Mistakes Were Made

My apologies for the double send of Angels on the Prairie the other day. Whoops.

As you might imagine, to keep costs down and things as reliable as possible I automate much of the process of publishing HeroicStories. There was a typo in the title of that article, and fixing that typo after it was published caused the automated system to think there was a new article that needed to be sent to you again.

The good news is that Angels on the Prairie has an important message regarding recognizing the symptoms of a stroke, and acting quickly thereon. Perhaps the universe is suggesting we all read it again.

As I mentioned last month I’ve started a new project somewhat related to HeroicStories called Not All News Is Bad. In response to what feels like a never ending stream of negativity in the majority of the headlines and posts we seem to see, each day I publish a link to a single story that I’ve found that has a positive message or would otherwise be considered “good” news. You can sign up to get it via email or you can “like” the Facebook page.

For a project that I started just as something for myself as I was feeling overwhelmed by all the negativity, it’s taken off quite nicely. (And, yes, aside from story selection, which I do by hand, Not All News Is Bad is as highly automated as I can make it too. 🙂 ).

Don’t forget to share HeroicStories, or Not All News Is Bad, with your friends. The world is in need of more positivity.

Speaking of which, here are some thoughts on the last months worth of stories….

Angels on the Prairie

A stroke can happen so quickly. We learned how important it is to know the signs.

Walt Johnson says:

Please correct the spelling “Prairie”.

Good story. I sent it to friends but included the symptoms of stroke:

(Please see note about symptoms below!)
Think FAST… the F-A-S-T symptoms of stroke.
F= Face drooping
A= Arm weakness
S= Speech difficulty
T= Time to call 911

Unsure? Call 911 anyway!! Every minute counts!

Barbara says:

Wait, he waited until the NEXT morning to call a neighbor to check on her?

Leo replies:

Yes, which is why I included that important paragraph on how important time is when dealing with a suspected stroke. It’s an important lesson for all.

Mary in GA says:

Excellent story, as usual. Thanks for correcting the typo. 🙂

Regarding stroke symptoms — there’s another one that is not often included in the symptom list, and won’t fit the FAST acronym.


We don’t think of dizziness as a stroke symptom – we think of it as vertigo, or an inner ear issue. But just like you can have cerebral strokes (the most common kind), you can have cerebellar strokes, that affect the cerebellum. They’re MUCH less common (less than 3% of all strokes), but they exist, and are challenging to diagnose because the primary symptom is vertigo. Hence, they’re often misdiagnosed, at first.

How do I know this? Because last April, I ignored my own intermittent dizziness for 3 days, thinking it was a bout of vertigo. I told friends it wasn’t fair to be this dizzy without having been to a really good party. LOL

It wasn’t until the Dramamine didn’t help that I asked a friend to take me to urgent care. I was able to walk in under my own power – again, more reasons why I didn’t even consider it being a stroke, or calling 911.

Urgent care was about to close, so they told my friend to take me to ER. I found out that if you tell ER you’re dizzy, you get a room right away. LOL And they follow their stroke protocol — CT, MRI, etc.

The CT was clear, but the MRI showed that I’d had a massive cerebellar stroke – the ONLY symptom was dizziness. We’d never had diagnosed it without the MRI.

So please, don’t ignore unexplained dizziness. Treat it like the other stroke symptoms. It might just be vertigo, but let the doctors decide that.

Oh, yeah… I should add that I’m one of the lucky ones. Most cerebellar strokes can take 2-3 years for recovery. I’m coming up on my one-year anniversary with no residual effects from my stroke. But I will never again ignore unexplained dizziness. Neither should you.

Waking Up

A patient’s question reminds the staff of the worry and fear in a person being tested for cancer.

Rene Castle says

It is definitely good for healthcare professionals to keep the patient’s perspective in mind and it can be difficult because they see these cases frequently. They can diffuse a lot of worry with just a little information at the earliest opportunity.

Kevin says

Excellent lesson for each of us in a customer-facing position! 🙂

Four Words

In this case, not being called on to speak in front of the class gave her all the confidence she needed.

Bronwyn says:

I remember when I was in fifth grade, my teacher would call on various people in the class to read aloud. I and another classmate never got called on (she never raised her hand, but I would volunteer every time and the teacher’s eyes would slide right off me). I asked her privately one day, around report card time, if I had done something wrong that she never called on me, and she seemed surprised. She pointed out that she called on me to answer questions all the time. When I explained that I was talking about reading out loud, she answered me in much the same way that Barbara’s teacher did: “I want to give people the chance to read out loud who aren’t very good at it, so they can get better.”

Nearly twenty years later (holy Moses) and I still try to carry that attitude with me.

Have a happy, safe, and joyful month.

Leo A. Notenboom