Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Front and Back Covers





Disclaimer Audio :






Denial





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.

Suicide?



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!