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Seven Miles of Gratitude

Updated on October 10, 2013
Rose off the Ol' Front Porch
Rose off the Ol' Front Porch | Source

Mile 1

The Ascent to Mt. Hope Cemetery
The Ascent to Mt. Hope Cemetery | Source

This Can't Be Happening!

Even as it happens, I know it's not a dream.

In front of me is a dead man's arm.

With my right hand, I grasp the strange and lifeless fingers. It is then that I realize that the shock of encountering this rare and unsolicited event renders me more than speechless.

I am mindless.

With one frightening exception.

I have a solitary thought coursing through my petrified brain. I am conscious of that singular conception, and I desperately cling to it like a man washed overboard in the frigid Bering Sea clutching on to a life preserver. I cannot--I must not!--lose this thought, yet with each passing nanosecond, my biggest fear is that I am drowning in mental quicksand.

That one thought...

The dead man's arm belongs to me!

Mile 2

Heading South to Mojonnier Road
Heading South to Mojonnier Road | Source

Helpful Information about TIA

Rewind

A mere hour and a half earlier, my wife and I were enjoying a wonderful meal at a Chinese restaurant just across our state's southern border in Milton-Freewater, Oregon. We had ordered our usual vegetarian fare--fried rice, egg foo young, sweet and sour tofu, and a stir-fried dish that included celery slices, water chestnuts, and cashews. I also asked for a small plate of hot sauce. A nice complement to our food was a pot of hot tea.

It was indeed a lovely Friday night date, and we enjoyed a conversation about our adult children, our respective eBay businesses, and plans for the weekend.

When we returned home, I remember placing a small pile of paperwork on the bed. It was at that precise moment that I inexplicably picked my left hand up with my right and, to my horror, experienced that incredible fugue. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn't think it through. There's nothing as scary as suddenly discovering that the ability to think has been abruptly taken away. Whatever conceptualization I did at that moment, I did by pure impressions and imagery. I knew something was terribly wrong, and I knew enough to call for help.

The accompanying problem, however, was that I couldn't speak well. I neither had volume nor clarity with my words. I called out to my wife, Rita, but all I could hear was a voice that sounded less like mine and more like an animal's guttural sound: "Ree-ah."

I tried again, willfully calling out as loud as I possibly could, "REE-AHH!"

This time, my wife heard me from the kitchen below and came bounding up the stairs.

Mile 3

Wheat Field at Intersection of South College Avenue and Mojonnier Road
Wheat Field at Intersection of South College Avenue and Mojonnier Road | Source

Yep, it's happening, alright!

She found me sitting on the bed, my right hand still clinging to my left hand, a bewildered and slack expression on my face.

My speech was slurred, but I was at least able to share with her what had happened. I have made fun of my wife in the past for animatedly using her hands and arms in conversations, but I will never do so again. In that moment, communicating with gestures was an absolute godsend.

Later, she would share with me that I actually mentioned to her that the left side of my face was numb. I don't remember saying that at all, either shutting out the memory of it or unwittingly demonstrating yet another significant indicator.

Thankfully, the ground zero moment lasted only a couple of minutes. But the aftershock was this overwhelming fatigue.

From her experience as a nurse for the past three and a half decades, my wife knew that I had suffered a TIA, or transient ischemic attack. Breaking it down to its lowest common denominator, I had experienced a mini-stroke.

My wife gave me three baby aspirins (81 mg each) and monitored my blood pressure. She also called the ER at the hospital she works at. After some discussion, we decided that I would go to bed early, and my wife would keep monitoring my situation.

(Author's interjection: Friends, if an episode like this ever happens to you, don't hesitate. Go immediately to your local emergency room and get some help.)

Mile 4

Heading West on the Old Milton Highway
Heading West on the Old Milton Highway | Source

The Down Side of a Chinese Dinner

That evening, while I slept, my wife went online and found articles suggesting that the ingestion of monosodium glutamate (MSG) can cause pseudo stroke symptoms.

She called the Chinese restaurant, and the woman who spoke with her confirmed that they did indeed use MSG in their cooking. However, at a customer's request, they could prepare their dishes without the additive.

Naturally, my wife and I were somewhat relieved that this was a possibility in my case. However, we did not allow our hopefulness to blindside our rational thinking. There have been relatives on both paternal and maternal sides of the family that have died from strokes. Indeed, I needed to see my primary physician as soon as possible.

Mile 5

A Couple of Red-Tailed Hawks Watching Over Me
A Couple of Red-Tailed Hawks Watching Over Me | Source

So Far, So Good

I had not enjoyed certain side effects of my blood pressure medication so, earlier this year, I decided to get off them. At the time, I was full swing into my walking program and believed that through exercise, healthier eating, and weight loss, I could lower my b.p. naturally.

When I saw my doctor, my blood pressure was abnormally high. Because of the TIA episode, he strongly recommended that I get back on my medication regimen. At this point, I agreed wholeheartedly with him.

He ordered some initial tests.

The EKG (electrocardiogram) his nurses administered to me came up negative (which is doctorspeak for good results).

In another lab room of the hospital, a female health technician tested my carotid arteries with an ultrasound machine. The next day, I received the good news that my arteries were clear.

None of this means I'm out of the woods. In fact, at my age and with my health issues, genetically predisposed and enhanced by so many years of bad lifestyle choices, I'm still at grave risk.

What this boils down to is a concerted effort on my part to continue getting more exercise, eating healthier, and coping better with stress.

The way I look at it, this TIA episode was a wake-up call.

Mile 6

College Place Village Seventh-day Adventist Church
College Place Village Seventh-day Adventist Church | Source

The Morning After

The morning after the TIA episode, I was so happy just to wake up.

I had not yet seen my doctor, but I felt so good and so relieved and so motivated that I just knew that the best thing I could do was to go for a walk.

Now, I don't recommend what I did to anyone else, so please don't follow my example. I had to do what I had to do. When I began my walking campaign on the very first day of this year, I promised myself that I did not want to leave this earth as a rotund and helpless individual lying in a nursing home bed somewhere, my body weak and disfigured and covered with my own waste. No, the box I checked was the one that found me actively engaged in mortal combat with death.

When it is time for me to go, I want to be living life to its fullest, not prolonging an inevitable conclusion while incarcerated in a prison masquerading as a health care facility. Death doesn't afford us the luxury of too many choices, but by God, I want this one choice more than anything.

Every day, then, and certainly reinforced by this TIA scare, I am Dylan Thomas' protagonist, and I "...rage, rage against the dying light..."

So I did what I had trained my mind, body, and soul to incorporate as a learned behavioral response to stress: I went for a walk.

A 7-Mile Walk.

My Neighbor's Garden
My Neighbor's Garden | Source

I Am Extremely Grateful to Be Alive

There are seven sections of text in this personal essay.

Each section is complemented by its own photo. The image reflects exactly where I was at when each mile had been completed. At the end of each mile, I paused to give thanks to my Creator for my life.

For my loved ones.

For my friends.

For my livelihood.

For my health.

For my writing.

For my beautiful mind, my engaging heart, and my gypsy soul.

If God has further work for me to do; if He has plans for me to make a difference for the better; and if He's not yet ready for me to go to that final sleep...

...Then I'll just keep enjoying a wondrous spin on this magnificent ferris wheel of life.

The Seattle Great Wheel
The Seattle Great Wheel | Source

My Walking Program for 2013

Days Walked
Elapsed Days
% of Days Walked
112
243
46.1%
Miles Walked
Goal
% Towards Goal
685
1000
68.5%
Weight on 01/01/13
Weight on 09/01/13
Total Weight Loss in 2013
228
208
20 lbs
It's great to be back! Thanks for reading, sharing your views, and for all your loving support! Aloha, my friends!
It's great to be back! Thanks for reading, sharing your views, and for all your loving support! Aloha, my friends!

© 2013 Hawaiian Odysseus

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  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 2 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @manatita44

    Thank you for your gracious comment. You'll find the most wonderful global writers and friends here. My best to you en route to discovering them.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 2 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @manatita44

    Thank you for gracing this post with your presence, my friend. I haven't been a good example of expressing and showing gratitude for much of my life, but there are moments, while walking, when I pick up wise counsel from the Author of a bigger picture than I'll ever see. Long story short, I'm learning to be grateful. Aloha!

  • manatita44 profile image

    manatita44 2 years ago from london

    Inspirational story.

    So good that you are expressing gratitude. Yes, our lives are very precious. God bless you.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Pamela! I've been writing on another site. I love the people on HP, but I need to invest my time and energy where that investment is better compensated. I am grateful for so many dear and wonderful people that I've met here, and you are definitely one of them. Aloha, my friend, and thank you for your gracious concern.

  • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

    Pamela Kinnaird W 3 years ago from Maui and Arizona

    Joe, I popped in to see what you have written lately and instead saw this of three months ago. What a scare for you and your wife. What a blessing that your wife is or was for a long time -- a registered nurse.

    I do recall you mentioning in another hub you had had an episode of this and so you started your walking program. To read about the actual event is, as many people have commented, very powerful. Thank you for sharing this with us. I do hope you're okay. I see on your Profile page you've been away for six days.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @kikalina

    Thank you, my dear. There's still some fire left in the engine! : )

  • kikalina profile image

    kikalina 3 years ago from Europe

    Glad to see you pulled through this fine.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Wow! You're awesome! Two tours in Iraq, and now on the domestic scene, you've immersed yourself in an amazing running program...a way of life, actually, and in large part a tribute to your father. He would be so proud of you!

    Thanks for weighing in and sharing your gracious comments., Casey! You know, I love strolling through the countryside of the Walla Walla Valley. Later this morning, I hope to be working on a hub about a walk I enjoyed yesterday. Guess you could say I've been on a sabbatical of sorts from my writing endeavors, but hearing from you and reading your work inspires me and helps young juices flow through these old bones. Thanks for the long distance motivation.

    I was going to introduce you to another guy I respect a great deal, but I see you're already following him (again, more evidence of your young wisdom)...and that would be billybuc. In the not so distant future, I would very much enjoy meeting him in person and talk writing, baseballl, and the soarin' Seahawks! : ) Wouldn't it be neat if every now and then, we had regional and/or national HubPages weekend events where HP writers could meet and share their craft philosophies, news, and stories with each other? For sure, I'd be looking you up, Casey!

    Well, gotta tend to some eBay business...talk to you soon, my friend! Aloha, and have a memorable and challenging week!

    ~Joe

  • abetterwaytolive profile image

    Casey Johnson 3 years ago from Sanger, Texas

    Joe,

    Such a beautiful article. It had me by the throat! Thanks so much for sharing.

    My father passed away from a heart attack when he was only 50, so I have been running nearly every day. I compete in half-marathons and triathlons now to give me motivation to keep exercising and it has influenced many people around me too.

    Keep up the great hubs!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Beth!

    Thank you so much for your gracious presence and comment. I was fascinated with your profile and am inspired by your life example. You're certainly blessed and professionally involved in work that is both meaningful to you and definitely a way to give back. Congratulations, and best wishes for your continued success. Aloha!

    ~Joe

  • Smyls profile image

    Beth Burgess 3 years ago from London

    Glad you're OK. Thanks for sharing your story and your gratitude :)

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thank you, Stephanie! I'm always happy to celebrate your arrival at my hubs or to read yours. Yes, I have so much aloha and mahalo for God's grace, and once I am over the aftermath "hiatus" of such an episode, I will be back writing like the dickens. Right now, I'm kept quite busy with eBay and family activities. But I WILL be back! Aloha, my dear friend!

    ~Joe

  • Hawaiian Scribe profile image

    Stephanie Launiu 3 years ago from Hawai'i

    Gosh Joe, so sorry to hear about your frightful episode but so proud of you for sharing good info with us in a hub. And for walking so many miles and sticking to your walking goals. Take care of yourself! Aloha, Stephanie

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Lisa!

    Yes, indeed, it was a frightening episode in my life. But if experiencing and writing about it means that it increases an awareness of things we can watch out for as well as proactively engage in, then I'm grateful for even the worst of it. Thanks for weighing in this morning. I always appreciate seeing your lovely smile and hearing from you. Blessings and aloha, my friend!

    ~Joe

  • Lisawilliamsj profile image

    Lisa Williams 3 years ago

    Wow,Joe this most have been terrifying! I am so glad that you are feeling better! This is an absolutely beautifully written account of one of he most horrifying things you have ever gone through. Thank you so much for sharing this! We eat Chinese food all of the time because one of my daughters is a vegetarian. I will definitely start inquiring about MSG usage!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thank you so much for your gracious comments, Devika!

    How are you doing, my friend? Hope and pray that this finds you in excellent health and spirits. For some inexplicable reason, I'm not getting a comprehensive feed notifying me of new hubs from some of my international friends, so it was good to encounter your wonderful presence and message this morning.

    Blessings and aloha from SE Washington where autumn and wet weather have definitely declared an end to summer,

    ~Joe

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    Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Seven Miles of Gratitude brilliantly written and you r work is always worth a read well done another well approached hub. Well mentioned and so appreciated

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Martie!

    Thank you for your gracious visit and encouragement, my friend. Yes, I am so thankful my wife was home when it happened. It was absolutely the scariest thing I'd experienced since seeing JAWS for the first time 38 years ago. I was in the backseat of my car at the time with my girlfriend...ah, but that's another hub altogether. Sorry, I got distracted. Which I'm thankful for....because that's one way I know that the TIA didn't take away my scatterbrained way of seeing the world. LOL!

    Always good to hear from you, Martie. With the great exodus from HP taking place almost on a daily basis, it's nice to see new members...but even sweeter to see familiar faces. And you're definitely a favorite!

    Aloha, my friend!

    ~Joe

  • MartieCoetser profile image

    Martie Coetser 3 years ago from South Africa

    Hawaiianodysseus, what a terrifying experience you've had! I am so glad you are okay and ready again to '...rage, rage against the dying light..."

    I will keep your experience in mind next time I buy Chinese food. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is perhaps the very scoundrel that always sends me raging with colic after a Chinese meal, although - and I have finally realized this - only when I drink champagne with the food.

    Take care of yourself! My compliments to your wife!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thank you, Liz!

    And I'm even more unreasonably rambunctious than ever, thanks to the great friends like you who remain here on HP. I'm hearing rumors that there's another Google pet on the loose, so I'm wondering what further changes there might be...and if it affects Bubblews in some way.

    In any event, I enjoyed watching the Seahawks come from way behind to beat a very tough Houston team in overtime, and now I'm ready to do some work on eBay as well as comment on a few hubs. Sales were finally better this past week, and I'm wishing us well as we prepare for the holiday rush.

    I'll be shooting you an eBay question soon, so keep an eye out for a message in your iinbox. Hope you all are doing well! I'm hanging in there, thank you, and still working hard to meet my 1000 mile goal for the year. With the weather changing, it'll be a photo finish for sure! Aloha, my dear friend!

    ~Joe

  • Radcliff profile image

    Liz Davis 3 years ago from Hudson, FL

    Joe!

    I read this when you first published it, but neglected to leave a comment. So here I am, back to say that I'm glad you endured this ordeal and are still here to tell about it. You're amazing!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Beautiful sentiments, Jo! Thank you so very much! Your loving support and prayers go a long way, my friend. I thought of you a good deal recently for at least a couple of reasons--your excellent writing; your moral fiber; your social activism; your willingness to make a difference; your positive example here in Hubsville and elsewhere; and the occasion of the Hubbie Awards. : ) I'm grateful to have made your acquaintance a short while ago via this literary site, a status that has grown into a quality friendship through a healthy exchange of hubs, ideas, and aspirations. Aloha and shalom, my friend!

    ~Joe

  • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

    Jo_Goldsmith11 3 years ago

    I am so glad and grateful you are okay! I hope you know you are on my prayer list! Thank God for Reeah.

    Please be safe! Pace yourself and I send you hugs.

    Many blessings and may the stars always shine in your favor, the angels charge to protect you and the wind at your back. Shalom

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Good morning, Lisa!

    I'm just about ready to go on my walk, but I saw that you had stopped by to share in this hub experience, and I just couldn't leave without sharing some quality time with you. Thank you so much, dear friend, for your loyal support and encouragement. Your messages are always healing to my soul, and I appreciate your presence in my little corner of Hubsville as well as the wonderful manner in which you've graced and enriched the lives of so many other writers and readers, along with their loved ones and friends, with your compelling array of excellent literary gems. Best wishes for continued success as a writer and in all other endeavors that you pursue, and may love and grace be abundant in your life. I still remember the cute things you did with your hub photos that first attracted me to your hubs. : ) Keep on rockin' and living well, Lisa! Aloha, my dear friend!

    ~Joe

  • LKMore01 profile image

    LKMore01 3 years ago

    How can we all express how grateful we are to have you in our lives. I am so grateful to have met you, Joe. By writing your powerful story you have probably saved hundreds of lives and helped countless others with recognizing the symptoms of a stroke. The swift actions of you and your wife were essential lessons learned. Educational, inspiring, powerful. Peace, healing and love to you.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Pearl, I am so grateful that you stopped by and shared the news of your two friends' TIA episodes with me. They both are encouraging to me. You're a dear heart for providing me with this wonderful gift as we enter the weekend. Hope all is well with you and that you and yours will have a beautiful and memorable weekend as well! Aloha!

    ~Joe

  • grandmapearl profile image

    Connie Smith 3 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

    My best friend's husband suffered a TIA, apparently the result of medication. He spent 6 hours at the hospital, went home and never had another episode after being taken off the meds. Another friend of mine had a TIA after eating a Chinese takeout meal. The culprit: MSG.

    So, keep on truckin', my friend! Keep on your healthy exercise and diet routine--that's the best thing anyone can do for themselves ;) Pearl

    Voted Up++++

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thank you, Phyllis! Have a wonderful weekend! If it's not raining, I'll go on a nice walk tomorrow morning and hopefully encounter my next hub along the way. : ) Aloha, dear friend!

    ~Joe

  • Phyllis Doyle profile image

    Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

    Joe, you are a jewel, a hubber at heart, and a true friend. I am blessed to know you. You can always count on me also. Thank you for your kind words and dedication to HubPages, to your friends, and most of all to your own spiritual growth, for that is where your great love comes from.

    ~ Phyllis

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Crystal, you were a child prodigy writer, and thank God you've never hidden that talent under a bushel. I re-read your profile tonight, and I'm simply amazed at your many accomplishments at such a young age. Thank you very much for finding your way to HubPages. So many of the first and second waves of Hubbers are leaving, but there's still a part of me that believes this sleeping giant is just about to wake up. As with any organic entity, there's bound to be growing pains. I made it a goal to write 1000 hubs by the time I'm 70 so that I could have a cool grand of multiple streams of income at that age. My pace is slow and steady, and with God's help, I'll meet that goal. So I'm there in your corner and you be here in mine, and with the help and camaraderie of a host of our other hubber friends, we'll witness the resurgence of HubPages together! Aloha, dear Crystal!

    ~Joe

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Good evening, Phyllis!

    Wow, I'm just blown away by your kind and gracious comments, my friend. I've just come from Maria Jordan's (marcujor) recent hub, and I'm reeling at the numbers of dear and talented writers that are leaving HubPages. One of the greatest things about this community is the opportunity to not just write, not just read, but to actually connect with other individuals in a very meaningful way. Unfortunately, the reality is that HP, like so many internet-related entities, is very dependent on the Google machine for its survival.

    That said, I want to return to the real point I wanted to make. You can count on me, Phyllis, to be a friend, a resource, a go-to connection. I'm one of those stubborn 2nd generation Hubbers...you know, those of us who missed the train when things were really happening...and who have resided in Hubsville long enough to see waves of newbies asking the same things we once asked...is it possible to make money on HP? ...has anyone else noticed that the views are going down?...

    As long as there is a breath in this soul, I will be here on HubPages. I will continue to write honestly and respectfully, and I will always support and encourage all of my writing peers. You're a very good neighbor, Phyllis, and I appreciate the positive contributions you've made to this community. Blessings and aloha, my friend, and I'll see you at the next hub!

    ~Joe

  • Phyllis Doyle profile image

    Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

    Aloha, Joe. You are truly an inspirational and spiritual messenger sent from the divine realms to remind us to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. You are also a courageous warrior defending life and happiness, full of love and a giving, compassionate soul. Blessings to you and may you always walk in peace and harmony.

    Much love and many hugs,

    Phyllis

  • Crystal Tatum profile image

    Crystal Tatum 3 years ago from Georgia

    Joe, you have a marvelous and inspiring attitude and I very much admire you. Thank you so much for your kind words, I am truly honored. And you have indeed made a difference for me as I am inspired and awed by your spirit.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Crystal!

    Thank you so much for your wonderful words of goodwill and cheer. As sobering as this unexpected episode was, I am approaching each day with the same zealousness and passion for life, love, and the beautiful world we live in. I'm not religious, but I am very spiritual, and it's my belief that we humans are better off not putting qualifiers on things, events, and other people such as good or bad. That's the way I'm dealing with what happened. It is what it is...a wake-up call...and I'm taking the opportunity to be happy and to count my blessings. I'm so privileged to write (and read) here on HubPages...I'm not sure there's another literary site that promotes social interaction to the degree that HP does. I'm fortunate to have made your acquaintance here, Crystal. You are such a talented young woman with so much to share with the world through your writing. If in some small way I have made a difference for the better in your life as you have in mine, then I am one high soarin' eagle!

    Blessings and aloha to you, my sweet friend!

    ~Joe

  • Crystal Tatum profile image

    Crystal Tatum 3 years ago from Georgia

    Aloha Joe! What a frightening, sad, hopeful and beautiful piece this is. You write so beautifully and with such passion and courage. I can't help but feel disappointed on your behalf after you have made such an effort to be healthy this year that this should happen to you. I am so sorry for your struggles and hope that you have many more miles ahead.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Wow, Brandi, you have been through such an ordeal! It really is true, how others sharing their stories can actually lighten one's load and provide comfort. Knowing that we are warriors fighting alongside each other in the spiritual, emotional, and physical trenches is a source of great encouragement to me. I really like that you share challenges life has dealt you because it definitely passes on to others lessons and coping strategies. Your writing is very engaging, Brandi, and I am sincerely honored, fortunate, and grateful to follow you and your work. Thanks for stopping by in the midst of your busy schedule to say "hi!" Aloha, and have a fun and memorable weekend, my friend!

    ~Joe

  • CraftytotheCore profile image

    CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

    I'm literally following in your footsteps Joe! I too had a similar experience except I went totally paralyzed on my right side for 8 days. I had the most profound migraine headache with it, and high blood pressure. This was Dec. 2012. They said it was most like a hemiplegic migraine with paralysis. I don't know my bio father so I'm not sure if it's something that runs on my paternal side.

    In talking with others, they suggested TIA. My neurologist suggested it was the flu shot.

    Regardless, I still suffer from high blood pressure ever since but am walking daily up now. I go back Oct 10 to see how my blood pressure is doing.

    Glad you are ok Joe!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    I hear you loud and clear, Sandy! You are indeed the ultimate time traveler! Thanks so much for the loving support!

    ~Joe

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    TIMETRAVELER2 3 years ago

    Aw Shucks, Joe! Really? Listen, you are dealing here with a 20 year old woman trapped in the body of a 70 year old, so don't let the age thing fool you! I'm just so glad that you're doing OK. Meds are not fun, and their side effects are tough, but take my advice...forget the "natural healing" and do what the medical doctors tell you to do. You will find a way to balance all of it, believe me...I know! Besides, you've got ME on your side, so there is no losing this game!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hello, Sandy!

    I am definitely heeding your advice regarding the blood pressure medication. The doctor was surprised and glad to hear that I'd also been getting regular exercise...anything to help the cause.

    Wow, my friend, on two counts: First of all, I was surprised to learn your age. You write so much younger than your chronological age. Please know that I mean this as a sincere compliment. It's not a strong suit of mine to discuss women's ages, and I am aware of the social norms and mores. It's just that I was definitely surprised. You know that I hold you in high esteem, my friend.

    Secondly...THREE TIA's!? Oh, my word, and look at you today...such a survivor! Amazing grace are the words that come to mind.

    I got off the meds because I was experiencing muscle weakness and other side effects. I would much rather go the alternative route of natural healing, but I'm certainly not going to butt my head against any self-imposed walls, either.

    Sandy, I'm still reeling as I realize what energy and longevity you have when measured by your prolific output here on HP. All I can say is that you're definitely a major contributor to the greater good of this literary community.

    Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your wonderful feedback. My best to you always! Aloha!

    ~Joe

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    ThaInk you so much for your gracious comments, Elias! HubPages is certainly the premium site for sharing accounts such as this one. The people who write, read, and frequent its pages are such encouraging and positive movers and shakers. We each do our part to make this a better world. I am very grateful to your excellent contributions, Elias! Aloha, my friend!

    ~Joe

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    TIMETRAVELER2 3 years ago

    Joe: I am terribly sorry to hear this scary news, but take heart, my friend. A good number of years ago I suffered THREE tia attacks within a two week period, and am still here to tell you the story at age 70. In my case, medication (I believe) is what caused the problem. I went off those meds (Tamoxifen for Breast Cancer protection and Vioxx for Arthritis pain). Both carried the side effect of blood clots...a very small percentage each...but combined and for me, they were deadly. I have taken a coated baby aspirin every day since then and have had no further problems. I am unable to walk or exercise much due to my terrible Arthritis problems, but I'm doing OK. Listen, my friend, NEVER go off medication without first discussing it with your doctor. High BP is nothing to fool with, but thank goodness it is controllable. I will keep you in my prayers and want you to know that I am ever thankful for your continuing friendship.

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    Elias Zanetti 3 years ago from Athens, Greece

    Joe,

    Such a sad incident turned into an amazing story of inspiration for us all to learn from! I'm really glad you recovered well. Be healthy my friend!

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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Mary!

    Married couples go through different stages in life, and we are discovering new things all the time, aren't we? You and I, we write younger than our chronological ages, and so it hits me harder when life abruptly calls out to me and reminds me, "Hey, you! You're 61 years old! Time to pay your dues!"

    Larry and I may have experienced our respective episodes with some differences, but I'm thinking there were some key similarities as well...like, this CAN"T be happening, or I haven't had a chance to tell them how much I love them (which is as irrational as it gets but nevertheless of great significance during an episode), or I'm trapped inside my body...HELP!

    There are no coincidences. Things were meant to happen. And we who remain faithful to what we once perceived as the heart of HubPages (in spite of recent botched up heart transplants by Dr. Google) have it in us to share the story...even when that story isn't easy to articulate .

    These are just some of my thoughts at this moment, Mary.

    And I'll close with these. Hang in there, Larry! Hang in there, tillsontitan! Me ke aloha pumehana,

    ~Joe

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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hey, Jamie!

    Thanks for stopping by to engage in this hub experience. I am very thankful to have survived that ordeal, and should it happen again, I will know at least have a better idea of what to do. I thank God that my wife was close by. Best wishes to you, sir, and have a wonderful rest of the week and weekend!

    ~Joe

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    Jamie Lee Hamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

    What an inspiring tale of positive energy. I am glad you are better and good luck with your recovery. Jamie

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    Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

    I am heartsick! I thought your absence was due to your Fla. vacation. I had no idea until you left a hint on my hub but now I know and understand. I have not experienced what you and Larry have, but I watched him and lived through it with him. It is the scariest thing we have been through together so please tell your wife I am thinking of her.

    No one could have written this the way you did. (I'm going to link this to my hub when I'm finished here.)

    You are a dear heart who I have been so proud to call friend. I look forward to your hubs but I must admit I look forward to your comments even more my baby boomer friend. Though I am your elder, we have much in common. As I am now telling my husband KEEP TAKING YOUR PILLS. God bless you and thank you for sharing this experience. I am looking forward to many more experiences from you dear friend and many more comments as well!

    Voted all but funny, pinned, shared and linked.

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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Kathryn, I feel for you, I really do. But your writing is so powerful and memorable that the sense I have of you is that you are a survivor who possesses a joie de vivre and a generous amount of moxie to grind through the tough times and emerge even stronger and tougher. My earnest prayer is that you do not grow bitter or harder because of life's challenges but that you use this adult growing pain to hone the brilliance of your inner diamond. You have an innate raw talent as a writer that has already made such a memorable impact here in Hubsville. It's understandable that you've placed it under a bushel for now, but I hope you find solace in it over time and produce even more golden gems. I believe in you, Kathryn, and so do a lot of other writers/readers in this community as well as whatever shores the Google waves have lapped. If I can be a source of support, in good times or in bad, I shall consider it an honor, my friend.

    I'm happy to hear that you are planning to attempt the October 10/10 challenge. Good for you, Kathryn. My brain took a mini-vacation LOL! and I thought at first that you were talking about a running race. It just dawned on me what you were referring to.

    I'm excited about the possibilities ahead of you, my friend. Take time to heal, be very good to yourself, and when you are ready, stay open and accessible to the love of your life.

    Aloha, Kathryn!

    A bona fide romantic,

    ~Joe

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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thank you, dear Eddy, for your kind and gracious comments. I hope your and Dai's friend is recuperating as well as possible. I'm thankful for the opportunity to have shared this and even more so for the wonderful friends who reach out on a regular basis with generous amounts of empathy and support. Congratulations on your excellent and prolific writing here in Hubsville. Aloha and blessings to you and yours, Eddy!

    ~Joe

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    Kathryn 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

    Joe, I just listened to that song. Very inspiring. My mother listens to that kind of music, so I bet she's familiar. That must have been a great song to sing in front of a congregation.

    I am hoping to attempt the October 10/10 challenge, even though my life is hectic right now. I have had so much going on, and so much to figure out, it has been hard to get much done in the writing world. But my desire to write despite everything, and my confidence in life, is coming back. So I am looking forward to seeing if I can do it... or at least trying to.

    I am also trying to line up a couple of jobs in Connecticut, where I lived before I came to Boston last October. If I do that, I have to find a place asap. It'll only be the second time I have ever lived on my own, so it is a combination of exciting and scary. I feel like I am jumping out of a plane, and I see the trampoline below, but am unsure if I am going to land on it. Wish my luck! Or maybe something a little more real, but you know what I mean!

    ~ Kathryn

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    Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

    I am so glad you are better Joe. Strangely a friend of mine suffered a stroke around six weeks ago. She is young but was doing far too much. She had spent the three weeks before in the high temperatures calving on her farm; fed her grandchildren and then went to work at the taxy farm that Dai works for.

    Thank you for sharing this one Joe. Take care and lots of love from Wales. Voting up and sharing.

    Eddy. friend

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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Jackie!

    Wow, it's amazing how a bad disc can manifest referral pain in other parts of the body. Yes, we can certainly empathize with each other. How are you doing? I hope and pray that you're not in any pain at this time.

    What I like about us writers is that we are compelled to one degree or another to chronicle our experience and to share it with others. HubPages is a really cool place that fosters the spirit of sharing.. It provided me with the golden opportunity to make your acquaintance, Jackie, and I've since enjoyed your grace and talent in both the excellent hubs that you write and the kind and thoughtful comments you share with others. Here's to the furtherance of that literary and social exchange for a long time to come! Aloha, my dear friend from The Beautiful South!

    ~Joe

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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @CrisSp

    You rock, my high-flyin' #1 stewardess! Thanks so much for your beautiful presence and heartwarming comments.

    Every experience, lighthearted or challenging, has important lessons for us. While I needed to take some much needed time off from the busy schedule, and with my confidence about writing somewhat shaken by the TIA episode, I knew at some point that the best way to learn and share valuable lessons was to do the very thing I temporarily did not want to do...and that is to write!

    Just wanted you to know that I for one am very grateful for the professional training that you and the rest of the flight crew engage in on an ongoing basis. TIA is unpleasant on the ground...it must be a hundred times scarier for the individual, other passengers, and the flight crew while flying at high altitudes.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing in this hub experience, Cris. Have a wonderful rest of the week, and I'll see you soon at the next hub! Aloha, dear friend, and back at you with the bear hugs!

    ~Joe

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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Peg!

    Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful words. Thank the Lord indeed! I'm glad you took the time to read and share in this hub experience, Peg.

    Don't know if you're a Cowboys fan, but Tony Romo and company played a whale of a game last Sunday. : )

    Have a wonderful week, Peg! Aloha, and I'll see you at the next hub!

    ~Joe

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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Bill D.!

    Thanks so much for your concern and well wishes, my friend. As writers, we depend upon and utilize so much of our minds. It truly was scary to lose control during that episode. I knew at some point that I wanted to write about and thus share the experience with others. In my writing, I want to share both the easy and the difficult things. It's my belief that both kinds of experiences have lessons for us to learn. Your comment hit the nail on the head: "...hopefully, it helps someone out there to recognize the symptoms and to know what to do."

    I may not be a good example of what one should do, and that's why I shared the link to tillsontitan's excellent hub. Still, I think the human interest angle got its point across as well. Thanks so much for being in my corner, Bill! It's good to be back! Aloha, my friend!

    ~Joe

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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Kathryn!

    I am so very, very happy to hear from you! Your comments are so enjoyable, and I've certainly missed your special presence here on HubPages. Granted, some of that was my doing because I needed to regroup and ponder the depths of the still waters...but I also know you're doing some of that as well.

    Kathryn, you are ever the perceptive one to notice that this hub was indeed part of my walking series. I usually try to get them out near the beginning of the month, but with that TIA episode, I kinda lost my confidence about writing...maybe about a lot of things. Thankfully, I worked through that impasse, and though my steps are still tentative, I'm making a comeback.

    There's a song that I once sang in church for special music. Maybe you know it. It's called, "I Will Rise," as performed by Chris Tomlin. If you're not familiar with it, check out his live performance of that song on YouTube. I think of that song, and it inspires me to new levels.

    Thank you for your wonderful empathy and grace, Kathryn! Aloha and blessings from SE Washington!

    ~Joe

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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thanks, WND! Yes, indeed, my wife and I are both firstborn children with strong wills to boot, so you hit your assessment of me right on the head. I think reading all those mystery books has given you very special insight about people and things. : )

    I truly believe God is not finished with me yet. Each Saturday, my wife and I are blessed to visit the elderly in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It's truly a two-way spiritual blessing, alright.

    Your witness here in the HubPages community has not gone unnoticed. In a quiet and unassuming way, you've been such an inspiration to me and so many others. Thanks so much for sharing from your heart. Aloha, and have a wonderful rest of the week!

    ~Joe

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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thank you, Karen, my dear friend. I totally respect where you're coming from for you yourself have rebounded in such a dynamic way from a health issue (I'm not violating any confidentiality because you wrote such an amazing hub about that experience). For next year, I don't believe I will be setting goals like I did at the beginning of this year, but I will definitely continue engaging in the ones I already have on my plate. If I can lose twenty+ pounds this year, I can do the same next year. One simple yet magnificent goal I DO have is to meet Bill Holland in person. It will be fun to sip a latte or two while engaged in a marathon conversation with this excellent writer. As long as HubPages hangs around, I'll do the same. And, yes, the first novel calls out to me...

    Thanks for stopping by. Hope you and Chuck are doing well, and may the good Lord bless you both and your loved ones as well. Aloha, my friend!

    ~Joe

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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thanks, Heather! Beautiful words from a beautiful woman and awesome singer!

    You know, the irony is that I grew up in Hawai'i eating foods that were liberally spiced with Ajinomoto, the popular Japanese brand name for MSG in the fifties and sixties. Perhaps not having used it as much in my adult years and then enjoying a nice Chinese dinner saturated with it might have done the trick. But as I mentioned in the hub, I also have family history of strokes. So I have to make wise choices. That said, the best thing I heard the doctor tell me was that I could definitely keep up my walking program. The 7-mile walk, you see, was an impulsive move on my part, probably because it helped me to feel that I was fighting back. I know you understand, Heather. And I'm definitely happy to be writing again. Aloha, my new friend, and keep on believing in your talent and your songs--you're awesome!

    ~Joe

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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thank you, bravewarrior, for your encouraging words. I am, like you and your brother, a fighter and survivor, and there's a lot more in me that I need to share via my writing, so I'm thankful for having successfully endured yet another life challenge. Definitely, this was a very scary episode. I am truly grateful to be alive.

    My family and I had such a wonderful time a few days ago in Orlando. We're all Disneyed out, but we certainly have a lot of good memories. My adult kids even got to swim in the Atlantic Ocean (at Daytona). Hot and humid, to be sure, but an impressive area. Had to share this with you just to let you know I was that close to your area. Aloha, and have a wonderful rest of the week!

    ~Joe

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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Liz, it's always a pleasure having you read and comment on my work. I hold you in high esteem as an individual and as a writer. Your roots are in New York, but you have certainly flourished in the West, my friend. Thank you for gracing the HubPages community with you excellent and prolific writing. I look forward to a very healthy literary and social exchange with you in the months to come. Aloha, and thanks again for sharing in this hub experience!

    ~Joe

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    Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

    I do know how scary this can be. A few weeks back I was getting in my car and a pain hit me in the tooth and then I started having chest pain tearing across my chest but in about the ten minutes it took me to get home they subsided and I was OK but thought I better get checked out and to make a long story short they could find nothing wrong with all the tests but my Neurologist showed me an area where I have a bad disc in my neck and showed me the parts of the body it effects and said the bending to get in the car has hurt the nerve that sent the pain to my tooth and also to the chest! Wow, we just can't take too good a care can we? So glad you are OK too!

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    CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

    First off, here's a big bear hug for you my hawaiianodysseus.

    Goodness! That was quite a scary account on TIA but glad to see this writing, which means you're back. I wish you well.

    I had a passenger who had the same experience while at 37 thousand feet and mind you, although we are trained and equipped to deal with emergencies such as this, it could be really frightening. That's why it is important to distinguish the signs of TIA, actual stroke and heart attack. Of course we have to divert our flight just so the passenger could get immediate and proper medical care.

    I just love your creativity and energy. Awe inspiring- YOU! Thank you for sharing your story. Aside from the MSG (smile), there's definitely some good lessons in here--take care of your health and keep on walking! Way to go Joe!

    Love from the sky~

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    Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

    Your account of this scary episode is a wake up call to each of us. Thank the Lord that you were able to overcome this and have taken an active part in improving your health. It's also a blessing that you have a loving and caring wife who is a nurse and she knew what to do immediately. Thanks for the insight and reminders about living our best life.

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    Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

    Hi Joe. Only you could take a scary life moment and turn it into something beautiful and spell bounding. First of all I hope you are okay? Good for you for sharing your story and hopefully it helps someone out there to recognize the symptoms and to know what to do.

    Stay healthy my friend, we need you here.

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    Kathryn 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

    What a twist on your writing series! You had my heart racing, my dear friend. I am so glad that you are okay, that your wife is a nurse, and that you don't sit and waste time when something like this happens.

    Great story, and I enjoy how you weave those photos into your article. I also like that you include a useful link to another Hubber's hub on a related topic. I'll check it out.

    Have a great day, and it's nice to hear from you!

    ~ Kathryn

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    wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

    I am happy you are okay. I adore your wife for taking the best care of you in your scariest moments.

    I love your positive attitude. You are just going to beat that devil down while the One above lets you know He isn't done with you yet!

    I am trusting your wife knows when you go for your walks and is able to keep in contact with you if need be. (You sound a bit stubborn, but don't get too stubborn now. Let her keep tabs on you. :) )

    I admire your strength.

    Take care, take care, take care.

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    Karen Hellier 3 years ago from Georgia

    I am so glad you are okay. That must have been such an awful experience for you. I especially liked how you described yourself in that last part..."For my beautiful mind, my engaging heart, and my gypsy soul" because that is how the rest of us here on HubPages see you as well. And I am extremely impressed that you have lost 20 pounds this year...that's fantastic. I can't wait to see your final results and I hope that you will update us at the one year anniversary of your walking program. Take care of yourself...we want you to be around for a good long time. And may God continue to bless you.

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    HeatherH104 3 years ago from USA

    Joe - I'm so glad you are ok. What a scary experience for you. I admire the positive you've taken out of the experience. You don't sound bitter but rather more full of life than ever. Your story is very important not just for the medical information but for a reminder of how fragile life is and how life needs to be cherished. You wrote the perfect message in perfect form.

    From the results of your tests it seems the msg may very well have been the trigger. How scary that one minute you're enjoying a meal out and the next a mini-stroke possibly caused by the meal occurs.

    Beautiful message as well as beautiful pictures. It looks like you are well on your way in achieving your goals for the year.

    Gesundheit - Heather

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    Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

    Joe, you must have been mortified to experience TIA out of the clear blue! It's a good thing your wife is a nurse and knew what to do. Your joie de vivre is inspiring. Keep doing what you're doing. Apparently, it's working!

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    Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

    Wow Joe- this hub brought tears to my eyes for so many different reasons. First, I'm glad you are okay. Secondly, I had never heard of this before and I wonder how many people might suffer the same thing and/or don't know about MSG in their foods. I had no idea it could bring on such a thing. Thank you for sharing this information with us. Have a great day!

    Liz

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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Oh, my, Faith Reaper, I am so moved by your lovely words. Thank you so very much for your responsiveness and encouragement, not just for me (although that's my favorite kind LOL!) but for everyone that you encounter here in this literary community. Recently, you posted a forum thread, and I saw where a talented and ultra-sensitive writer misunderstood where you were coming from. I was blessed by your kind and patient response to him, and in no small way did I remember what I'd read in the Good Book about how another Writer (and Fisherman and Carpenter, etc.) responded in kind to others, especially those who misunderstood and even despised Him.

    I am sorry for the abrupt manner in which you lost your dad. We don't know the last thoughts of those we love...and lose...to the dreaded heart maladies. My experience is that I vaguely remember the overwhelming sadness regarding..."I haven't had time to say goodbye and tell them how much I love them."

    Life is a wondrous thing. We believers know there is a meadow beyond this one. But in the natural, it's understandable how very grateful I am to be alive.

    Thank you for welcoming me into your life, Faith, and for the opportunity to share these thoughts with you. Aloha says it all!

    ~Joe

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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Back at you, Bill! Thanks so much for your timely presence--sharing superb writing and teaching so many of us; philanthropically spreading the W.O.W. message on a global scale; and...the most amazing thing, given your super busy schedule...promptly showing up to comment on your peers' work. My goals for next year will be much simpler than what I posted this year. One of them involves you, my friend. I want to make every effort to finally get to meet you. I'm booked, as I'm sure you are, through the end of the year. But I definitely like our chances for next year. Thanks so much for showing up in my corner one day, embracing and inviting me in, Bill. I really, really appreciate you. Blessings and aloha, my friend!

    ~Joe

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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Maria!

    That's right! You're a nurse, too, if memory serves me right. After such an episode, however, I'm constantly second guessing my memory. : ) So nice of you to stop by and share your thoughts. You're very special, Maria! Thanks so much for your encouraging and supportive presence here in Hubsville. Aloha, and have a wonderful week!

    ~Joe

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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thanks, Heidi!

    An event like that certainly heightens my awareness about a lot of "little things" that I would otherwise take for granted. Took some time off to recuperate and regroup. I'm glad to be back. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your gracious and empathetic comments, Heidi. Aloha, and have an exciting and memorable week!

    ~Joe

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    Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

    Aw, now, Dear Joe, I praise God too for your beautiful mind and engaging heart and all the rest! You are such an inspiration and thank you for sharing here. I love the explanation of each section and each photo ... awesome!

    My dad died of a stroke way back when, and high blood pressure runs in my family, so I am on blood pressure medicine.

    I know I am still here, after having looked death in the face more than once myself, and so I can understand just how you feel, precious heart. You are still here, as am I, and there is a reason for that for He is not finished with us yet and we are to make an impact and difference in this world in the time we have left.

    Up and more and sharing

    Thank you for always lighting up my hub space each time you visit with your enthusiasm and love for life and others.

    God bless you and yours,

    Faith Reaper

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    Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    It is so important that this story be told, Joe, and nobody could tell it as beautifully and powerfully as you. Scared? You betcha! Determined to live life to the fullest? You bet your ass! I am in awe of your beautiful spirit and determination to enjoy the hell out of life.

    I'm proud to be your friend.

    Aloha

    bill

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    Maria Jordan 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

    Joe,

    What a powerful and inspiring account...you are strong and awesome!

    Love that your wife is a nurse...I just can't help it...

    Be healthy and ever proud of you...Hugs, Maria

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    Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

    And we're so grateful you're okay! Oh my, what a scary episode. I'm very attuned to the whole heart/blood pressure issue. Keeping mine in check, but I have to be really conscientious about it.

    I think February's heart month should get even more attention since more people die of heart disease than almost all other causes. Thank you for spreading the word! Take care of yourself!

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