Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Front and Back Covers

Disclaimer Audio :


Early Sunday morning on April 28, 2013 (Lag BaOmer) a week before I was scheduled to run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, I had a stroke. My grandson Ushy (five years old) was the first of God's emissaries to save my life. My wife, Marsha, normally sleeps in late Sunday mornings. Ushy called Marsha on her cell phone and woke her up. I was staggering into our bedroom, determined to take a shower, so I could get ready for work. I started to strip down. Marsha looked at me. It was like a stroke commercial. "You're having a stroke! I'm calling 911." I gestured with my hand, Get out! I'm a bodybuilder fitness freak, we don't get strokes! I wasn't fully aware that I couldn't talk. Wow, I really needed a shower. Needed to wake up and get ready for work. I finished stripping down and headed for the bathroom. "I mean it! I'm calling 911." I locked myself in the bathroom, turned the water on in the shower and stepped in. I started shampooing my hair. The shampoo dripped into my eyes so I couldn't see. I was feeling fatigued and weak. I don't know why I feel so tired, got a lot of sleep on Shabbos. I heard a knock on the door. "Paramedics." I'm taking a shower! Since I couldn't talk they couldn't hear me. So I shouted louder inside my head. I'M TAKING A SHOWER! GO AWAY! They still didn't hear me. Then I heard my wife. "Rick, open up the door!" I'M TAKING A SHOWER! I heard my wife trying to unlock the door. The door opened and these 2 big guys who looked like police officers were coming into the bathroom. That's enough! I stepped out of the tub dripping wet, with shampoo dripping down my head and into my eyes. I lunged at the door and slammed it shut against some resistance from the big police guys. I'm very strong and teach self defense. These guys are lucky I'm naked and taking a shower.  "Rick, open the door." I heard Marsha twisting a key in the door. I shut off the water, stepped out of the shower and grabbed a towel. The big police guys were right there, with my wife behind them. I pushed them to the side and headed for my underwear drawer. This is embarrassing! I put on my underwear and sweat pants. Wow, I'm really feeling tired and weak. The big guys grabbed me under my armpits and helped me down the stairs and into an ambulance. I had no more fight in me.

In Jail

"Mr. Walters, don't move. We're going to take some pictures of your brain." Move? I am totally strapped in and too tired to do anything. Just want to go to sleep, so stop talking to me and turn off that machine cause you're making a racket! This was scary and embarrassing. What will my neighbors think? How ironic! Get Fit with Rich plastered all over my car. This will spread like wild fire in the community. Man, I feel tired and weak! When I woke up I was in my 'cell.' I looked around. Behind me to my left was a monitor beeping with what looked like little strobe lights pulsating. Beep, beep, beep, pulse, pulse, pulse. This is the worst disco I've ever heard! Next to me was that classic hospital table that spins around so you can eat in bed without moving. Pretty disgusting to have a bed pan sitting next to a pitcher of water with  a plastic cup rolled up in more plastic. My 'cell mate' was blasting the big screen 'low-life-idiot-nonsense' TV. I mean BLASTING! Normally, this would make me very angry. I would have to restrain myself and tell myself that anger is akin to idol worship and I need to calm down and respectfully, politely, ask him to please turn it down. I feel no emotion. I lost my free will.  I can't talk, my body is restrained, needles and tubes are attached to all weird places on my body. My right side is totally limp and feels dead like a mega shot of novocaine was injected into it. I can hear my brain think. It sounds like the clanking of a Purim gragger. Little foggy bubbles are shooting at targets of things I am trying to remember. I CAN'T DO ANYTHING! I am a useless prisoner trapped in jail.  I started to cry.

Dignity Lost In The Sheets

Hi, bubbles inside my head. You are upsetting me! Crank, crank, crank, bubble, bubble... I am trying to think clearly and you keep bubbling up and bursting at the targets of my thoughts. YOU ARE ANNOYING! STOP IT! Ok, I am going to stop resisting you and just relax and let your bubble waves put me to sleep.  Ahhh, that's better, I am so tired. Just need some peaceful, restful sleep.  "MR. WALTERS, I AM CANDY. I AM YOUR NURSE ON CALL TONIGHT." B#%%^,!!!!! I am trying to sleep! Sorry Mom, I know I agreed to not use profanity in your blessed memory. But it's ingrained in me. Remember when I was in kindergarten and the kids taught me how to sing Yankee Doodle Dandy with all F's? I had no idea what it meant, but got in big trouble when I sang it, in front of you and Daddy in the doctor's office. Remember that? "If you need anything the call button is right here attached to your bed. If you have to urinate, use that," she pointed to the table. "I'll be back later with your meds." Well, I did have to urinate. The problem was I was too weak and exhausted to reach the table for the 'bathroom surrogate.' I was able to hit the call button. But, by the time Candy came in, the pool of warm liquid had saturated my sheets. I started to laugh and cry at the same. I just peed my bed like a 2 year old. Two female attendance came in. They unhooked all of my attachments. They rolled me over exposing all of my private parts and skillfully changed my sheets. I just lost my dignity. I'm too weak and tired to feel embarrassed. Just want to go back to sleep and enjoy the bubbles in my head.


Candy woke me up at 2:50a.m. "Mr. Walters, time for your meds." Candy started popping pills out of a plastic container and filled up two small paper cups. She tore open the plastic cup that was sitting on the table, popped in a straw and handed both cups to me. She elevated my bed and watched me very closely to make sure I swallowed all of my drugs. My 'cell mate' was snoring. He had the volume on the 'Big Screen Idiot Box' on low loud. There was a cooking show on, which actually began to hypnotize me with fascination. Geno, was forking big steaks from a pan filled with his special 'Bing'lala'bang marinade' and throwing them on a grill. Yummiest! I just realized I haven't eaten any real food since I've been here. How do I get in touch with the Air Force and Red Cross? 'Oh that's funny.' Maybe they could air drop me some rice. And then I could do a cooking show called: 'Stroke invalid sucks rice through his I.V. Tube.' Oh that's so funny! I looked at my right hand, it was stuck in a curled up position. I couldn't open it.  It was reddish purple and swollen like a soft ball. It looked like a monster hand you would see in a wax museum.  I touched it. It was ice cold like a frozen piece of beef. My right arm had atrophied and looked like a garden snake. My right toes would not curl. My right leg felt like a steel beam was hammered through it. I could not talk. I couldn't do even the simplest math. I couldn't recall a lot of things. For example names of people I am very close to. In general I felt totally and utterly exhausted! I felt like giving up!

My Family Gave Me Joy!

My Wife, Daughter Adina, Rabbi Son Benji, Yosef Son In Law came to visit me in the morning. Wow, Nachos! Joy! I looked at my wife. My heart melted. I smiled inside. She is probably suffering much more than I am. "Hi Rick, (My wife calls me Rick.) You're lucky Dr. Tudor Jovin pulled a big blood clot out of your brain. It took him over an hour because the artery was looped around." Baruch HaShem!Thank You Dr. Tudor Jovin! Adina said, "He showed me your clot in a bottle. It looked gross!  Dad, Meir wanted to come and visit you. We told him to wait since he was planning to come home soon. (My oldest son Meir, who was studying for his Ph.D. In Egypt through Georgetown University.)" Wow, Benji came in all the way from Chicago! "Hi Dad, I love you!" Yosef brought an ABC chart. Everyone sang the ABC's. I pointed to the letters. Yosef asked me to say, I Love You! I first tried drawing the letters with my left hand in the air. And then I forced myself to stammer out IiiiI Lllll zoo Yyyy. Every one laughed and then clapped. Marsha started to cry. The love from my family was life-changing. It gave me tremendous encouragement, hope, courage and determination to choose life!

I Am Going To Win This Fight!

I am going to give myself a major pep talk. I'm used to hearing and giving peps since 1979 when I first started in sales. That's ah, ah, ah, let me think, ah, a lot of years! I can see my bulletin board in my basement office.  Whenever  I need encouragement, that's where I go. To my basement! That's it! I'll go to my basement now and look at all those slogans and plaques. There's my High School diploma. I went straight in at 7th grade. Hadn't even hit puberty. I was bullied and beaten. I gained empathy for the underdog. "In your hand is power and strength and it is in your hand to make anyone great and strong!" I remember when I worked for you, Dad of Blessed memory, in your famous S&B sandwich shop. My favorite thing was to schlep huge stacks of beer and pop, heavy barrels filled with cornedbeef and brine up and down those wooden steps to the third floor balcony. I loved the feel of the pump this gave in my muscles. I wore a tight short sleeve undershirt tucked into my blue jeans. My muscles were bulging out all over the place. My platform shoes made me look tall too. When I walked around Oakland, which was a pretty tough neighborhood, no one dared mess with me. Being beaten up and bullied was a series of humiliating setbacks. But I grew up and got stronger. "The greater the struggle, the greater the reward." This is just another setback. An opportunity! "Pain is weakness leaving my body... It's temporary...quitting is forever... Which would I rather live for?" Great athletes have setbacks and come back better than they were before.  This is nothing compared to what all those runners experienced in Boston with their legs being blown off. I am a winner! I am a champion! Look out stroke! Your D'One going down in this fight! "Mr. Walters it's time for your meds." Yyyeee tee. Hannnd'mm to mmee.

Escape Attempt

I am not a victim!  I wasn't taught helplessness. I remember one day as a young teen, my Father of Blessed Memory, yelling "Rick, the bathroom toilet is flooding into the basement!" Of course everyone in his Deli heard this. That was part of the charm. "It's lunchtime and I don't have time to fix it. So you take care of it! Hurry up! There's already half a foot of water in the basement." "But Dad, I don't know how!" "What are you, helpless?  Figure it out!" Victims blame other people and don't take responsibility. My Mother of Blessed Memory drummed into my head the truism,"honesty is the best policy." She taught me to resist my strong desire to blame other people and not take responsibility. Victims pity themselves and want other people to pity them. That's why I shook my head No, when my wife asked me if I wanted visitors. This is just a temporary setback! They can come visit me when I'm back in my gym and running the trails at the park, or on Shabbos when I'm resting up from the week. I don't want NO pity party! I am a Survivor! Survivors take responsibility for their actions. Survivors are not a burden on the community. As soon as I break out of this jail I'm heading right back to work! G-d didn't create me to be a vegetable broccoli! He created me to fulfill a productive purpose and make the world a better place! No, actually I go beyond just being a survivor. Survivors tend to live in the past and just get by. I AM AN ACHIEVER! I am a Healthy and Strong Athlete who had a setback. I am mad as hell and ain't taking this 'sick stuff' anymore! I'm breaking out of this jail right now! I swung myself out of bed onto my feet and stood up. Alarms went off. Three nurses came rushing into my cell.

Jail Breaker Nabbed!

"I wan woo down ha!" ("I want to walk down the hall!") "Mr. Walters, you have to get back in bed until I check with the Doctor." She had a very concerned look on her face. I was too weak to argue. The nurses helped me back into bed. A few minutes later Dr . Neurostein came in. "Mr. Walters, glad to see you're feeling much better." He shook his head. "Amazing! It's only been three days!" I thought of one of my slogans on my basement bulletin: 'The organs of the body heed to the will of the soul.' Mr. Walters, you can walk inside your room and use the bathroom, but I can't have you walk down the hall by yourself. You can call for an aid to help you. Ok? "Loo K." ("Ok.") He smiled.


"When the muscles that hold the shoulder joint in place are flaccid, the shoulder will dislocate. In stroke survivors, shoulder dislocation is called subluxation of the shoulder." Page 96. Stronger After Stroke Your Roadmap to Recovery By: Peter G. Levine  I staggered towards the bathroom holding onto the 'I.V. Pole On Wheels.' Ah, what a blessing! I get to use a real toilet! I passed the sink mirror, and saw what looked like this deformed monster also walking towards the toilet. My heart skipped a beat and I jumped, startled! I turned around to look in the mirror and there was this old man with severe 'hat hair." His right hand was swollen and black and blue. His right arm was popped out of his shoulder socket and dangling like a snake. His right cheek drooped. He was wearing a hospital gown like mine and also holding onto an I.V. Pole. I was aghast! That's Me! Nearly 20 years of bodybuilding! This is just a set back. You ain't seen nothin' yet! I Will Return! Like the terminator!

Rescued From Starvation

I was sitting in my wheelchair. My wife, Marsha came rushing in on a mission, serious and focused. Looking at a menu, she held a pen ready to write. "Rick, the doctor said you're allowed to eat solid food now, so we have to figure out what you want for lunch and dinner today." Wow, it hadn't even dawned on me that I haven't eaten solid food since I've been here! It's a wonder I didn't starve to death. I didn't even feel hungry. That explains why I haven't had a bowel movement since my lock up in this jail. This whole experience is so weird. And now, all of a sudden, I do feel ravishingly hungry! I made a big circular motion with my left hand. "Te em oo evey ting on nu!" (Tell them to give me everything on the menu!") We both broke out in laughter. Gee, I'm in a hospital so this must be super healthy stuff! I pointed to option number two: Ice cream, frozen kosher french toast, maple syrup, with scrambled eggs, cinnamon bun, orange juice and coffee with milk and sugar. Yum!

Where Is My Cell Phone?

My wife and kids came to visit while I was scarfing down my brunch. Marsha said "lots of people have asked if they could come visit you. I told them you don't want visitors." "That's right! I don't want!" It's very thoughtful of them, but I don't want a pity party! This is embarrassing! I don't want my friends, clients and people in  the community to see me like a  wounded bird laying on the sidewalk, flapping its wings, unable to fly. That's Not who I am. This is just a Temporary set back. I'll be back! Healthy and Strong! Better than I was  before! "Rick, Ed Lipsman kept asking about you and Marty even offered to cut the grass. Dr. Marty Gaynor  D'Professor. My weight lifting partner. Wow, Ed and Marty! You really find out who your true friends really are when Life kicks you in the gut! "Dad." "Yes , Adina." "You left your cell phone at home, so I took it and texting all your clients to let them know what happened. I know client confidentiality is very important to you. But, I had to let them know. Dr. Dean Pollack called several times to see if there's anything he could do. Even Dr . Arie Blicher, in spite of his brain tumor called three times to see if he could help!" "Dad." I nodded at Yosef. " Michael Katch asked about your every time I saw him in shul (Synagogue.) And so did Rabbi Morgan, Rabbi Rosenblum, Hirsh Dlinn, and Yitzchok Gordon. All the Shuls said Tehillim for You." "Dad." "Yes, Benj." "I wrote a letter to the Rebbe for you." I am overwhelmed by All This Kindness! Thank You Hashem!

Transferred To Minimum Security

Note: My speech was still very slow and slurred. Dr . Neuarastein came in. "Hi Mr. Walters we are transferring you  to the Rehabilitation Center. The paramedics will be here at 1:00pm to take you by ambulance." Here we go with the paramedics and  ambulance again.  Whatever. I am  Thankful to get out of  this high security Jail .  Rehab! Yes! I got settled in my new bed. Ah! Finally, I can get some sleep. Hello bubbles! "Mr. Walters. Hi I am Dr. Avotasaran. I am in charge of overseeing your Rehab." "Sleep...trying to sleep...very tired...let's chat later." "You're feeling tired Mr. Walters?" "Yes..very...tired." Dr. Avotasaran was a young  outgoing women . With enough pep and energy to put even the longest lasting batteries out of business. This made her mere presence over stimulating. Benji walked in. "Hi Dad!" "Is this your son? "Yes, that's why he calls me Dad." She laughed. "Nice to meet you." "Likewise" "Mr. Walters, think you can get dressed yourself? You have 5 hours of Rehab. Including speech therapy today.

I Was A Spastic

Note: "Stroke survivors muscles progress from Flacid (Limp) to Spastic (Tight.) The spinal cord tells the muscles to remain contracted (shortened).this command is spasticity. ...only Stroke Survivors can reduce their spasticity...Spasticity is a Brain Problem. ..a symptom  of the brain damage caused  by stroke...solving the riddle of spasticity ...exercise the spastic muscles. Stronger After A Stroke  Your Roadmap To Recovery Peter G. Levine I asked Benji to step out while I got dressed. Dr. Avotasaron sat in the guest chair with a clipboard board on her lap staring at me as I got dressed and then looking down as she scribbled some notes. Man, this is really painful and frustrating. Not to mention embarrassing to have some lady looking at me naked as I struggled to put on my underwear. Is this system perverted? Prostitutes get paid to take their clothes off. I am inadvertently paying for this lady to  watch me spastic out while I struggle to put my clothes on... Whatever... I'm  just saying. Inside my head I  went down into my  basement and looked up at my bulletin  board: "It's All About What's Inside!" I sat on the edge of my bed and with my left hand tried to put my foot through the hole in my underwear. My right fist was swollen, black and blue. My fist was clamped shut and twisted toward the inside of my forearm. I could Not open my fist. My right fist, arm,and shoulder had absolutely No feeling! If they were put into a raging hot furnace I would have no awareness of it . My right arm hung down  and was stuck in about a 45% angle at the elbow. If I tried to do an activity with my right arm it would start to flap around totally out of control. I remember when we were little kids we used to tell this cruel joke, 'How does a spastic eat an Ice Cream Cone? Like this...smack...into the forehead!' My Mother of Blessed Memory used to say, "Kids are cruel!" It took me a long time to get dressed.

Who Knows Best?

Disclaimer: Consult Your Medical TeamCaution: Do Not Use Me As Example of What You Should Do For Yourself! We all have unique backgrounds and medical situations. What applies to me does not apply to you! In my opinion, we should try to be informed as much as possible so that we can be good advocates for ourselves and make wise decisions. My role is to point you to information sources which may be helpful. My main mission is to provide hope and inspiration! Benji accompanied me and my escort to the Rehab Center. They put me in a line with other Stroke Survivors waiting for therapy. Twenty minutes went by. "Benji, I can't take this any more. What's the point of rehab if I'm just going to sit here in this stupid wheel chair? I'm sure they know a lot, but so do I. I have been doing Personal Training since 1998. That coupled with all my Continuing Ed and other readings gives me the equivalent of Ph.D. I already have a Masters. How many of them know what it really feels like to have a stroke? How many of them care? It doesn't look like it. I am going to put all my resources into Rehabbing myself! See that fake flight of steps? Meet me at the top! I jumped out my wheel chair and charged towards the step

Exercise Yard

Thursday May 2, 2013 5 days Post Stroke My whole family was there even  my Mother In Law.  It was particularly embarrassing for an elderly holocaust survivor to be watching her 61 year old Son In Law having to get  Physical Therapy for a stroke. I was supposed to be taking care of her family. " Hi Mr. Walters. I'm Tim Sahara. I'll be working with you on walking and balance." He seems really nervous and cautious. Like the kind of guy who wears a belt and suspenders to hold up his suit pants- Just to be Extra Sure! " Mr. Walters, hold on to the railing!" After lunch I met John Vince. He was a pretty cool guy with  a barbed wire tattoo around his biceps. " Mr. Walters let's see if you can run." "I'll race you!" I started sprinting down the hall. My right arm was flapping around. I waved to Yosef as he was coming out of the bathroom. John grabbed me by the back of my shirt. "Slow Down!"

Silly Games

" Mr. Walters, Hi, I'm Shelly Dabar. I will be doing your speech therapy today.  Please, have a seat in my office. Today we will do some fun quiz games. Name as many Zoo animals as you can." Here come the bubbles floating through fog  to the rhythm of  cranking and grinding. Can't think of any zoo animals. Hmm, maybe a chicken. "I have hardly slept for 4 nights. I'm really tired. The only animal I can think of is a chicken." " I understand your really tired. Chicken, that's good. I guess some zoos have chickens. Can you think of another zoo animal? Who cares about zoo animals? I just want to get out of this Rehabilitation Penitentiary and go home! "Its been over a year since I took my grandkids to the zoo." "Fine, let's move on. Count backwards starting at 100." These silly games are ridiculous. I want to go back to my room and go to sleep. "100, 99, 98, 87,84,83,uh,82,80........"

Electrifying Magic!

Friday May 3, 2013 6 Days Post Stroke "I am going to apply electrical stimulation to open you're hand" said Dr. Avotasaron Benji was sitting next to me. We were both Amazed! "The electrical impulses sent a signal from your brain, telling the muscles to open up your hand." This is really cool electrifying magic, but  I need to go home get some rest, start Learning Torah ,talking with my clients for speech therapy, and working out for my physical therapy. This electric stuff is cool stuff for sissies! "Shouldn't I be doing some push-ups?" Dr. Avotasaran went into an intellectual temper tantrum. "Push-ups? You're still paralyzed!" She articulated in technical Physical Therapy terms why I wasn't ready for any kind of strength training. "What about bands?" Another Physical Therapist overheard us. "I have a band on a pulley. Might help him." "Ok, let's try it," said Dr. Avotassaron. She seemed embarrassed. I started slowly stretching out my arm and shoulder. Wow, this feels great! When I returned to my room, I went into the bathroom and shut the door. I stood next to the wall. Placed my right fist on the wall about 6 inches to the  right of my nipple. I pried my right fingers open, holding them in place with my body weight. I put my left hand flat against the wall about 6 inches from my left nipple. I moved my feet back about 12 inches and started doing wall push-ups. Victory!  I will return soon!

Shabbos In The Penitentiary

Note: I am Not a Rabbi! This is my amateur explanation of what the Jewish Sabbath -'Shabbos 'is essentially all about: It is a day to say 'Stop' to 'Most'  mundane worldly activities and focus on Prayer, Biblical Study, family and friends.  We dress in our finest clothes.  Enjoy our best foods.  We are Not distracted by the normal hustle  and bustle of the regular week.  We take a break from cell phones, internet, T.V.,etc. It is ideally a Day of Peace and thoughtful reflection into the Spiritual Realms. Saturday May 4, 2013 7 Days Post Stroke My wife, Marsha, my son Benji and I in the Activities Room Rehabilitation Center. "Rick, Benji and I had a challenging time getting everything set up here for Shabbos." "Marsha, apparently you were very successful! The wonderful aroma of your delectable Cholent permeated throughout the Rehabilation Center. They probably thought the cafeteria was now offering gourmet food.  Thank you so much for being here with me and 'hooking me up' with my favorite dish. Cholent! And, Thank You Benji for coming all the way from Chicago to be with me! I really appreciate it!" "Dad, we are staying upstairs in an apartment. No one could find the keys to the stair door. So, the question was how we would get in and out since it automatically locked? They all said it couldn't be done. That's the problem. Often people take the attitude that 'It Can't Be Done!' 'There's No Solution! All I did was put tape on the door!" I nodded and burst out laughing. "Just like my Rehab...'Can't be done'..."

Can I Run Pittsburgh Half Marathon?

Sunday May 5, 2013 8 Days Post Stroke Right after my vitals were checked at 4:50am , I went in the bathroom, shut the door, put on-my running clothes, and did some wall push-ups . I proceeded from the bathroom. Sat on the edge of my bed. Grabbed an old carton of orange juice. Sipped on it... waiting till I sensed the 'changing of the guards.' Just as I began walking down the hall three 'whitecoats'-were coming towards me. Dr . Nuerostein in the middle with a Resident on each side. My right fist and and arm were a bit improved, however, I still looked like a classic cripple. "Dr. Nuerostein, would it be ok if I go run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon? I'll be right back!" He didn't laugh. He just smiled and said, " Give it 3 months."

Rabbi Benyomin Walters "Why I Came to Visit"

Sunday May 5, 2013 8 Days Post Stroke Family Meeting Room Rehabilitation Center "Dad, do you know why I  came to visit you? B"H I was faced with a dilemma. On the one hand, I wanted to  come visit you to help you and Mom and Adina who were tired and  overwhelmed.  Yet, you were already  having a miraculous recovery,  and I was sure you would be fine.  On the other hand, I had just started  a new high school program,  and I wasn’t sure if it was right to leave  the boys. Sometimes communal needs  override personal obligations.   I called a Rav (expert Rabbi)who is a  a friend of mine.  He told me that I have to go.  He explained that it is dangerous for someone  to be in a hospital without constant supervision  from his loved ones.  For example, the doctors  and nurses often switch shifts and can easily  make a dangerous mistake.  Just knowing that someone is watching encourages them to be  extra careful.  Just asking questions about  each medication and procedure helps.  I decided to come, and I’m glad I did." " Love You So Much!  You being here helped give me strength and courage! Thank you for coming!"

Live For Someone You Love!

Sunday May 5, 2013 8 Days Post Stroke Family Meeting Room Rehabilitation Center "Dad." "Yes, Adina." "I remember we weren't allowed to see you till after your surgery. I was walking down the hall and saw you laying on a gurney. You Couldn't talk or move. I said, I Love You! You Winked!" "Adina, I was sending you a signal that I would be OK! I Love you, Mom, Meir, Benji, Yosef, my wonderful grandchildren and my close friends! I have a Lot To Live For! Seeing you gave me Hope!" "Dad, I couldn't believe you were sprinting down the hall on Thursday! Most guys would have started to apply for disability." "Yosef, as Jack LaLalaine said, "Dying is Easy.Living takes work!

My Wife's Vigilance Saved My Life!

Sunday May 5, 2013 8 Days Post Stroke Family Meeting Room Rehabilitation Center  "Rick." "Marsha?" "It's a good thing that I questioned what the resident ordered. He ordered Coumadin for you after you had surgery to remove the blood clot. I remembered the Dr. said there was an increased risk of bleeding for a few days after the surgical procedure. My common sense told me that a blood thinner would make the risk for bleeding even greater. When I expressed my concern to him, he didn't seem to get my point. When Dr. Maxim Hammer, the neurologist came to see you, I expressed my concern to him and he said I was correct. He had the medication order changed." "Thank you Marsha. I love You! You are a humble, righteous women! I am truly blessed to have you as my wife! And Baruch HaShem!  Thank You Dr. Maxim Hammer!"


Monday May 6, 2013 9 Days Post Stroke After morning Rehab "Benji, I'm fed up! Gotta get out of this place and go home! I led Benji in a march to Dr. Neurostein's office. Knocked on the door. "Who is it?" "Mr. Walters...  I have to tell you something right now!" "C'mon in," he looked puzzled. "I am leaving today. I can't take this place anymore. I have to go home." "Ok, fine. I'll have to tell Dr. Avatarssaron to prepare your discharge papers. Probably won't be able to leave till around 1:00pm. today. Baruch Hashem ! That was easy! Yippie! I'm going home! I shook his hand. "Thank you Doctor, I'm grateful for your help." "C'mon Benji, let's call Mom." "Hello, Marsha. I'm being discharged at 1:00pm today. Can you pick me up?" "What you mean you're being discharged today? Nobody said anything yesterday. I'm at work now and we need a plan." " I just found out this morning. I Have To Come Home! Can't take it here anymore. My plan is to go the Kollel tonight at 8pm like I usually do and start back to work in the morning." "I'll meet you there after work and ask Adina to pick us up." "Thanks. Have Adina call me when she's on the way." "Only those who RISK going too far, can possibly find out how far they can go." T.S. Elliot

Rabbi Morgan Thought He Saw A Ghost!

Monday May 6, 2013 9 Days Post Stroke Arrived home 5:50pm I looked around. My neighbors yards were neatly manicured. My front yard looked like a vacant lot with tall grass and lots of weeds. I'll have to take care of this  in the morning. Right now I  have to take a nap before I go to the Kollel tonight. "Adina, thanks for driving us home. Love You!" " Love you too!  Glad your back!" " Marsha, I'm going to take a nap till I have to go to the Kollel." I woke up at 7:50p.m. Marsha dropped me off at the Kollel. When Rabbi Morgan saw me he jumped back. "Rich great to see you! I got scared. I thought I saw a ghost! Didn't expect to see you back so soon, based on everything I was told." " See, I said teasing. "You can't believe everything you are told." He laughed. "You're right." "Let's learn! You are my 'Speech Therapist Rebbe.' " We both laughed. I put my arm around him and gave him a hug.

Early Morning Drill -1st Day Back to Work

Tuesday May 7, 2013 10 Days Post Stroke 5:00 a.m. my alarm sounded,   'Revelry...Time To Get Up!' Need to plan each little action of my day very carefully. My Synapses still aren't firing properly . Those foggy bubbles are still floating around to the tune of that annoying clank, clank,clank.  I want to act as 'normal' as possible and not make any dumb mistakes. Ok , 'Private Smart Phone,' Let's Get To Work! 6:00 a.m. Marsha gives me my Meds ( Thyroid, blood pressure, cholesterol, aspirin, Coumadin.) 6:05 a.m. Have Marsha make big sign above stove.  'Remember To Turn Off Stove 6:12 a.m. Marsha helps me take Shower and get dressed. 6:30 a.m. Go to Shayowitz house. Have Yosef put Teffilin on me. Daven (Pray) there. 7:00 a.m. Cut front yard grass with weed wacker. 8:15 a.m.  Weight train with Marty 9:40 a.m. Eat Breakfast 10:00 a.m. Nap till 11:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m. Get ready for first appointment with Rabbi Rosenblum. Now I have to plan out what I'm going to tell people so they don't throw a pity party. 'My stroke was merely a setback. Like a great athlete, which I am (a little humor will help cut tension.) who suffered a severe injury, and after Rehab later went on to win the game. Just temporary setback. Soon I'll be back Healthier and Stronger than I ever was... so let's workout!' Yes, just thinking positive affirmations makes me feel Healthy and Strong! I Will Win! I Will Return!

Bumped Head!

Wednesday May 3, 2014 1 year 6 months, Post Stroke, Dan Swain shared his experience, of Tuesday May, 7 2013 10 days Post Stroke. I just got a text from Rich... "Can't meet today, will call  and reschedule." What's this, Rich never cancels  a work-out, and text me...I hate  text messages, I don't even know  how to text. Rich knows that.   What's up ?? I'm going to call  him-ok-7 rings-ah voicemail. Six more calls-all voicemail-each  time . I leave a message about my  concern-no call-back. Two days later: I decide to  try Rich's cell phone again. "Hello"-a man's voice-finally!   "Rich?", I ask..."No, this is  Yosef, Rich's son-in law". "Rich has had a stroke and  is being hospitalized." I was mortified.  I said nothing.   Finally I asked, "how bad?", "Can I visit?"  Yosef's answers respectively: "serious" "no." I feel pain in the pit of my stomach,  I feel fear for Rich.  I did the only  thing I knew that might help-I began to pray. I told others to pray and even though I'm  not Jewish I have to believe there  is strength in numbers. Ten days later. I'm walking my dog and take a break to  sit under the shade of a large maple tree  when I decide to check on Rich.   Maybe Yosef can tell me more.   I call- "Hey Dan"-caller ID Yosef  can see my name.   Wait..I say "Yosef"  the voice-with  perfect diction-says "No-its Rich".   Am I talking to a ghost or is  Yosef that good at voice impersonation? I actually feel scared. However, it was really Rich Walters,  and when he asked me if I'd be able to  schedule a work-out that next day  I shot backwards and hit my head  on that maple tree before I said "yes".    I said, "Rich-are you sure you're  OK to work-out?" "Sure...I'm gonna be at the  work-out ?"   I answered "Yep-sure will". I sat back against the tree again.   I kept thinking how I am witnessing  something more than just amazing. .......... Baruch HaShem Thank You Dan Swain!

Please? Thank you!

Tuesday May 7, 2013 10 Days Post Stroke Gratitude is very important, but I guess I over did it. Every little thing (Which was not so little to me) my wife did for me I would say Thank You, to the point where it became annoying to her. I am a self reliant, independent person.  I was uncomfortable having to depend on Marsha to do such mundane tasks. "Marsha, please make a sign for above the stove. I'm afraid I will forget to shut the burner off." "Thank you so much! I really appreciate it. Thank You!" " Marsha, please help me take a shower. I'm afraid I will slip and fall." "Thank you so much! I really appreciate it. Thank You!" "Marsha, please help me button my shirt and tie my shoes." Thank you so much! I really appreciate it. Thank You!" Thank you G-d for this gift and opportunity. I am developing a New appreciation for  you're marvelous creations. But, couldn't  you have come up with a less frustrated  way  for me to find my present? Don't hit me. Just asking.

Spooked Out!

" Tallis. A fringed shawl worn  by Jewish men during morning prayers." " Tefillin. (Judaism ) either of  two small leather cases containing texts from Hebrew Scripture. Worn on the forehead and the left arm by Jewish men during morning prayer." Tuesday May 7, 2013 10 Days Post Stroke "Yosef, I really appreciate you helping me put on my Tallis and Tefillin . However, you have a 'few' other things to do, like getting the kids dressed, giving them breakfast and rushing them off to school. If I visualize and concentrate, I can do it! May take me five times as long, but I have to learn to put them on myself! I am going to have my Tefillin checked today (to make sure they are Kosher.)" "Rabbi Barachos, I am using the Teffilin I inherited from my wife's Uncle Morris Berkowitz of Blessed Memory while you check my Tefillin." Rabbi Barachos showed me my Head Teffilin, "It has Never been Kosher. See this letter is missing." "I Have Had Them Checked Twice Before... NEVER A PROBLEM!" He shrugged, "Easy to miss." I called my Rabbi Son Benji. "Dad, think about it. Arm, head, hand, ...Stroke!" I was spooked out!

"Proof of God In The Palm of The Hand

Place a Quarter in the center of a table. Put on a winter felt glove on your dominate side hand. Now, try and pick up the quarter just using your thumb and forefinger. (No sliding. Just lift it straight up.) Can't do it! Right? Frustrating. Isn't it? Now, take off your glove and try it. Easy! No sweat! I shed what seemed like buckets of tears relearning how to do actions with my hands, arms, and shoulders. By the end of each day I was bruised from head to toe trying to lift small three pound dumbbell with my right hand. I banged my head multiple times changing the bar of the Lat-Pull Down machine for my clients. One time I almost sliced my pinky finger off loading a forty five pound plate on the bar. I had No Feeling in my hand or arm. I didn't realize anything was wrong until I saw my bleeding pinky finger. All those 'simple' actions that I used to do unconsciously were New major challenges for me. Baruch HaShem! I want to Thank Rina Itskowitz! We were only able to do two sessions because of my schedule. Both were extremely helpful for my Rehab! The first thing she recommended was Push-ups. She said , "The body weight on my hand would help open up my fingers." Validating what I thought! She showed my how to massage my hand to bring the swelling down. She taught me how to do 'finger exercises' that I could practice on my own at home. Sir Isaac Newton once said, “In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence.”

To Do: Cut Grass. Install Airconditioners.

Tuesday May 7, 2013
10 Days Post Stroke

I have to get my front yard grass cut
before my neighbors call The Health
Department. Wow, it's getting Hot!
Better install the air-conditioners.
Need to hurry up,  Marty will be here

I had to tape a mitten onto my right
hand so I could hold the weed wacker.
It felt like I was lifting a hundred pounds.
After doing a little section, I had to rest on
my porch chair for ten minutes.
Most of the front yard was still not cut when
Marty showed up.

"Can I help?" Marty asked.

" Thanks. I'll finish it after were done
working out."

I intentionally left the weed wacker
and other gardening tools strewn about ,so
my neighbors could tell I'm working
on it.

"Marty, before we start, I want to put the
 air conditioners in. Just take a few minutes."

"How are you feeling?" Marty asked.

"Feeling Great!"

"How are you feeling Marty?"

We both laughed!

"Marty, I  am going to wear my long
 leather coat  and boxing gloves so I don't
get cut by the sharp edges of the
air conditioners. I know this is going to
look ridiculous, especially in this hot weather,
but since I'm on Coumadin, I can't take chances.
I don't want to bleed to death like a poisoned rat!"

To my shame Marty had to bring the heaviest
air conditioner up from the basement and
install it in the dining room window.

"At least I didn't drop out it out the window!"

We enjoyed another good laugh.

I was grateful for his friendship!

"Thanks Marty! I really appreciate your help!"

Phenomenonal Potential!

Disclaimer: Consult Your Medical TeamCaution: Do Not Use Me As Example of What You Should Do For Yourself!
We all have unique backgrounds and medical situations. What applies to me does not apply to you! In my opinion, we should try to be informed as much as possible so that we can be good advocates for ourselves and make wise decisions. My role is to point you to information sources which may be helpful. My main mission is to provide hope and inspiration!

"There are 100 billion neurons (nerve cells) in the brain.
A typical stroke kills less than 2 billion neurons.
...There are an astounding quadrillion (a thousand trillion)
connections between neurons... In order to recover,
stroke survivors have to rewire their brain ...technical
term is Neuroplasticity. Rearranging the neurons of the
Pages 6 and 7 Stronger After Stroke:
Your Roadmap To Recovery
Peter G. Levine
Stronger After Stroke
This paragraph gave me Hope!

Page 11. Gave me Inspiration and Courage!

"Using The Wisdom Of Athletes...
There is little that is essential in the development
and progress of athletes that is not essential to
the process of recovery from stroke."

 I WAS STOKED! (Completely exhilarated
and ready to go to work-train hard to recover.)

I knew what the drill had to be.
Do an activity, rest. Do a strenuous
activity, rest a lot. Athletes train, rest,
recover. Repetition is key!

 The repetition builds a map in
their brain, so that eventually they can
run a Marathon, or bench press 315lbs.

Same process for me as a stroke survivor.

I must keep trying over and over.
Hard work and effort will pay off!

Negative Thoughts =Wacky Heart Beat

"The mind is like a T.V. set. You control
the switch on that on that mental T.V.
You are in charge...a matter of choice.
If what you put on your mental T.V.
causes you to feel tense, anxious, or
depressed, then staying tuned in..will
generate ...negativity and disease."

Sports Psychology for Cyclists, Dr. Saul Miller

Ahhh, my nice soft bed!  I am totally zonked!

 Been exhausted all day in spite of all those
naps. I'm beat!
Gotta get comfortable. OUCH! My right shoulder
hurts. Gotta stay on my left side. Ahhh, that's better.
I can hear my heart beating. Sounds pretty normal.

My weeks filled with 'sick person' stuff.
Long waits in Doctor's offices. I hate that.
If  I made my clients wait even ten minutes, I'd
be out of business. I don't care how busy they
are it's disrespectful. They line you up and make
you wait. I think it's like stealing. They are stealing
our time and we pay them to do it!

I feel my heart is starting to beat wacky just
thinking about it.

And then signing those consent forms. Ever read

And then the anticipation and what if's.
What if he says I need to get open heart
surgery? Or a transplant? God forbid!

Now, I can really feel my heart beating wacky!

What if I have another stroke?

I can't handle this 'sick person' lifestyle!

It Makes Me Sick!

I have to go downstairs.

Can't sleep. Oy, I'm so tired!

I'm going to 'change my channel' to
And stop being afraid of
what could go wrong and think of
what could go right!

A July, 2011, study in Stroke — also using data from the Health and Retirement Study — found a similar effect on reducing the risk of stroke.
“These findings, the first to assess the relationship between optimism-pessimism and heart failure, add to a remarkably consistent recent literature that has linked optimism-pessimism to other cardiovascular outcomes, including myocardial infarction, stroke, and cardiac death,”  according to an editorial by Dr. Alan Rozanski that accompanied the most-recent study.. “These observations provide conclusive evidence for the health benefits of optimism."...cardiovascular outcomes, including myocardial infarction, stroke, and cardiac death,”  according to an editorial by Dr. Alan Rozanski that accompanied the most-recent study.. “These observations provide conclusive evidence for the health benefits of optimism.”

I take comfort in the fact that the Torah’s attitude, which predates today’s positivist trend by four thousand years and will survive it by much longer than that, is one of unabashed optimism. This is the doctrine of bitachon, or trust inGod which the chassidic master Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch (1789–1866) distilled as the Yiddish adage, Tracht gut, vet zein gut—“Think good, and it will be good.”

Individuals Are Not Statistics!

Approximately 14 years Pre-Stroke

I was personal training a client. My cell
phone rang.
"Hello, Mr. Walters. I got the test results.
Your Mother has no more than six months
to live. "
Good thing he called me on my cell phone
because if he would have been standing
here, I would have punched him out.
Arrogant B#%*^+=D! Who is he to
make predictions like that?
M.D. Is Not spelled G.O.D.!

My mother had cancer. She also had a
Staph infection. (Common complication
in the 'Jail House.')

America's Healthcare System is the Third Leading Cause of Death

Barbara Starfield, M.D. (2000)

Summary by Kah Ying ChooThis Journal of theAmerican Medical Association article illuminates the failure of the U.S. medical system in providing decent medical care for Americans.

Marsha, Adina and I visited her every day.

She seemed unaware of what was going on.

But, I didn't believe it for a minute.

Optimism, meaning and purpose Always wins!

Ever read,  Man's Search For Meaning? By

Dr. Frankel.

I kept whispering in her

ear. "Mom, we Love You!

Want you to come home!

Benji's coming home from

Israel to visit you. We are all

going to go on a family vacation

to Monte Ray, California for

Meir's graduation.

C 'mon Mom. We need you!

She was transferred to Skilled

Nursing Care.

Do you know of anyone who has walked out of  a skilled nursing home?

My mother could not get out of bed, had no appetite and only given months to live.

I made a huge poster and placed it on the wall by the foot of

her bed, so she could easily read it.

“Dear Mom,

We love you, and want you to come home!

Life is motion. If you want to live, you have got to start moving!

You have to eat to be healthy and strong!

You can do it!

All Our Love,

Your Family"

Every day  I came to visit Mom.

Slowly, gradually, progressively, I helped Mom go from laying,

to sitting, to standing, to ...walking!

She started calling me coach.

She also went to "Regular Rehab."

Eventually Mom was able to walk down the hallway holding onto

her metal walker. Her appetite improved, and she was eating 3

 small squares a day.

She was ready to come home.

As we approached the nursing station, I whispered,

“Mom,  I want you to Run passed that nursing station.”

Sure enough, she pushed her metal walker to the side

and did a little shuffle passed the nursing station.

The nurses watched in astonishment at first, and then Cheered!

Some of them were in tears, as I was.

She, came home. My wife took care of her like she was her

own mother.

My Mom Went With Us On That Family Vacation!

"He had a stroke? Oy Nebach! (Pitiful One! )

"Perhaps laughter should be prescribed as a
part of the way to prevent heart disease and stroke, "
Dr. Steinbaum said.
“I wonder,” she said, “if we can say to people
that laughter is a little bit like a medication for you.”
Ultimately, seeing the funny side of life and a silver
lining in a difficult situation is beneficial, Dr. Jacobs said.
“All of us should laugh more,” he said.

Tuesday May 7, 2013 10 Days Post Stroke

Gotta finish weed whacking the grass before Rabbi Rosenblum
gets here. I'm lucky to have him as a good friend.
He gets a personal trainer and I get a personal Rabbi.

We are also 'humor compatible.'
I am planning to make Laughter a part of
My Rehab Treatment Plan. Laughter is Good
Medicine for Me. That article I was just reading
cracks me up! It said,"Laughing with others is more powerful
than laughing alone."
I can  just hear my neighbor
Agnes, " Look Albert, Mr. Walters is weed
whacking his yard while laughing like
a hyena."

"Looks like he's more whacked
out than the grass cutter. Maybe he should
be committed." Oh, that's funny.

"Sholom Aleichem (May peace be upon you)
Rabbi Rosenblum!"

"Aleichem Sholom (peace to you) Mr. Rich!
Glad to have you back and so soon, Baruch
Hashem! Many people were worried about

"Yes, I  know , I am now a Celebrity Nebach!"

We both laughed!

Check out Silly Fitness

My Water Boy

May 7, 2013 10 Days Post Stroke

Ahhh, time for my second nap in my nice
soft leather reclining chair.
Ring, ring, ring, beep, voicemail.
It's Ed again. I've got to hand it
to him for persistence. If he were a
mind reader he would know I don't
want visitors. I have an idea! I'll take
him in my weight room. He'll like that
anyhow. That way I technically will
Not consider him a visitor. Brilliant,
if I say so myself which I just did! That's

"Hey Ed.  Rich here. Can you come over
at 1:30pm?"
"See you then."

Before Ed came I started doing my hand
and finger exercises:

Yeh, pull those fingers back .
Massage those toxins out of there.

'C'mon Walters squeeze that putty.
Squeeze it you wimp! That's it. Now,
open up those fingers. Again!'
'But Drill Sergeant Walters I'm getting
tired Sir!'
'Ah, poor little Private
Walters. Give Me 12 More!'
'Yes, Drill Sergeant, Sir!'
'Now, put those 4 pieces in
that baby puzzle.'
'I can't, my hand's shaking too much
'You Can't? Maybe I didn't hear you
right. Put Those Pieces In The Puzzle!
And Stop Shaking! And Wipe Those
Tears Off Your Face!'
'Yes, sob, Drill, sob, Sergeant,sob, Sir!'
'Now, put that Lock puzzle together.


"Hi Ed. Would you do me a favor and carry
this bucket of ice water into my gym?
I want to ice my hand in between sets.
And let's see how agile you are.
Here's the keys. Let's see if you can
unlock the door."

We both laughed!


"Better to hunt in fields for health unbought;Than fee the doctor for nauseous draught.The wise, for cure, on exercise depend;God never made his work for man to mend."Health and Healing

Heal us Hashem (God)-then we will be healed.

Sometimes human beings or angels are God's agents

to heal illness, but in that case, the cure may

only be partial or temporary. (Or the pain

or other symptoms may be relieved, while

the illness itself remains uncured (Siach

Yitzchak) But if God Himself undertakes

to cure the patient, we are confident that

it will not be a temporary nor a partial

measure: then we will be healed.

(Etz Yosef from Zohar)

Pages 104 and 105

The Rabbinical Council of America

Edition of The Art Scroll Siddur 1990

Nusach Ashkenaz

Woody Allen was going through a Theological

Existential crisis.
 He asked his father for advice.

"Woody, I don't even know how my can opener


Regarding My crisis-GOD gave me free will.

It's my job to fix my own 'can opener,' so to speak.

My Mother of Blessed Memory used to say,

"God helps those who help themselves!"

I am going to develop
My Own Rehab Plan!

Heal Myself! (With God's Help)

And get off my poisonous medications!

I have written about Spirit-Mind-Body-
in my prior two books:

The Ninjew

16 Minute Body Sculpting Kit

 They were gearedto body building and appearance. This time My Treatment Plan is a matter of My Life,
Or My Death... Much more technical operation!

I Lift Weights Now

"Maintaining strong muscles and healthy
heart and blood vessels are vital to reducing
risk of another stroke."
 14. Stronger After Stroke by Peter G. Levine

My persistence in the weight room payed off!
Here I'm powerlifting 7 months later.
Check out. ..

Wednesday May 8, 2013 11 Days Post Stroke
5:30a.m. In My Weight Room

I am going to do one set of twelve repetitions for each
"Prep exercise" in my 16 Minute Body Sculpting Kit

If I get too exhausted I will pick up tomorrow where
I left off.

My whole body is interconnected and controlled
by my 'master brain computer.'

I'm going to rewire it and get my body in better shape
than before.

OK 'strong hand,' help your weak hand lift that 60lb dumbbell.
OUCH! #%^*+!! Rolled down the side of my shin.

 It feels wet. It's bleeding.

I'll just get some duct tape and wrap it
tightly around my shin, on top
of my sweat pants, to soak up
the blood and stop the

That's what I get for not concentrating.

From now on I'm going to stare at my right hand and

I hobbled into my kitchen.
"What happened to you?"
Marsha asked.
"A sixty pound 'Dumb' 'Bell'
'Rang' into me...Get it?...
Oh, that's funny!..
Can you get me a bag of
Marsha, just shook her head.

Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk

The centipede was

happy, quite

Until a toad in


Said, 'Pray, which

Leg goes after which?

This worked his

mind to such a


He lay distracted

in a ditch

Considering how to


Wednesday May 8, 2013 11 Days Post Stroke

Weight room, second round.

Before I go back in the weight room, I'm

going to enjoy a cup of coffee in my garden.

Let's see, I'll wrap two of my right hand fingers

around the cup handle, and open the door with

my left hand.

Darn door is stubborn, always sticks! I'll have to

yank on it! Oh, No! The cup fell out of my hand

and shattered. Coffee is splattered all over me.

Oh, No! It got on the carpet. Uh, Oh! I

better clean this up quick.

This is no easy task for me. Not used to sweeping

with my left hand and my right hand keeps shaking.

Maybe I can hold the dust pan with me feet?

Now I'll just take a few kitchen towels and

throw them down,  and stomp on them with my feet

to sponge up the coffee. Looks pretty good. Mission


Now, straight to my gym. I'll do one more exercise..

I'll bring a bucket of ice water with me.

This darn door is stuck again. I'm going to have

yank it again to get it to shut. I'll try it with my

right hand for rehab.

Oh, No! Part of my forefinger got pinched.

Good thing I can't feel it. That would have hurt.

Glad I brought the ice water.

Ok, military press three pound dumbbell.

Up! Down. Oh, No! It slipped out of my right

hand and bounced on my rubber mat onto my foot.

Good thing it was only three pounds!

I'm going into the kitchen to talk to my

wife. I'll sit next to her at the kitchen table.

My right hand started spazzing, knocking

over the glass of milk that was sitting on

the table. I started to cry.

"Marsha said to me, "Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk!"

We both started laughing hysterically!

Safety Rules

Wednesday May 8, 2013 11 Days Post Stroke

Approximately 11:30pm Reflections On Day

I know i was being ultra-clumsy and clutsy today.

I'm not even sure how I got all my bruises. I am

not going to wear pillows and a football helmet everywhere.

 I better establish some Safety Rules for myself!

I started tapping the side of my head with my forefinger,
and laughing out loud.

You gotta use your 'noodles,' oh that's funny, and learn from
your mistakes. DaH!

Safety Rules
1. Put coffee cup down on table before you open door.

2. Use left hand to carry anything fragile.

3. Use your left hand to 'spot' right hand.

4. Don't drop weights on rubber mats.
(Another reason to spot with left hand.)

5. Look at right hand and yell Concentrate,
and make sure grip and forearms are tight.

6. When sitting at eating table, hold right fingers
open under my thigh to keep my right hand from
shaking. (So I won't have to wear a baby bib.)

7.Turn axis of wrist when changing Lat pull down

That should do it! I have actually retained a lot of strength.
I can do push-ups,chin- ups, heavy V bar pulldowns,
and dead lifts.

My Muscles Still Have Memory!
I will return in better shape than I was before!
I will rewire my brain to be...

Coordinated and Not Clutsy!

My First Report Card

Thursday May 9, 2013 12 Days Post Stroke
7:00am After My Morning Workout

I need to put together My Rehab Treatment Plan.
I'll 'grade' myself. Evaluate my ability to perform different
tasks. This will be my first 'Report Card.'



Comments: Always can be improved
Action Plan: Work harder to make world a better

Family Interaction
Comments: Lack of energy for grandkids
Action Plan: Get more rest.

Comments: Speech gets slurred when tired.
Action Plan: Get more rest.
Do motivational speaking.



Comments: Trouble with Hebrew

and Math. Sometimes forget simple

things like friends names and certain words.

Action Plan: Don't panic. It's improving!



Comments: Great cooperation and support

from my clients. Workout programs going

smoothly. Can't spot as much weight as Pre


Action Plan: Rebuild my own strength so

I can be a role model again.

Hand writing


Comments: Can write very slow. Looks like


Action Plan: Practice Writing!



Action Plan: Find natural alternatives



Comments: Improving.

Action Plan: Be aware. Think first.

Do second.



Comments: Eat with left hand.

Action Plan: Be accepting of Ambidextrous.

Right hand coordination will return.



Comments: Just slow.

Action Plan: Speed will improve over time


Comments:Button shirt, tie shoes,pull up zipper

primarily with left hand. Slow,very tiring process.

Action Plan : Practice. Finger exercises will help.



Comments: Improving. Some exercises are 90%.

Action Plan: Progressive training 6 days a week.

Hyper trophy


Comments: Right shoulder, arm and hand

need built up.

Action plan: Keep Lifting and eat clean.



Comments: Good.

Action plan: Trail running.



Comments: Out of practice.

Action plan: Alternate sprinting

and walking.  30-120 ratio

Average score: 76%
Grade: C+

Next 'semester' I will get an A+

I believe our mind can convince

our body to do practically anything.

It just takes practice!

Weights and Walking

"Weights and Walking are probably the single
most important elements of stroke recovery."
Stronger After Stroke: Your Roadmap To Recovery.
Peter G. Levine

Thursday May 9, 2013 12 Days Post Stroke

It's 5:30am time to do my weight training.
I'm determined to do a full cycle
 from my 'prep' workout:
16 Minute Body Sculpting Kit: Attain your dream body in just 16 minutes a day
Wow, that took me almost an hour and a half!
I Had to rest a lot between sets. However,
I feel victorious!  As hard as it was. I Did It!

(At 7:00am I did my 'report card,' which I already told
you about.)

I'm not supposed to drive a car. This is good. I was a horrible
driver pre-stroke and I am completely incompetent to drive now.
I used to rely on my bicycle for much of my transportation.
Can't ride it now. It's not a balance issue. I can't use the right
brake and gears. As soon my hand heals up I'll be back in
the saddle.

I have a lot of walking and running coming up today.
I'm looking forward to it.

First, I'm going to go get my blood work. That's about a mile
round trip.
Next, one of my clients is picking me up at my house.
We are going to Schenley  Trail. That's two miles.

I'm on the trail. My cell phone rings.
Never fails, someone always calls when I'm in the middle of
this trail. Too sweaty to see who it is.

"Hello, Rich this is Shmuel Shapiro. My wife and I are hoping to come
visit you."

He must think i am at home laying infirmed in my bed.

"Shmuel, I am in the middle of  Schenley Trail with a client.
I appreciate it, but I'm back to work now. I'll call you later."

When my client and I finished the trail loop, he drove me
back to my house. I called the Shapiro's.

"I'll be happy to come to 'Your House' to visit. We can talk
about anything, except for my 'set back.'

I have another appointment at 1:00pm Schenley Oval. I could
stop by after that, Ok?"

"Sure, sounds good," said Mrs. Shapiro.

Rabbi Rosenblum picked me up. We did two miles of walking
at Schenley Oval. He dropped me off in front of the Shapiro's
house on the way back.

The Shapiro's showed me amazing pictures of their trip
to Switzerland and Israel.

Mrs. Shapiro said ," I did the Pittsburgh Half Marathon
very slow. Since we were away I didn't have time to
train for it." (She gave me permission to say she was 68 years old.)

"Wow! I am impressed."

She said, "here, I brought you this band."


I am crying inside. That has so much meaning to me.
I was worried about running the Pittsburgh Half Marathon
for security reasons. Rabbi Rosenblum said I should definitely
run it and Not give in to terror.

Mrs. Shapiro also gave me a little card with a Prayer for Health.

The Shapiro's walked me home. I live about a mile away.

What a great day! Complete circuit of weight training.
Six miles of walking.

And Baruch HaShem the Kindness of the Shapiro's.

Power of Positive Thinking

"Neglect of the mind-body link by technological
medicine is actually a brief aberration when
viewed against the whole history of the art of
Bernie S. Siegel, M.D.
Love, Medicine and Miracles: Lessons Learned about Self-Healing from a Surgeon's Experience with Exceptional Patients

Thursday May 9, 2013 12 Days Post Stroke
9:00pm In My Basement Office

I am feeling very smug like I am the first
to discover the healing power of  the
Mind-body connection, and the attributes
of Positive Thinking. I am surrounded
by all these books and articles about
the mind-body link. I guess being in my
basement office makes it seem like I'm
privy to 'Secret Information.'
Oh, that's funny!
'Back off , man...I'm a
Line from Ghostbusters...funny.
Here’s the secret that’s not really a secret.
 It’s revolutionary, exciting science.
(A Torah attitude for about four thousand
years.) that's pretty new and revolutionary,
Don't you think?...Oh, that's funny.
"Positive thinking is not just a way to
weather negative occurrences, but actually
makes positive results happen."

Positive thinking really does change my brain.
 Not in some magical, woo woo kind of way,
but in a real physical way.

The science is called neuroplasticity.
It means that my thoughts can change
the structure and function

of my brain. The idea was first introduced by
William James in 1890, but it was soundly rejected by

scientists who uniformly believed the brain is
rigidly mapped out, with certain parts of the brain
controlling certain functions. If that part is dead
or damaged, the function is altered or lost.
Well, it appears they were wrong.

Neuroplasticity now enjoys wide acceptance
as scientists are proving the brain is endlessly
adaptable and dynamic.

It has the power to change its own structure,
even for those with the severe neurological afflictions.
 People with problems like strokes, cerebral palsy, and
mental illness can train other areas of their
brains through repetitive mental and physical activities.
It is completely life-altering.

So what does this have to do with positive
thinking and with me?

It means that repetitive positive thought and positive
activity can rewire my brain and strengthen brain
areas that stimulate positive feelings.

"If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate
it rationally and respond with affirmations of
what is good about yourself."

Mayo Clinic Staff





" 'Practice’ does not have to mean putting the
bow on the string. If you mentally rehearse in a
focused and constructive way for three hours
while sitting in the park, you can tell yourself
afterwards that you have done three hour’s work."
Simon Fischer

Friday May 10, 2013 13 Days Post Stroke
In My Basement Office

I remember my Father (of Blessed Memory would take
me golfing on Sundays.
He loved golf. It was his vacation away
from his stressful Deli business. He enjoyed being
outside with nature as I do.
I 'hated' golf though, too slow, boring and frustrating
for me.
But I actually became a pretty good golfer mainly to
please my Dad.
 I even won some tournaments as
a teenager.
Saturday night I would lay in bed imagining hitting my
first drive.
Sometimes I visualized hitting a powerful shot
straight down the fairway in position to get a birdie on
a par five.
When I was able to visualize having a good first shot, I played
a Great game!
Other times I imagined missing the ball, or slicing the ball
into the woods. This negative visualization doomed my game
to lousy.
I didn't know that I was using the same technique of great athletes,
musicians, and leaders. Visualization!
Professional sports teams pay big money to hire Sports Psychologists
to teach their players visualization, imaging, and positive affirmations.

"Evidence suggest that visualization can tone and strengthen
muscles similar to the way exercise does; it activates the same
parts of the brain."
Page 88 Elaine R. Ferguson, M.D.

Superhealing: Engaging Your Mind, Body, and Spirit to Create Optimal Health and Well-being

I am going to actively incorporate Visualization, Imagery into
My Rehab Treatment Plan!

Stress Can't Kill Me Unless I Let it

"It is not realistic to be without worry...
My blessing to you was you should have
many worries. That means that nothing
really bad is on your mind."
"Now when I find I am worried about
a half dozen things, I am happy."
Page 188.  Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski, M.D.
The Rabbi & the Nuns: The Inside Story of a Rabbi’s Therapeutic Work With the Sisters of St. Francis

Friday May 10, 2013 13 Days Post Stroke
In My Backyard Garden

Baruch HaShem! (Thank You God!) I am so grateful to be able to
appreciate the beautiful orange flowers,red tree, birds, squirrels and
yellow green leaves. I am in business for myself. My biggest business
stress is scheduling. My wife and I have an empty nest so things are
usually calm. Thank you God.

I checked my smart phone. There are 12,239 Amazon books on Stress

"Stress can kill you." Dr. Joel Kahn

Gulp! Stressing me out just thinking about it.

The whole essence of My Treatment Plan boils
down to stress management. The ability to stay
Healthy and Strong in the face of adversity.
Spiritual, Mental, Nutrition, and exercise.

If the 'stress blender' gets turned on high I have
to be able to cope with the proper perceptive.
'This is a challenge, an opportunity, a gift.'
Or if life 'sucker punches'
me in the gut I have to be strong enough to
get back up and laugh at my 'bully.'

I remember the time I totally lost my car brakes.
I hit a guard rail. My car was literally standing
up on the left two wheels and still rolling.
I wasn't scared. I thought it was cool and wished
I had it on video. My perception saved my life.

"Keep Calm and Carry On."
On the eve of World War II the British Government
printed 2.5 million Keep Calm and Carry on Posters.
... Reassurance.

I have to keep calm .
Ed thought it was funny when I told him I was on a
'Quest for Boredom.'

I want to live a productive purposeful life without
being overcome by stress.
Time will tell if this is possible for me.
I think it is.

Ah, deep breath in. Slowly blow out all that CO2.
Relax. Calm. I am Healthy and Strong!


" Alternate nostril breathing creates
 whole brain fitness and function
 by balancing left and right brain hemispheres."
Dr. Lisa Vickery

Friday May 10, 2013 13 Days Post Stroke
In My Backyard Garden

Let's see if I can remember how to do alternate nostril breathing.
I hope my neighbors aren't watching.

I will use the thumb of my  right hand to close my right nostril.
Breathe in through my left nostril.
Ok, so far so good.
Release my right thumb.
Now I will switch to using my ring finger of my right hand to close my left nostril.
Breathe out through my right nostril.

Now I will close my right  nostril and gently and fully inhale through my left nostril.
That's it,breathe in deep down till my bellybutton expands.
Breathe in 1,2,3,4,5.
Then I will close my left nostril and exhale fully through my right nostril.
Out 1,2,3,4,5.
I will repeat  this series, alternating nostrils after each inhalation.
Ah, I feel calm 1,2,3,4,5
And relaxed 1,2,3,4,5
In 1,2, Healthy3,4,5
Out 1,2, Strong 3,4,5
In 1,2, Calm 3,4,5
Out 1,2, Relaxed 3,4,5
Ah, I Feel Good!

I burst out laughing.
 I just  thought of a funny spin on this.
Alternate Nostril breathing Not recommended for:
1. Job interviews.
2. First dates
3. Public Speaking
Oh, that's funny! Can't stop laughing!

I am going to try a more socially acceptable alternative.
This is the same breathing technique martial artists
and athletes use.

First, I will close my mouth. Then breathe in through
my nose deep down until my bellybutton expands.

In 1,2, Relax3,4,5.
Breath out through my mouth 1,2,Calm 3,4,5.
In 1,2, Healthy3,4,5.
Out 1,2, Strong 3,4,5.

Ah, I feel calm and relaxed!

Need to learn how to do this breathing technique
subtly, so I can do it in public.

Time to get ready for Shabbos (Jewish Sabbath)

My First Public Appearance

Saturday May 11, 2013 14 Days Post Stroke
Shabbos (Jewish Sabbath)

I am obligated to say the Blessing of Thanksgiving
(Birchot Hagomel) to thank God for the Kindness He
has done for me. I survived a stroke. GOD saved my

 My grandson,my wife, medical professionals,
my family, my friends, the community exercised
their free will, to be emissaries of GOD.
I am grateful for their kindness.

Nevertheless, I was not looking forward to going
to the Synagogue today. I feel like it's my formal
debut as a 'Celebrity Nebach (pitiful one.)
I wanted to stay home and crawl under my sheets.

I am not a Rabbi. In my amateur opinion Gratitude
is Not optional. I am obligated to give public

So here I am walking down the aisle towards the Bimah.
(A raised platform from which the Torah is read.)
I am trying to look strong and confident.

I said in Hebrew:
Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe,

Who bestows kindness upon the culpable, for He has bestowed goodness to me.

When I finished I was enveloped by warm hand shakes and hugs.

I felt loved!

This reaffirmed for me the values of gratitude, kindness, and caring

for others.

When I sat back down next to Yosef, a few tears dripped down my cheeks.

Graves Disease

The first day I ever missed
work for sickness was in 1996.
First day ever! Boy was I sick.

The Doctor said my resting heart
beat was a hundred and fifty.
She sent me to a Cardiologist.

I had very little patience for this.
I was a  high power forty four year
old busy executive. Fortunately,
the Doctor saw me right away.

The Cardiologist said my heart was ok!
What a relief!

He sent me to a Thyroid Specialist.

The Thyroid Specialist said, "You have
Graves Disease"

"Does that mean I'm dead?"  I started
pinching myself.

She chuckled, "No Mr. Walters you're
metabolism is in high gear. That's why
your heart is racing, your sweating,
trembling,and losing weight."

"Other than all of that, I'm doing pretty
good, don't you think Doctor?"
She chuckled again.

"Mr. Walters, we are either going
to have to cut out your Thyroid, or destroy
most of it by radiation. Your choice."

My hand reached for my throat to protect

Now, I'm dependent on thyroid replacement
medication for the rest of my life.

Roughly seventeen years later at the age of
sixty one I had a stroke.
What caused it? The theory, too high a dose
of thyroid replacement medication...
I didn't have my blood tests frequently enough.
That's the theory.

If this theory is correct, it is totally my own
fault. Not GOD's or anyone else's.

I am Not a victim!

I am an Achiever!

Shavuot (The Day God Gave The Torah )

Before I became a personal trainer in
1998, for 20 years I was an executive for a large
financial corporation.

At my first interview in 1979,
I told Paul, "I want you to know up front,
I'm Jewish. I can't work on Saturday's,
or Jewish Holidays, and there's a lot of

I clenched my fists, not knowing what his
reaction would be.

Paul put his hand on his chin, nodded,
and non verbally said he respected my integrity.

The company went out of their way to honor my
Jewish lifestyle and even provide me
with special Kosher meals.
In exchange, I had to perform profitably!

Some of my colleagues would tease my in good
fun, "Richard, what's that Shabbuu-us? ( They
would mispronounce it on purpose.) Walters,
you making up another holiday?"
We would laugh.

May 14-16 2013

I am enjoying the festive Holiday meals with
my family, and having fun playing with my
wonderful grandkids.
As soon as each meal ended I went straight to
bed. I was totally exhausted.

I was taken off my Thyroid replacement medication,
so they could drain it out of my system. Then, reevaluate
the correct dosage. This meant my metabolism
was going in slow motion.
All I wanted to do was sleep!

The custom on this Holiday is to stay up all night, the first
night learning Torah.
'Not this year. I can't concentrate and I'm too

In the synagogue, during  the sermons or Torah
readings, I either did my 'finger exercises,' or
took a nap.

Next year God-Willing, I will learn Double!

Running Through Gel

Rabbi Rosenblum picked me up in his van
to go to the Oval.
It's still awkward stepping up to get
in this van. I have to reach over with
my left arm to pull the door shut.
Darn, there goes my water bottle.
It rolled under the van. Happens
every time.
"I'll back up, so you can get your
water bottle."
I am lucky to have such a kind and patient
I retrieved my water bottle, got back in the
van and slammed the door shut using my
left hand.
" How are you Rabbi Rosenblum?"
"Baruch Hashem! (Thank GOD!) How
are you?"
"Great! I am back on my Thyroid replacement
medicine just in time.
I couldn't have handled
one more day without it.
 I was beyond fatigued.
Way beyond fatigued.

It was embarrassing. On Tuesday I was running
with the 'teenage boys' through Frick Park.
They chose an extra long route. I'm estimating
five or six miles with lots of steep hills.

I couldn't keep up.
I felt like I was running in
slow motion through gel.
My body wanted to
move, but it couldn't.
The boys would be about
a half mile ahead.
They would stop, wait for me
and then start running again.

So much for leading by example.
Like it says on my water bottle,

'Pain is weakness leaving the body.'

Next week I will only be a quarter
mile behind."

We both laughed!