (before the corn, cucumbers/onions, rolls) I would smother with her turkey gravy. My mom's gravy was made with the drippings from the turkey cooking in the oven with a little bit of flour.
After that delicious Thanksgiving dinner some of us (my dad and me) would take a nap until it was time to enjoy a piece of Mom’s homemade apple pie.
I tried to spend as many post-high school Thanksgiving Holidays with family but that isn’t as possible once you go away to college, and that really isn’t as possible once you then move across the country!!
Again, Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless You, Peg!
“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” -Willie Nelson
Tom would probably call this a “list” & he really thinks it’s a waste of my time to make such lists, but I want to keep track of my accomplishments (and if I have an accomplishment everyday, even just one, that’s something to celebrate!). Since my stroke I would start such lists of accomplishments, and then get rid of them, and then start them new again. Well, that cycle went on for some time. I’m done starting and stopping...I am ready to take it seriously now. Here goes...
I want to keep trying new therapies/exercises - new methods. The methods that definitely work for me, I want to incorporate into my daily routine. Those that have certain steps that are good (but maybe not all), I want to adjust & incorporate them into my daily &/or weekly routine.
I will incorporate what I have done & included in my Therapy Tuesday blogs in today’s blog to start, and then I can build from there. Another thing that was pointed out to me several times, at several different locations, since my subdural hematoma (stroke) was that it is very valuable for post-stroke rehab persons to dwell on their accomplishments on a regular basis. It helps them realize what works for them & what doesn’t & how much effort they are putting into their own rehabilitation.
First is my schedule of Tuesday Therapy blogs per my website (here at www.pegspoststroke.org) & on my Instagram page (poststrokepeg). I’ve listed the ones I’ve posted and the ones I plan to post through Christmas.
My accomplishments yesterday were an astonishing threefold!
ACCOMPLISHMENT #1 - CHAIR RAISE-UPS
ACCOMPLISHMENT #2 - WRIST MOVEMENT WITH ARM RAISED
Holding my arm straight up has become quite an accomplishment itself lately, but to be able to hold my hand straight up is also great! And, to be able to move my wrist up and down and in little circles is absolutely wonderful - it lets my brain remember what the arm/hand can do!!
ACCOMPLISHMENT #3 - LIFTING MY RIGHT ARM OVER MY ENTIRE BODY
I would like to say that the first 2 accomplishments were the best for one day, and they were! But the third accomplishment was the true icing on the cake!! In the past it was a struggle for me to bring my entire arm over my body - especially to bring it over my body without touching my body. Well, I was able to bring it over my body AND I didn’t touch my body!! I didn’t let any of the sweater top interfere with my bringing my arm/hand over my body or back!! I made sure that I lifted my right arm/hand up over my stomach/belly to raise it up to my left side and then I brought it back down without dragging it on my stomach/belly at all!! Way cool!!
Okay. Now, what accomplishments did I have for today? Well I did these three things (yesterday’s accomplishments) again, each twice. So each is now a part of my routine. I remember telling Annie of another accomplishment I had yesterday. I put on a pair of yoga pants myself standing up with no shoes on yet. Usually I put them on sitting down not standing up.
Then I did “open/close” with my right arm/hand making sure I kept my hand/wrist flat and bringing it to the right of the mat if it drifted too far to the left after 4-5 “open/closes.”
Okay, time for me to do some more therapy/exercise. And it’s time then for me to work on more thoughts of recipes to post, therapies to post, getting to know me thoughts to share and post, and of course (what Tom wants most of all) my thoughts on his business idea and my thoughts on my business ideas. And I really hope my friend, the investor, Teddy, will be back in the next few days to see me.
God Bless, Peg
"Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again."
― Richard Branson
11/11/2018 -veterans day
11/11/2018 - Happy Veterans Day - to all the brave men and women who have served us proud!!
As I have done in the past, I give a special honor to my mom on this day for enlisting in the 71st Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) on April 13, 1943. She served as Corporal Margaret J. (“Marty”) Basalla.
The Women's Army Corps (WAC) was the women's branch of the US Army. It was created as an auxiliary unit, the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) on May 15, 1942, and converted to an active duty status in the Army of the US as the WAC on July 1, 1943. Its first director was Oveta Culp Hobby, a prominent woman in Texas society. The WAC was disbanded in 1978. All units were integrated with the male units.
The WAAC's organization was designed by numerous Army bureaus coordinated by Lt. Col. Gillman C. Mudgett, the first WAAC Pre-Planner; however, nearly all of his plans were discarded or greatly modified before going into operation because he expected a corps of only 11,000 women. Without the support of the War Department, Rep. Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts introduced a bill on May 28, 1941, providing for a WAAC. The bill was held up for months by the Bureau of the Budget but was resurrected after the US entered the WWII. The senate approved the bill on May 14, 1941, and it became law on May 15, 1942. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the bill the next day, he set a recruitment goal of 25,000 women for the first year. That goal was unexpectedly exceeded, so the then Secretary of War Mr. Stimson decided to increase the limit by authorizing the enlistment of 150,000 volunteers.
About 150,000 American women eventually served in the WAAC and WAC during WWII. They were the first women (other than nurses) to serve with the Army. While the "conservative" opinion in the leadership of the Army (and the public) was opposed to women serving in uniform, the shortage of men necessitated a new policy. While most women served stateside, some went to various places around the world.
My mom served during WWII in Newport News, VA. She left great photos from those days and shared great stories. We still have those memories she left behind and we will always cherish her very fond memories of her service. God Bless, Peg
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - John F. Kennedy
Today is Election Day and I was able to vote! And I did! It was such an exciting feeling to be able to vote. I felt like I once again had another reason to be here - to be able to "voice" my opinion and to be "heard."
I remember how important elections, and voting, were to my parents from the time I was very young. My mom always made sure she worked at the local polling booth as a Poll Worker back in Indiana in the 1960's and 1970's (when I was in school there). And once they moved from Indiana to Las Vegas they remained staunch supporters of their voting rights. Both my mom and dad made it very clear to me that voting was my privilege and honor and should never be taken for granted or given up.
Both my mom and my dad were so very PROUD TO BE AMERICAN. They both served in World War 2, and because of that they both have the privilege and honor of being buried at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery (SNVMC). For information regarding the SNVMC, please check them out online. The SNSVC is located in Boulder City, NV, which is approximately 26 miles from Las Vegas. The cemetery is located on 79 acres of land owned and maintained by the State of NV. The grounds are serene, peaceful and immaculately maintained. The cemetery serves as a place of rest and reflection where eligible veterans, their spouses and eligible dependents are remembered and honored. Typically a spouse has to share a headstone with her (or his) spouse, but because my mom was also a former veteran, she has her own headstone! Again, the cemetery is beautiful and peaceful, and it is a place where I liked to hang out with my dad and mom when I needed time to really be with them again. And I know of a few friends' parents who have been laid to rest there and they (my friends) feel the same way I do. It's comforting - very comforting...
The cemetery is responsible for verifying eligibility and should be contacted directly for specifics by calling 702-486-5920.
God Bless , Peg
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ―Maya Angelou
my niece and nephew
Hi, it’s Peg. I have mentioned before that I have a beautiful, smart and wonderful niece and nephew from my brother, Bob, and his wife, Aiko. My niece is Layla and my nephew is Alex. They were both born and raised in Tokyo. Layla was born in the mid-80s and Alex was born in the late-80s. Layla is married to Sebastian Cole. Layla and Sebastian have a son named Kai. He is turning one year old in January and already looks like he is almost three! (I guess it would serve me well to mention that Layla is 5’9” tall and Sebastian is 6’2”.) Kai is so darn cute! Layla, Sebastian, Kai and Alex all live in LA. Bob and Aiko still live in Tokyo. As I may have mentioned previously, Layla, Alex and Sebastian are all grown now and graduated from college. Layla is now employed as a Wardrobe Stylist on the Ellen Degeneres Show, Alex works on commercials and photoshoots as a production manager/coordinator, and Sebastian is an actor. Most recently Sebastian has had multiple appearances on Amazon Original’s I Love Dick, starring Kevin Bacon, and Freeform’s (Previously known as ABC Family) Stichers. Please be sure to check him out!!
Although Layla and Alex did not grow up in the States, we kept in touch with them as if they had - my parents made sure that we could and that we did! And because Bob was a professor at a university in Tokyo, he and Aiko and the kids were able to spend much of every summer here in the states with us when the kids were growing up. And they spent much of the summers with my parents later, after the kids did grow up.
I could “spill” some priceless family secrets here, but I won’t. But for sure, if you happen to know either Alex or Layla, you may want to ask what Alex happened to say in front of my mom one night. He said it one night at my home (near the front door) when his dad was planning to stay with me and his uncle but Alex had to leave for the night with his grandparents. He wasn’t happy about having to leave the party. Let’s just say he spent a few precious minutes in the bathroom with his dad - being told not to use that sort of language in front of his grandmother!
One of the special things I remember doing every summer when Bob and his family would come for their visit, is have a sort of a family reunion. We would swim, visit, eat, play games and just enjoy ourselves!! We were able to invite as many people as we could. We invited not only family, but friends too. And over the years we were able to invite friends from distant years back and family of some of those friends. I remember always being able to invite Scott. He was a friend of Bob’s who later became part of our
family - along with his wife, Rika, their son, Kota and his mom, Rose. We were also able at one point to invite old high school friends of Bob’s, Tim and Doug.
When Layla was ready to go to college, Bob and Aiko wanted to make sure she went to university here in the States. She attended and graduated from the University of Oregon. Alex also attended and graduated a university here in the States. He went to Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles - a Jesuit University. His dad was a professor at Sophia University in Tokyo - another Jesuit University. And our Annie happened to graduate from Santa Clara University - yet another Jesuit University!
Sebastian and Layla met in Los Angeles in 2012, but prior to that he attended Florida Gulf Coast University. Sebastian was raised in Florida by his Swedish mother, Catherine, and Colombian father, Carlos, that was a prized bullfighter. Although Layla and Sebastian met in the States, they married in Sweden during the summer of 2017. In addition to Sebastian’s family being able to make it to the wedding, many of us from Layla’s family were able to make the wedding as well. What a wonderful global mix!!
communication - part 2
Good day! Today is COMMUNICATION (Part 2).
Communication - the PRACTICAL REASON is also important and also matters.
When I was in the hospital(s) for 5 months, I was being asked by Tom and Annie for all sorts of things such as code names, usernames and passwords. I was asked for these to our safe, our home computer, our bank accounts, our “living” accounts, well the list goes on. I realized then, and later, that I should have made a place where these pieces of valuable information would be available and handy to them, yet secure, in the unfortunate event of my absence.
That is what I am trying to tell you...this information cannot be kept by only one person. Please refer below and make a template for yourself that you can use to record this valuable “private” information. You’ll see which types of information I think you should consider sharing. If you can think of others, please be sure to add them and let us all know. Thank you!
Be sure to address at least the following items that you use or have access to:
Be sure to disclose the following:
So in addition to always telling your loved one(s) that you love them (from Communication - Part 1), and always making sure you don’t keep the important information (above) to yourself, please always stay in touch with “old” friends. Write them notes (remember that an email is nice to receive, but an old-fashioned handwritten card or letter is now priceless), visit them when you’re in their town, send them Christmas cards, check in on them with various forms of social media. These are just a few of the ideas. I have found out much in the last several months - because I now make time to find old friends on various forms of social media. And they have found out mine.
I am hoping that after I have my appointment with my new neurologist this Wednesday that I’ll be able to make some plans to visit a few of the special people in my life. I would really like to visit a few - family members and friends. I won’t name them here, but I will send them a message. I want them to know that I love them. Some of them I am still keeping in touch with via text or email. I do hope that I am able to actually share some time with them, face-to-face, very shortly. I was able to spend some very special time with my brother Bob while he was visiting from Tokyo late this summer. I visited him along with his 2 kids, Layla and Alex, from LA. I was able to also spend some more time with Layla’s new son, Kai. What an angel! What a tall angel he will be! I will see see Tom’s family at Thanksgiving in less than a month and I found out yesterday that Annie will try to also make it. I hope to see my brother and his wife, Don and Maritza, very soon as well.
Well, the main key I want to share about communication is making sure you let those you love know you love them...always...without any doubt. The other important thing about communication that I want to share is just that - you must - share your thoughts, ideas, knowledge, concerns, worries, everything…God Bless, Peg
"We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak." — Epictetus
communication (part 1)
Good day! Today I decided to tackle COMMUNICATION (Part 1). Communication is important in every relationship that we have - young and old, good and bad, you get it … communication matters.
Let me start here with the most important reason you have communication. It is for your relationship(s). Later (in COMMUNICATION - Part 2) I will address the more practical reasons.
The most important reason to communicate is to share your love, mostly with your one and only loved one(s).
The most important items are told to you from the moment you are old enough to “remember” - never go to bed mad at each other and always say “I love you” before you leave one another, no matter where you are going. It doesn’t matter if you are leaving for a trip without the loved one or leaving for a normal day at work or leaving for the grocery store.
I remember once when my dad was in a hurry to get out the door for work one morning and my mom was busy getting us 3 kids ready for school. My dad forgot to tell my mom he loved her and he forgot to give her a kiss. It must have troubled him his entire way into his office, about a 20-minute drive from our home to the then Bethlehem Steel in Burns Harbor, Indiana. As soon as he got to his office he called her and told her that he loved her. That call made her day. That day has happened more than 50 years ago. I still remember it very clearly. I will never (ever) forget it.
The day Tom and I were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary, I became ill at work. Tom had gone to the high school girls’ golf tournament to watch Annie’s former team when a message was left for him on his cell phone that he was told to leave at the front desk at the golf tournament. When he got his phone and the message, he got to where I was and immediately called 911. Needless to say, I was taken to emergency surgery and given 24-48 hours to live. Needless to say I was very glad, and I still Thank God for having us exchange “I Love You’s” that morning. And now when he goes to the grocery store or even walks to pick up the mail in the afternoon, we be sure to exchange “I love you” before he leaves the house. I hope you and your significant other do too.
-- God Bless -- Peg
"That which we are capable of feeling, we are capable of saying." — Cervantes
Hi, Peg is here to share with you some post-stroke sleep habits. I want to share some of both mine and Tom’s too, since it’s important to understand what your caregiver is/may be going through as well.
The topic of sleep was also mentioned in the article I posted about the 13 common mistakes made by post-stroke survivors during their recovery. I made sure, though, that I left off the Midwestern drawl this time! You have probably heard enough of that.
So I have managed to talk to you specifically about motivation, consistency and now (well, today) about sleep. Within the next few weeks I want to address communication, nutrition (not just my recipes), keeping stress and inflammation low in your life and body, and not losing hope, too. That will tackle more than half of the 13 most common mistakes according to Saebo. I will have much more to write about in my “Getting To Know Me” segment - not just the 13 common mistakes of post-stroke survivors during recovery.
I recently discovered an exceptional article that I recommend that you find and read too. It’s from Flint Rehab, dated 9-13-18, and it lists 7 reasons why post-stroke survivors need extra sleep. In summary, the reasons are as follows. Please read the entire article, though, as I believe you will find it very interesting, whether you have had a stroke or not. Anyways, here’s the summary...
“Why You Need Lots of Sleep after Stroke for a Better Recovery,” September 13, 2018 (by: Flint Rehab)
1. A Healing Brain Requires Lots of Energy After Stroke
A stroke occurs when an artery in the brain becomes blocked or ruptured, depriving the brain of oxygen, which leads to the death of affected brain cells. After the stroke has been treated, rehabilitation begins to help reverse the side effects. Unfortunately, this process can be very long and tiring. A stroke results in serious injury to the brain, so your brain will need lots of rest in order to repair and rewire itself.
2. Getting Plenty of Sleep After Stroke Helps Your Brain DetoxifyWhen you sleep, your brain gets a chance to clean itself up and flush out toxic molecules that build up during waking hours.Since we want to boost brain power during stroke recovery, getting plenty of sleep is critical so that your brain can detoxify. If you don’t get enough sleep and these toxins continue to build up in your brain.
3. Sleep Helps Improve Neuroplasticity & Motor Recovery after StrokeWhen you perform stroke rehab exercises to improve movement, sleep helps your brain process and store that information. During REM sleep, your brain turns short-term memories about muscle movement into long-term memories that become stored in the part of the brain that’s in charge of muscle activity. This rewiring process is called neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to form and strengthen new neural connections. This is how you will reverse your stroke side effects, like impaired motor function.
4. Sleep Is This Famous Stroke Survivor’s Top Recommendation
Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist who experienced a massive stroke, wrote a book called My Stroke of Insight that recounted her 8-year stroke recovery and all the lessons she learned.
5. Make Sure Fatigue Isn’t a Side Effect from Medication
Sometimes the excessive desire for sleep has to do with something more than just healing in the brain. Sometimes medication is the culprit. If you’re currently taking medication, then be sure to check read up on all possible side effects as “difficulty sleeping” could be one of them.
6. Have Trouble Sleeping?
It Could Be a Disorder like Insomnia or Sleep Apnea (not just from a stroke).
7. Optimize Your Shut Eye for the Best Recovery from StrokeIf you want to get better sleep after stroke but sleeping disorders are getting in the way, try some tips (and some good tips are listed)
I make sure I get 8-10 hours of sleep at night. I generally do not take any naps during the daytime. I think perhaps a 1 - 1 ½ hour in the afternoon (and closer to 8 hours, rather than 10 hours, at night) would be a good idea if you are currently working from home and can manage to do so in your schedule. By taking an afternoon nap you are able to “recharge” yourself for the afternoon. Tom works from home so he is able to do this and it definitely works to his advantage. And I recall that a lot of former politicians and famous people were and are strong supporters of the mid-day nap routine! I know that my dad was a strong supporter as well. Well, as I always like to say before sleepy-time, good-night, sweet-dreams, and God Bless, Peg.
“The way get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” -Walt Disney
Check out my Instagram page at poststrokepeg and my Facebook at Peg Freman
Hi there! It’s Peg again and some folks liked and commented on my previous Midwestern-pitch that came out when I started to talk about my Self-Motivation. It happened to be linked to 1 of the 13 common mistakes Post-Stroke Survivors tend to make during their recovery stage. So I decided to start with it again, because I am going to address another 1 of the 13 common mistakes Saebo mentioned and that is Consistency!
I’ve been much more than fairly consistent all my life...consistent with my school work and grades, consistent with my professional life, consistent with my family life and marriage, consistent with my friends. You have had a chance to gather that from my earlier posts. And if you have known me, well, I hope you have come to count on, and rely on, that consistency. It is what I am seeing that certain people are missing - some have mentioned it to me and some do not know how to bring the topic up for discussion. (That is actually what I want to address in my next "blog." I want to tell you what I think now about conversation - what it "is," "what was missing," "what is missing," and "what it isn't.")
Well, this health/medical issue that I have been dealt (this subdural hematoma) has put a crimp in my strive to always be consistent with the things I do in my life. But, I am still doing everything I possibly can to be consistent with everything I CAN still do for now. And as each day goes by, I am adding more things to the list, whether they are small things or not, they are still added to my list! Most of the time I am consistently doing the things I need to do for myself (that is, to make myself get healthier and stronger and less dependent on others).
Mainly, I am very consistent with my therapy/exercise. I make sure that I do the therapy multiple times per day and I change the exercises up as needed to get what I need. And today I read an article that Tom found and shared with me that I want to share with you. And, I am sharing those therapies with you here!!
From The New York Times, 10-24-18, by Gretchen Reynolds (please read the entire article, but here are some of the highlights)...
10 minutes of mild, almost “lazy,” exercise can immediately alter how certain parts of the brain communicate and coordinate with one another and improve memory function, according to an encouraging new neurological study. The findings suggest that exercise does not need to be lengthy or intense to benefit the brain. The effects can begin far more quickly than many of us might expect. We already know that exercise can change our brains and minds. The evidence is extensive and growing. Multiple studies with mice and rats have found that when these animals run on wheels/treadmills, they develop more new brain cells than if they remain sedentary. Many of the new cells are clustered in the hippocampus, a portion of the brain that is essential for memory creation and storage. The active animals also perform better on tests of learning and memory. Again, retrain the brain!!
However, similar experiments are not possible in people. But some past studies have shown that people who exercise regularly tend to have a larger, healthier hippocampus than those who do not, especially as they grow older. Even one bout of exercise, research suggests, can help most of us to focus and learn better than if we sit still.
By the way, I am still keeping consistent with “chores” around the house to make sure I keep physically active and keep my brain engaged. For example, I am doing most of the dishes (not the paper dishes and bowls as I make sure those get thrown away when I am finished using them). I do regular dishes and silverware in both the sink and the dishwasher, as required. I need to use my left hand and I am extremely careful with sharp objects such as knives or heavy items such as the inner pot of the crock-pot (I have Tom handle those).
I am also consistently doing the laundry - putting my worn/used clothes and towels in my laundry basket daily, washing them every other day (or as needed) in the washing machine with the Tide pod detergent and appropriate washing machine settings (water temp, etc.). I am then transferring them to the dryer when done (unless they need to be hung to dry, like my bras). Then I consistently fold and/or hang up my clothes from the dryer. I am forcing myself to use my right arm/hand more and more each time that I fold/hang clothes from the dryer. I cannot yet use the iron (well, not use it that much, though I am slowly trying) so I need to be very consistent about removing my clothes from the dryer as soon as they are ready. I need to hang them well on a hanger and be sure to secure them with a button or zipper. This is GREAT PRACTICE!! And, it is more things that are serving well to retrain my brain AND regain my independence!!
Be sure to check out my Instagram at “poststrokepeg.”
God Bless You, Peg
"Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Hi there (oh my gosh, that sounds like my Midwestern just came out!). As I promised earlier, the article I wrote about what Saebo thought folks did in rehab regarding 13 common mistakes during post-stroke recovery caused the juices to flow and have created a lot of opportunities for me to share ideas with all of you. I mean, it is ridiculous to hoard these wonderful experiences and thoughts and ideas to myself. So I took a gander at the list and I decided to write about “Motivation” and what it means to me.
I have always been a self-motivated individual. From an early age, the grades I received as a student served as a reminder that studying kept me in the right direction. My acceleration from grade-level to grade-level and into honors classes along the way, and my high “rank” of graduation-level from both my junior high and high school classes and from my university kept me motivated throughout my school years. My professional choice of accounting and becoming a CPA, starting with Price Waterhouse and then moving right along into various industries and becoming CFO and ultimately COO, kept me motivated throughout my nearly 40 years of professional life! And I even remember odd bits and pieces of motivation while I was growing up that also paved the way for me.
Let me share this one with you! I like to call it “The Christmas Box” story. I even shared it with my first Toastmasters’ Group I joined back in the mid-1980’s! They loved it! For Christmas of my 4th grade year my Mom wrapped our presents and put them in our basement before putting up the tree. One of my gifts was wrapped in a plain brown store box with red tissue paper that I could see through. I could see a serial number on the box and grabbed the Sears' and Penneys' Christmas books to check the toy sections for which gift it could be. I couldn’t find the serial number to match. I gave up. But I was still motivated by that serial number! Then I remembered something. I had asked for a sleeping bag that Christmas! I pulled the Sears Christmas book back out and matched the serial number on the box with the number of one of the sleeping bags and they matched!! That is how I found out I was getting a sleeping bag for Christmas! I guess I was always motivated and inquisitive!
Now since I have had this subdural hematoma and have been recovering, I have become wildly aware that my “self” motivation is not enough. I need the motivation from others. So when I hear that motivation from others, I let them know it is great for me to hear and I encourage them to tell me such words of encouragement and motivation whenever they have it, see it, feel it.
When I returned to my office (although it was a brief return), our receptionist said to me one day that she was sorry she did not get up to hold the door for me as I was going to the other building across the courtyard. I said she had no reason to apologize, that I was able to open the door myself and get through it just fine. She agreed with me and commented on how she noticed how well my walking had improved that week! I told her not to be afraid to mention those things to me - I needed to hear them because I needed to hear when other people noticed my improvements!
Just a few days later I was walking through the office hallway with no one assisting me and someone else commented on how well I was improving with my speed and gait. I told her, as well, please do tell me! And I shared with her that I loved going home in the evenings to Tom and telling him that “”so&so” told me that he/she noticed improvement in my “such&such”!!
I went to a meeting of one of our group of managers (who deals with post-stroke victims quite often) and one of those managers came up to me after the meeting and mentioned that my physical mobility was greater than most of what she has seen from similarly affected individuals. This was what I really needed to hear - it motivated me even more!
So that motivation is SO VERY ENCOURAGING & HELPFUL & MEANINGFUL - not just to post-stroke victims, but to everyone for everything!! Be sure to encourage your family members, your friends, your co-workers, your peers, your subordinates, everyone you see doing better at something than they did before!
Be sure to check out my Instagram at “poststrokepeg.”
God Bless You, Peg
"There are multiple sides to all of us. Who we are - and who we might be if we follow our dreams." -- Miley Cyrus
tom's near-death experience (part 2)
To carry on about Tom’s first full near-death experience, here I go. Well, Dr. Wilson got Tom stable again and found an extra set of lung doctors and other surgeons that could do a surgical biopsy right away on Tom to confirm it was viral and not bacterial. They took him back in for the surgical biopsy and were able to prove it was viral.
Now the next challenge was in front of us. Since it was viral, antibiotics were not going to help. Dr. Wilson said he knew of a anti-viral drug that was being developed for kids with RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) but it had to be inhaled. Tom was on a ventilator and therefore could not inhale. Dr. Wilson could try to reach the producer of drug and see if he and the hospital pharmacy could turn it into an IV form of drug for Tom.
After some trying, Dr. Wilson was able to get the hospital pharmacy to work up an IV batch of the drug. I had to sign a waiver form Dr. Wilson drafted since this was not yet approved by the FDA. The drug was added to the IV with which Tom was already situated. We were told it would take at least overnight before his lungs would start showing any improvement if the drug was in fact working.
At that time, after Tom got hooked up and he was settled for the night, the general practitioner doctor took me by the side and said, “Peg, let’s go for a walk and talk.” We walked out of Tom’s ICU room and down the hospital corridor, and he turned me into the x-ray room and threw Tom’s x-rays up on the lit wall and said, “This is it. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, today - you can see the growth taking over his lungs fully. The only chance he has is this drug. You need to be very strong tomorrow. You need to go home now after you tell Tom good night and you love him. Then you need to go home and hold Annie and tell her that you love her.” That is what I did. I gave Tom a kiss and I told him good night and I told him I loved him. Then I went home. When I get home, I held Annie in my arms and I didn’t let her go. I told her I loved her. I told her that her dad loved her. I told her that her dad was going to get better for her.
That night, Annie and I slept together. We woke up bright and early and went to the hospital for the respiratory reading. When they brought the results back to the room we all waited anxiously. OMG!! He was able to start breathing oxygen and get it into his blood on his own - the results proved it - the drug worked!!
Tom, at that point, was writing on a notebook since he couldn’t speak because of the ventilator. He wrote to the doctors, on the notebook, “we love you - my family loves you.” To which one of the doctors replied, “Oh Tom, we love you too, and we love your family!”
Tom spent another week in the hospital to be weaned off the ventilator and the drugs. And he needed to build his strength. Then he was returned to home to recover from his life-threatening experience. But that was not the end...he suffered a terrifying life-threatening infection from the incision where the lung biopsy took place on his chest. Dr. Wilson wanted to return him to the hospital unless I was able to drain it 4 times a day at home. Tom volunteered me. I agreed not knowing what it entailed. The incision was about an inch deep and several inches long and full of a gnarly greenish pus. Dr. Wilson packed the incision with a safe and sterile gauze that needed to be replaced 4 times a day. The first time I changed it, I remember pressing down on his incision to push the packing out with my fingers and to my disgust the pus came “squirting” into my face! Mind you I was about 24 inches away from the incision when it squirted - it was a massive gush of pus! I was much more careful after that. We were then able to successfully change the dressing/packing as we needed and he healed well. To this day he is well but he has a visible scar from the incision below his left breast.
Tom survived that near-death experience. He lived to provide Annie with the opportunity to become a tremendous junior golfer - playing in the right tournaments, practicing the right drills and the right amount of times, getting a great full-ride golf scholarship to a Division I university, a tremendous school for not only golf but for accounting/business and its location (Silicon Valley). And both her parents, Tom and I, were able to provide her with the opportunity to become a tremendous adult. She graduated from Santa Clara University with a Degree in Accounting in June 2017, and began working for Deloitte. By the way, as a very proud mom, I would like to add this about Annie...she just passed her 4th (of 4) CPA exams - all over 90 (98, 93, 92, 90), just missing the E.W.Sells Award for highest scores in the nation. Annie also just received an Outstanding Performance Award from Deloitte’s main US Recognition department for her efforts on the “first year SOX work on her client...that it was no easy task.” They thanked her for “her tremendous efforts to rally the team and management to project completion.” She is now well on her way to a successful career and life because of the great upbringing she was provided with.
By the way, Tom has fortunately never relapsed with the RS virus and only became “deathly” ill one other subsequent time since with a chronic abscess on his tonsil several years ago. Man, when that guy gets ill, he doesn’t mess around! He sure ought to realize what he has put me through those times - but I do what I need to when he is “deathly” ill and he does what he needs to, as well, when I am deathly ill too!
"The quickest way to change the world is to be of service to others. Show that your love can make a difference in the lives of people and thereby someone else's love can make a difference in your life. By each of us doing that and working together we change the world one inner person at a time." - Dannion Brinkley, near-death experiencer
PLEASE VISIT ME AT INSTAGRAM AT POSTSTROKEPEG - THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS, PEG
And here's one of my favorite pictures of Tom and me...
TOM’S NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE (PART 1)
Hi...It’s Peg. And today I am writing about the time I nearly lost Tom and I experienced everything he and Annie must have gone through with me yet from the other perspective. And I can add a lot of my feelings and thoughts and concerns during that time as such. So here goes.
About 20+ years ago, Tom and I were fairly new parents to Annie. She was only 15 months old at the time, and Tom came to me one Friday morning while I was getting dressed for work and asked if I could make a doctor’s appointment for him that day because he had a terrible cold that was not going away. He was not one who ever got colds and was never one who volunteered to go to the doctor, so I certainly agreed to make an appointment for him.
I was able to get Tom an appointment to see our regular general doctor later that same afternoon and called Tom to tell him that his appointment was late in the afternoon. Shortly thereafter though, he called me back to say he was going to the doctor’s office right away because he couldn’t “take it” anymore. He went by himself to the doctor immediately upon calling me. I was concerned...this behavior was so very abnormal for Tom. The doctor ran a chest x-ray and gave him a prescription for an inhaler and some strong antibiotics and told him to come back three days later on Monday for another chest x-ray. He also told him if he felt any worse over the weekend he should go to the ER and ask for another chest x-ray and the ER should contact the GP doctor.
During that night, that Friday night, Tom could not sleep. He tossed and turned in bed and was having difficulty breathing. I spent the night rubbing his back just so he could breathe. He didn’t want me to call 911 - he wanted me to continue rubbing his back so he could breathe.
The next morning my Dad and I took Annie to the grocery store and l left Tom with my Mom at home. When we came home from the store, my mom said that Tom was even worse than when we left - so my Dad and I took him to the ER. (Fortunately for us, my parents were visiting us from their home in Las Vegas during this time.)
He was checked in immediately, examined by several doctors and admitted to a hospital room. He was then examined again by two lung doctors and a heart doctor. He was scheduled to be seen by an infectious disease specialist doctor, Dr. Samuel Wilson, - but not until the next day.
On Sunday he was seen by the Dr. Wilson, who examined him and decided to put him in ICU immediately.
When Dad and I walked into his ICU room Monday morning (very early), we saw that he had been intubated. Intubation is the process of inserting a tube, called an endotracheal tube (ET), through the mouth and then into the airway. This is done so that a patient can be placed on a ventilator to assist with breathing during anesthesia, sedation, or severe illness. The tube is then connected to a ventilator, which pushes air into the lungs to deliver a breath to the patient. This process is done because the patient cannot maintain his airway, cannot breathe on his own without assistance, or both. This may be because he is being given anesthesia and will be unable to breathe on his own during surgery, or he may be too sick or injured to provide enough oxygen to his body without assistance.
Dr. Wilson told us his thoughts and plan - he thought Tom was suffering from Hantavirus - which was feasible because we lived near diseased rodents at the time.
Dr. Wilson’s plan was to perform a lung biopsy the next morning but he would have to perform it while Tom was in this very fragile state. The doctor needed to ensure that what Tom had was viral and not bacterial, hence the reason he was not responding to the massive doses of antibiotics he had been given.
As they wheeled Tom down the hall the next morning to the OR and I sat there waiting with my Dad, they immediately rushed him back with the most frightened looks of despair on their faces. Dr. Wilson quickly came to me and said he would tell me what was happening after they took care of Tom. A priest had been called to give last rites, Tom had been on 100 percent oxygen for too long.
At that moment I turned to my Dad and said, “I am losing him! I am losing my husband!”
What we have once enjoyed we can never lose; all that we deeply love becomes a part of us. – Helen Keller
An article i saw posted by saebo
I saw an article posted in Flipboard.com from Saebo called “13 Common Mistakes to Avoid During Stroke Recovery.” After reading the article in its entirety, I began to reflect on things I should be doing now, and in the future, to assist in my recovery. I have decided to share with you my thoughts on the 13 things listed in the article were as follows - note I will attempt to put a positive spin on each as opposed to harping on the negative connotations of each. Additionally, it should come as no surprise that I have also included some of my own personal thoughts to those items that really touched me. These particular items stuck out to me either because they represent something that means a lot to me now or provide me the opportunity to explore deeper in articles (blogs, posts, whatever you want to call them) in the near and/or upcoming future!
1. Set post-stroke recovery goals (PSRG) - setting PSRG is more than setting New Year’s Resolutions; my PSRG include, but are not limited to, improving my health, seeing loved ones more often, keeping in touch with others more often - I want to share my processing of those of those goals with you in a later post.
2. Don’t lose hope - I love it when I achieve something on my own finally, BUT I DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE when I don’t make it, I just keep trying, HARDER.
3. Stay motivated - not only am I SELF-motivated, but I encourage others, even strangers, to motivate me!
4. Practice consistently - set a routine for your therapy! Do the same part of the body at the same consistency!!
5. Don’t lose momentum during a recovery plateau stage - I just do not lose momentum, period!
6. Don’t counteract learned non-use - I am using my LEFT side way too much - in I think it’s funny to tease certain family members that I am learning to become left-handed --- I need to start using my right side again more & more like I did earlier in my recovery.
7. Get enough sleep - I do get enough sleep at night - I wish Tom & I were on the same sleep schedules - I need to work on that.
8. Don’t keep stress & inflammation high - writing a daily journal can help; external therapy can help too; I really need to find some external therapy to help with the post-stroke traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - this can be in the form of a support group or a one-on-one session with a counselor.
9. Don’t ignore the importance of good nutrition - this is not as much a problem for me, but it could be better; writing weekly menus would help - and I am including recipes along with videos with each of my posts.
10. Don’t go overboard with exercise - this is also not now generally a problem for me; I know when I need to slow down or stop. I can tell Tom when I need to as well - and, again, I am including therapy recommendations, ideas, thoughts and videos with my posts.
11. Don’t forget to think about prevention - I am thinking about preventing another stroke all the time - based on the above.
12. Don’t forget about working thru communication problems - Well, I am trying!! I need to work on that with my Bud (Tom)!! I am trying first with not crying --- it really upsets him ...I never knew that - probably because I never (rarely did I ever) cry in front of him.
13. Don’t ignore PTSD after your stroke - I need to work on this!! I should think about joining a group to share my ideas and theirs regarding post-stroke issues.
"It always seems impossible until it's done." -- Nelson Mandela
And please check out my Instagram at Poststrokepeg. Thanks!
Tom and I were on a short vacation in Palm Springs when Annie was conceived. I knew immediately that I was then with child. It was very special for us. (Don’t worry, she already knew this.) I had Annie at the age of 36 after recently suffering a miscarriage. My pregnancy with Annie was completely normal and without any cause for concern but because of my age and my previous miscarriage I was cautious to make an announcement to my co-workers. Shortly after i found out I was pregnant, we were having a wedding shower for one of our male peers at my office and I mentioned the smell of the cheese tray as it went by and that gave away my secret!
I refused to learn the sex of the unborn child so we had the room painted a sand color - with the help of my mom and dad. Although when Tom came home that evening from work he thought for sure the room looked as though it had been painted light pink and he was sure that I had been told we were having a baby girl! I swore to him that I did not have any idea whether the baby was a boy or girl and he still would not believe me!
So we still deliberated on the name of the baby - if a boy, then Thomas Allen Jr., and if a girl, then Anne Margaret (mine but reversed). The baby was due 3-27-95 and we were told by our doctor that very few babies are actually born on their due date. Well, at 5:00 a.m. on 3-27 my water broke and I told Tom that our baby had it in his or her mind to be on schedule! Well, after 18 hours of labor I insisted on a C-section and at 11:11 p.m. on 3-27-95 Anne Margaret Freman was born. I first deeply and sincerely apologized to Tom for having a daughter and not a son. I swore I did not know - and I did not - really. I took a rest, she took a rest, and Tom took a rest.
I am so happy to have had a daughter as my only child - honest.
Annie spent 8 weeks with me at home while I was on maternity leave and while Tom managed his own tax practice. I then went back to work and still managed to work my average 55 hours/week. I would bring Annie in with me whenever I had to if Tom were also working. I would at first just put Annie in her baby carrier and later her stroller or even later whatever would keep her occupied at my office. Tom was able to watch Annie at home when tax season took its break. Then we found Sara and Ernie (through our church) who watched kids at their home and they watched Annie until we moved to Las Vegas.
By the time Annie got interested in golf she became associated with Faith Lutheran School and their golf instructor, Mr. Cheney. Her golf career took off and Tom made sure that she had the right clubs, drills, practice, tournaments, etc. to ensure she would end up with a scholarship to a Division I School. (Please be on the lookout for his very helpful hints to get your child a Division 1 golf scholarship - coming shortly.) She got a full-ride scholarship to Santa Clara University (Division I) in Northern California and started in the fall of 2013 and graduated in the spring of 2017. Tom and I saw many of her tournaments all 4 years and she played tournaments during each of the summers as well.
While at SCU we convinced her to join the School of Business. She did, and she got her degree in Accounting. She performed an internship at Deloitte, one of the big 4 international CPA firms. She also joined Deloitte full-time upon graduation. And she just recently passed all 4 parts of her CPA exam, each on its first and only time taken - 98, 93, 92 and 90. She also just recently earned their Outstanding Performance Award for her first client assignment. And we are very pleased that she is finally able to leave for vacation tomorrow to Europe with friends - much needed and deserved (and this time without mom!).
"Success isn't always about 'Greatness', it's about consistency. Consistent, hard work gains success. Greatness will come." -- Dwayne Johnson
perfect mom - part 1
GETTING TO KNOW ME - a Post
My Perfection As a Mom
Hi! Peg here again!. Well, like I said before I am Margaret Ann Witmer. I was born February 8, 1959, in Williamsport, PA. I did most of my growing up in Valparaiso, IN. It was a relatively small town, about 25,000 residents, in northwest IN, and commonly known as Valpo. My parents were Bob and Marty. Marty was my Mom. Marty was her nickname for Margaret Jane. I was their third child and only daughter. When I was born my Mom was about to turn 38 years old. That was quite unheard of back in the late 50s. That could have been the reason she required an emergency C-section to give birth to me (among some other reasons, perhaps). That C-section resulted in emergency stitches in my forehead as soon as I was delivered. (I was not even supposed to be born alive according to the doctor, but I defied those odds too!). Well, let me get back on track now. Oh, by the way it’s 11:11 a.m. - make a wish - I’ll explain some other time.
I was brought home with my parents after I recovered from the traumatic delivery and stitches and joined my brothers, Bob and Don. Bob and Don were 8 and 6 years older than I was, respectively. My Dad had graduated from Penn State after serving in the Army in WWII and worked in accounting/management for Bethlehem Steel. My Mom also served in the Army in WWII but only graduated from the 8th grade.
I learned how to be as “perfect” a Mom as I could be from my own Mom. Despite having only an 8th grade formal education, she was one of the most self-educated women I ever knew. She loved to read and loved to spend her time figuring things out herself. A few examples from what I remember are the following:
While I know that my Mom would have been a phenomenal “chief” at one of the current corporations being operated today, she unfortunately did not have the required formal training, but she did have what it really takes, what you cannot be taught in school, what you must be born with … she had …
While my Mom did believe in all of those things, and they made her strong, and made her husband strong, and made her children strong, and I believe made all others strong, she still sometimes felt “less” than us because of the lower formal education. She was not lower than us. I hope she knew that when she had to leave us…
I also hope that Tom knows that I love him and I also hope that Annie knows I love her.
I had a subdural hematoma 10-10-17. Because of the hematoma, I am suffering physical and mental disabilities. Mentally I suffer from seizures and slowness of my short-term memory and thought. For the seizures I take medication daily for the rest of my life. And for the physical disabilities (which are predominantly on my right side - I cannot write with my right hand, I cannot drive, and I walk with a slight hesitation) I am physically recovering each day and I am working at it very hard, at least I believe I am. In my next post about me I will write about my mothering Annie.
my life AS A PROFESSIONAL
Price Waterhouse (PW), Los Angeles, September 1981 to mid 80’s
Swett & Crawford (S&C), Los Angeles, mid-to-late 80’s
KPMG Peat Marwick (KPMG), Los Angeles, late 80’s to early 90’s
Houlihan, Lokey, Howard & Zukin (HL), Los Angeles, most of the 90’s
Two small Las Vegas firms in the early 2000’s
Large non-profit organization in Las Vegas from late 2002 to mid 2017
After graduating from IU in May 1981 I spent the summer of that year in Valparaiso with my parents and friends until my mom and I left for LA. While still at home I sewed outfits in anticipation of work in the Big City. I was so excited to move out of the farm country into the big city to start my career!
My first client at PW, one of the Big 8 international CPA firms at the time, was Lloyd’s Bank of London and after a very long and grueling audit I was asked by the partner to join the newly formed Entrepreneur Professional Services group.
I left PW in 1985 and joined S&C, a national wholesale brokerage insurance firm, in charge of budgeting and audits and controls and reporting.
In the late 80s I went to work for for KPMG, another one of the big CPA firms, for a few years as their internal Controller (for the SW Region).
In the early 90s I went to work for HL, a specialty investment banking firm as their internal Controller in charge of HR, IT and Accounting and then in 1997 they decided to add a CFO, and they promoted me to that position.
My parents moved to Las Vegas from Indiana in 1993, then they they decided to add (and promote me to) the position of CFO to the organization. Shortly after my promotion, Tom and I decided to start looking for a move to Las Vegas. I took a position as CFO for first a small manufacturing-type firm and then a mid-size production firm (that at the time was publicly traded and had an infusion of joint venture funds made available to it to expand, then 9/11 struck). I soon left there for a nonprofit and stayed for 15 years as CFO at first and ultimately COO/CFO until I suffered my hematoma and became both mentally and physically disabled. My physical disability is quite apparent - as my right side is very impaired and I was right-handed. I cannot write; thank goodness for computers! And I cannot drive; thank goodness for my husband and Uber! My mental disabilities are that I cannot think, act or process like a COO - that is why I left my job.
While I was successful at my various places of professional employment from 1981-2017, I earned the following accolades:
I was also hired at the nonprofit organization with no prior experience in nonprofits or their specific fields but I brought “smarts” and built the organization during my 15 years of tenure there.
GOD BLESS, PEG.
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” ― Mark Twain
PEG: THE STORY OF SUCCESS
Hello. I am Peg Freman. To keep things straight, I am married to Tom and we have a daughter Annie. Tom and and I live in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Annie now lives in San Jose, California.
Like I said, I am Peg (well, I went by Peggy for a long time and some people even call me that). Peg, that’s the name I have gone by and will go by, but I was born Margaret Ann Witmer and then married into the name Freman, with one “e” - yes, Freman with only one “e.” I was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on February 8, 1959, to Robert John and Margaret Jane (Basalla). My parents were married October 12, 1950. I have 2 brothers, Robert (he, “Bob,” is 8 years older than I am) and Donald (he, “Don,” is 6 years older than I am). I grew up being the only girl and was practically an only child because of the separation of years between my brothers and me. Bob left for college when I was only 10 and Don joined him 2 years later (they both went to Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana).
Both Bob and Don have been married for a long time to the their respective spouses. Bob has been married to Aiko for almost 40 years and Don has been married to Maritza for almost 35 years. Bob and Aiko have two children, Layla and Alex. Layla is married to Sebastian and they have one son, Kai. Tom and I got married October 10, 1987, which 30 years later marked the most significant change of my life - my subdural hematoma. This hematoma has changed my life more than anything else has changed my life - schools, cities I have moved to and lived in, jobs I have taken and/or left, my marriage to Tom or having my only child, Annie on March 27, 1995.
I lived in Pennsylvania until I was nearly 5 when my dad was transferred to northwest Indiana. I grew up in Indiana and went to school there my entire school-life. I went to Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, Thomas Jefferson Junior High and Valparaiso High School. It should be known that I didn’t go to kindergarten. Not going to kindergarten back then was a bit odd (as it still is these days), but my parents knew we would be going to school for at least 16 years and that there were things like Captain Kangaroo and Romper Room on TV to start us off instead of kindergarten.
So, my academic career began in first grade.
I was always an overachiever. So my first day in that first grade, my mom was concerned. She was concerned because I hadn’t gone to kindergarten and therefore I may be slower than the others. But, the first day I stopped the class with an interruption. I asked the teacher if we should start the day with the Pledge of Allegiance (they always did on those shows on TV in the morning). As it turned out, I was actually correct! We did stop the class and we recited the Pledge and the teacher told my mom when she picked me up that she had nothing to worry about!
Every time grades came out during junior high and high school my name made the Honor Roll. When we were leaving junior high, our junior high school decided to honor its most academically achieved students during their past 3 years there by recognizing about ten of us (out of about 225). I was one of those recognized and I still have the gold lapel pin with my initials, MAW, that I was given that day for those achievements. That is something Annie should always keep - and I will discuss more of those items in an upcoming post.
In high school I made the National Honor Society. And, I graduated 13th out of 465 students from my high school class in 1977. I got to wear a yellow tassel in addition to the green tassel (our school color) at our high school graduation. Despite both of my brothers being much older than me, in both junior high and high school, some of the teachers remained the same and were still there teaching. That was nice, very nice. They remembered Bob and Don, and Bob and Don remembered them, and for a long long time thereafter Bob, Don and I spoke fondly about them.
I then went on to Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, for college. I went there when Bobby Knight was (famously and infamously) there as basketball coach. I graduated cum laude (with honors) in 1981 with a degree in accounting in exactly 4 years. I did not take any time off to “find myself” or travel Europe. When I graduated in May 1981 I took a job with as a Staff Accountant with Price Waterhouse in Los Angeles. No one thought I could ever leave my parents back in Indiana and move 2400 miles away to a place I had never even visited, but I did! I left Valparaiso in July by car with my mom and found a studio apartment for me and I started working in September.
I was always a success as a child/student and I continued my success as a professional in Los Angeles with Price Waterhouse! This is just the start of the journey!
GOD BLESS, PEG.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” -Dr. Seuss
The Blog Posts are written by me and are written for you.