Somebody call 911!

We had a sobering experience at a presentation this morning.  Gordon was talking about the stroke and recovery experience when an audience member collapsed and required medical attention.  We all moved to another room while the EMTs attended to their patient.

The patient was new to this group so no one knew him.  Luckily, one person had the man’s business card so they knew his name.  He had no medical or contact information in his wallet.  What a scary and vulnerable place to be!

Gordon was only halfway through his presentation but with the turn of events at the meeting, his message certainly took on greater significance.  It also reinforced the importance of having certain information readily available in your wallet in case of emergency.

Do you carry written information showing your name, the name and phone number of your emergency contact, a list of your medications, and any other important information regarding your health?  If you are unable to communicate, would a medical professional be aware of your important details?  If the answer is no, do it now!  We used:

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This really shook up Gordon. His stroke was 7 years ago (March 27,2008) and he had passed out.  Luckily he was home and I could notify the team when they asked if he was taking any medication, any medical history, etc. . But what if he wasn’t home?  What then?

Even if you take no medication at all, a medical info card is important.  It will take 10 minutes to complete.  Do it now! 

Jill Viggiano

Talking about IMPORTANT things

I had the honor of speaking at a fundraiser for Wilderness Journey Ministries this weekend.  IMG_0424They do the wonderful work of helping families and loved ones communicate effectively and lovingly when a life-threatening diagnosis is received.  I love their slogan: “Helping families face a life-threatening illness holding Christ’s hand.”

It seems a bit surreal sometimes to be the person offering perspective and encouragement to others in need.  It just wasn’t that long ago when I was the one in need.  I am so happy to offer hope by being an example of successful, ongoing recovery.  With each story of not-so-successful recovery, I am reminded how important The Team is!  No one recovers alone.

Hearing stories of families who needed a terminal illness to finally learn how to talk about the important things was an eye-opener.  I guess we put off those important discussions because we assume there is always tomorrow so why rush it?  Every story included the realization that having the important conversations brought them closer and they were sorry they waited so long.  Good lesson to learn.

Jill Viggiano

Do I appreciate Now?

Today is good!

I appreciate Today.  Both Gordon and I feel good–healthy and strong.  We still get to live in our house where we have lived for 13 years.  Our kids are delightful.  The sun is shining.  It is warm today but it will be cool tonight for sleeping.  I ate cookies for dessert.  Most of the bills are paid.  The sun is suddenly at an angle, showing Fall is on the way.  The car is full of gas.  I’m not worried about tomorrow.  Yesterday was pretty great too.

When I was a kid, we sang a song in Sunday School:  “This is the day that the Lord has made!  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  As a kid, I didn’t understand why a regular ol’ day deserved rejoicing, but I do now.  As with most people, I have had some good days, some bad days, and some truly awful days.  All of them have brought me to this day and today is good.  I am happy to take the time to appreciate it.

Jill Viggiano

Good…but different

After giving my speech last week, an audience member thanked me for talking about how “normal life” changes after a dramatic event.  He talked about the realization that “recovery” doesn’t necessarily mean going back to the way things were.

This is an important distinction.  In my speech, I talk about Gordon’s and my decision that life was still going to be good after his stroke, even though it was going to be different.   When our “normal life” was taken away from us, we chose to embrace the different life we were given.

There is still love and happiness to be had in this different life.  Yes, I miss the old life sometimes but I cannot let myself dwell on it.  It is gone.  We have today and it is good–good but different.

Jill Viggiano