Saturday, October 27, 2012

10/30 Update on Chuck Hofvander in the Hospital

by Chuck Jones

Here is the latest update on Chuck Hofvander's accident and second stroke. If you have not read about Chuck's plight yet, skip past this to read the previous three emails.

Subject: Update on Chuck - 10/30/12

As Clarence in It’s a Wonderful Life said, “No man is a failure who has friends.” Chuck is blessed to have so many friends and family praying for him. He will be shocked when he is able to comprehend the magnitude.

He is stable and has been moved to the neurological floor at Northwest Community. Saturday he sat up for 2.5 hours which exhausted him and yet he surprised the physical therapist with his strength and perseverance during his evaluation.

Yesterday he advanced to a clear liquid diet from the thickened liquid one he had been on. Coughing or a sneeze brings on moans of pain from the broken ribs. Chuck has been complaining of hearing problems. The audiologist concluded he has hearing loss due to a cochlear concussion in his left ear. He has made huge progress in speech overnight. He may have lost some of his speech but not his ability to read or write. When my mom tried to read him a get well card, he said emphatically “I can read it myself.” My mother was concerned about his road rash becoming infected so he was seen by a wound care specialist who said that he is healing up nicely.

He saw a physiatrist Sunday who felt dad would benefit the most from acute inpatient rehab like the one he went through after his initial stroke on March 21, 2004. My mother couldn’t disagree more. She felt dad would heal up quick in his home environment saying that after an hour and a half of therapy in the morning and another hour and a half in the afternoon, he would just lay around the rest of the time. So, due to my mother’s persuasion, when he is released from Northwest Community he will receive his occupational, speech, and physical therapy at home 3 times a week then move to outpatient therapy when he is ready.

Sunday night he began to have some pretty significant pain on his right side and barely slept. He hadn’t complained about the pain up until that point. It seems that the nerves are waking up on his right side and he is starting to feel the pain from his bruised up arm (it’s all black and blue) and leg (road rash) and the 6 broken ribs. While this is causing him pain, it also is a sign he is recovering as he was able to stand up from a seated position under his own power, something that required several people to help him with just a day prior.

I will continue to keep you all updated on Chuck’s status.

Thank you again for all of the thoughts, prayers, cards, and flowers, they all mean a lot to us.


OK, the above, what you just read, is the latest news as of Oct 30th. What follows are what I wrote when I found out about it Oct 30th, and the three emails I got after that. 
October 28,2012
Bad news, everyone. Our very own Chuck Hofvander has suffered another stroke brought on by a recent bicycle accident. Chuck is a stroke survivor and is now a two time stroke survivor. He is also a very active member with our Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp and, as you must know by now, a frequent contributor of essays and interviews for this blog.

Following are three emails I received about his accident and current recovery progress:

October 25, 2012 8:45am
Yesterday morning Chuck and Liz were on a bike ride and were almost home when making a turn a car approached the intersection and caused Chuck to take the turn much wider than he anticipated to avoid hitting the car. Chuck fell into a ditch and landed on his right side and his head. His was taken via ambulance to Northwest Community Hospital where, along with numerous bruises and scratches on his right side, he was diagnosed with subarachnoid hemorrhage’s on the left and right side of his brain and 6 broken ribs on his right side. They gave him two bags of blood platelets last night in an effort to control the bleeds so they do not get any worse.

He is awake and talking although he is a little out of it due to the pain killers for his ribs. He is in the ICU at Northwest and will probably be in the hospital through at least tomorrow baring any setbacks.

Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

October 25, 2012 9:07am
Chuck suffered another stroke this morning on the right side of his brain (previous was on the left). He is having a CT scan performed as we speak. 

October  27, 2012 9:53am
First, thank you for all the good wishes and prayers. They seem to be having an impact on Chuck.

Thursday was a difficult day for him. After being diagnosed with the stroke, he began seizing at 8:30am. Because of all of the medications need to be prescribed by a doctor and brought up from the pharmacy, it was 45 minutes before he received the medications and began to work to stop the seizure. The rest of the day he was extremely agitated. The bed was too short and he wanted to get up and then developed a fever 5 degrees above his baseline (he’s normally at 96.1 degrees). Because of the hemorrhages he is bed bound. The performed blood cultures to determine the cause of the fever while Mathew, Denise, and I applied cold compresses throughout the afternoon to bring his temperature down. He was heavily sedated throughout the day Thursday but never slipped into a coma.

Friday morning he had another CT scan which showed the bleeds had not increased in size (the body should absorb them over the next several months) and was awaken by a nurse at 10:30am. We were able to keep him awake for an hour while they checked his vital signs to make sure his neurostatus did not deteriorate while they slowly weaned him off the sedatives and he began speaking a little. He was in and out of sleep for the rest of the day. During the times he was awake, he spoke more and more (we all know he’s a talker) but not always understandably (I’d say 50/50 correct to incorrect). He was evaluated to see if he could eat and had his first meal since Wednesday morning last night, a thickened liquid meal. Mat and I had to make sure he took small bites, and chewed and swallowed before taking another. We know dad is like a chipmunk; storing food in his cheek for a snack later, and now that he could speak, say a few words while eating. Monday he will undergo a fluoroscopy to see if he can handle regular food. By late afternoon he was back to his chatterbox self. This unfortunately led to frustration as half the time we couldn’t understand what he was saying. This led to another fever and more cold compresses to bring it down. They are no sure the cause of the fevers, it could be a buildup of fluids in his lungs from laying down or from the bleeds (a fever is common in patients who suffer a brain bleed). He remains in ICU on complete bed rest which, needless to say, he does not like. But he smiled when I went home and brought his favorite pillow and down comforter. He even called Denise his sweetheart and growled, literally growled, at Mom because “she doesn’t understand me.” Mom has to have the patience of Job (her words, not mine) with Dad because his speech is 50/50. Many times it takes all of us to figure out what he’s saying although the progress he made from when he woke up at 10:30am to when he went to bed was extensive.

We are taking it one day at a time and the new few days, weeks, and months will be critical for his recovery but we are happy to see the improvement.

We will try to send an update every day or two to keep you all up to date on the latest juicy news with Chuck.

Thank you again for all of the prayers and well wishes.

Please keep Chuck and his wife Liz in your thoughts and prayers as they face this new challenge. Please check back with this post from time to time this coming week to see if I get any updates.

-Chuck J

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Survivor Story- Donna’s Story

This week we have an interview with a stroke survivor, Donna, that Chuck Hofvander did. But first
 I thought you might like to see this 10 second video "Hello" from our chimes choir. Look at the bottom of the picture below and click on the little triangle thing that is below the red bar and to the left of the speaker symbol.

If you'd like to know more about them please click on this link-->   Chime Strokers Choir  and it will take you to the Chime Stroker web site for more info. 

Now to Donna's interview by Chuck Hofvander

Donna’s Story

Donna didn’t know much about Brian Attacks but she had a headache on December 27th. It was December 28, 2004 a day Kevin will never forget. Around eight o’clock in the morning one of Donna’s co-workers called because she was late for work, that wasn’t like Donna.

Kevin, Donna’s son, answered the phone and went to wake her. Kevin came into her bedroom and said “you’re late for work” and Donna said nothing.  Kevin said something but again there was no response. Donna had lost her ability to speak and she couldn’t move at all!

Kevin said “are you mad at me, I didn’t mean to come home late”. Kevin shook his mom and thought what’s going on. He called his dad and said there something wrong with mom. Kevin put the phone up to Donna’s ear but she couldn’t speak. Donna was screaming in her mind but the words didn’t come out. His dad said to call 911. Donna was 49 years old.

The ambulance came and took her to the hospital. Donna couldn’t speak so the emergency personal spoke to her ex-husband and son. They told them she had had a stroke.

She was in the hospital for 10 weeks but it was not all stroke related. Three weeks into the hospital stay they discovered a blood clot in her lung that delayed her therapy one week.  They then discovered a blood clot in her leg, another delay. During the stroke related therapy they worked on her speech, physical, and occupational recovery.  Then she went to out-patient therapy 5 days a week for three months.

It’s been eight years now since Donna’s stroke. She has aphasia, limited use of her right arm and she walks with a cane. She’s lost old friends. Before the stroke she had 70 people at her 50th birthday party and now she has about 10 close friends most of them had strokes. Donna said that a friend from before the stroke comes to see her once a month but Donna feels it is a burden to her.

She feels there is a bond between strokers, a bond that even though all strokes are different they are the same. Donna says there are things she shares with other stroke victims and not with people who have not had stroke.

About her life Donna now says it’s a balancing act between giving up and a determination to get on her life and about Stroke Camp she says although she went by herself it gave her hope.

Back to Kevin, he says that the stroke actually brought him closer to his Mom. He continues “if she hadn’t had the stroke he suspects that the relationship wouldn’t be as close”. He says he doesn’t take his Mom for granted anymore but now values every moment with her.

Even a stroke brings some good things if you let it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Trivia Night, DVD Project and More

These items are reprinted from the Retreat and Refresh Stroke Camp bi-monthly newsletter
Join us for our semi-annual Trivia Night - this event always promises to be a great evening filled with camaraderie and laughter! The event is November 10, 2012 at Barracks Hospitality Group on Pioneer Parkway in Peoria, Illinois. The evening will begin at 6:30 PM. There will be a light meal, wine, beer, soda, and great fellowship. We will also have our usual silent auction and raffle baskets. Your registration fee of $30 per person or $240 per table of eight (8) will go towards supporting weekend summer camps for stroke survivors and families. This event is always a sellout, so be sure to sign up soon! For more information or to register, call 309-688-5450.
 We are putting the finishing touches on our next big project, a DVD designed to provide information for stroke survivors and their caregivers. It is intended to help them with the often difficult transition after discharge from the hospital. As our camps became more and more successful we found ourselves in a unique position to hear great advice from both survivors and caregivers.  This honest sharing of triumphs and failures from both survivors and caregivers is powerful and we felt that putting it together in a DVD would provide much needed support to others in the same situation. The DVD has video clips from dozens of survivors and caregivers who tell their true and heartfelt stories to others.
The working title is “You’ve Had A Stroke! Now What? Insights from Stroke Survivors and Caregivers.” It covers 17 separate topics from fatigue and aphasia to humor, support, creativity, and facing the public.  There is truly something for everyone.
This educational video, available by the end of the year, is designed for individuals, professionals, stroke centers, and the general public.  Final ordering details will be provided in the next newsletter or check on the website for further information. 
DIRECTOR’S CORNER by Executive Director Marylee Nunley
Well, last issue I promised some Stroke Camp stories, but I’m modifying my promise a bit. That’s because throughout the year I get some fabulous little notes and letters from campers, caregivers, and volunteers. These mean a lot to me and so I decided to share some of their comments with you. Those who wrote will remain anonymous:

“We were blessed to attend your Stroke Survivor Camp. It was wonderful. There it was in “living color”. There is life after a stroke!” 
“Thanks for such a rewarding and enjoyable weekend. My survivor and I truly loved every minute of the experience. Stroke Camp is fantastic”.  
“We finished breakfast at 1:00 pm after resting up from the best weekend camp we’ve ever attended!” 
“This was our first time at camp and we had a blast!! Hearing my husband along with a fellow survivor sing reminded me I need to encourage my husband to play piano more. The time flew too quickly, but we’ll be there next year.”  
“In looking at photos from last year compared to this year, the recovery is noticeable. No more walker, not even a cane.” 
So there it is, a little glimpse into what a few campers have said this year.
We are already thinking about camps for 2013 and hope to have a list of repeat camps as well as new ones in the next issue of our newsletter. 
Thank you Chuck Hofvander!  
 A big, big thanks to Chuck Hofvander who has been uploading the camp photos to our website. This takes a lot of time and computer expertise. We appreciate the hours and hard work you put into making these pictures available. Check them out at click "photo gallery". Thanks Chuck! 

 Flower Power was a fabulous way for us to boost our scholarship fund this year, where we made over $1,200! We will be offering the same fabulous products again next Spring. Watch the newsletter and your email inbox for details in early 2013. Liz reports that her first crop of strawberries from Flower Power plants were gorgeous, but eaten by the chipmunks. Her second crop, just harvested, were delicious and just for her! The power of perseverance.
For loads of information about stroke camp and to find resource links go to:

To connect with campers and staff, visit our  Facebook Page: Type “Retreat” in your Facebook search box, then, click on our logo.