30 September 2016

Visiting Oregon After My Mom's Stroke

On September 27th I got the phone call no one ever wants to receive, telling me that my mom had had a stroke and was in the hospital. I found out on Tuesday and on Thursday I was on the plane to Portland. Fortunately my weekend was pretty much unscheduled so I was able to get away easily.
 The picture above was actually a couple of days after I arrived. When I first saw Mom she had about 30 electrodes connected to her head to monitor brain function. Those came out shortly after I got into town. My sister, Jill, arrived from Boston the same morning that I did and we met up at the airport to head out to the hospital together. Our brother, Reed, picked us up in Portland after we took the light rail into the city center.
Mom was in the Oregon Health and Science University Hospital in Portland, which has an excellent stroke unit.
 It's up on the top of a hill and there were some nice views overlooking the city of Portland and the Willamette River.
 There were some nice fall colors starting to turn, which was farther along than the autumn leaves were in Virginia at the time. Autumn is Mom's favorite season and we were sad she wasn't able to enjoy the turning leaves.
Dad, Jill and I would arrive at the hospital every morning at around 9:30am and stay until about 4pm. Mom was mostly unconscious during this time and only spoke a few words while we were there. It was General Conference weekend, so I played some Mormon Tabernacle Choir music for Mom because I thought it would be soothing to her.
My younger brother, Brett, came in from Texas for a day, so we were all able to be in a group photo. We weren't sure how much Mom would be able to recover from her stroke. I took a red-eye flight back to Virginia on Monday night and arrived home at 9am on Tuesday.
It was hard to leave, but I had to get back to give piano lessons. On Thursday morning I was heading out to California to help Adri as her new baby was due, and I was already cancelling lessons for the following week. My dad was holding up very well, considering his wife had a stroke and his step-father passed away within a couple of days of each other. He drove us into Portland to the hospital every day and was very sharp.

Mom ended up being in the hospital and then in a rehab center for over two months. She's able to talk normally, walk on her own with a walker and doesn't have any drooping on her right side, which was the side affected by the stroke. Her mind is still a little fuzzy on details and dates, but does well with a bit of prompting and reminders. We're all just so happy that she's still with us!

10 September 2016

Civil War Reenactment in Stafford County

We live in Stafford County, and during the Civil War both the Union and the Confederate troops traveled through Stafford as they marched to different battle locations. Every year there's a small group of Civil War reenactors who set up an encampment in Stafford.
The camp is set up in the town of Falmouth, which is near the Rappahannock River. Across the river is the city of Fredericksburg, where there was a Civil War battle.

Below was a small skirmish demonstration.
This Confederate officer explained about the different types of rifles used--
and the different styles of uniforms.

This woman told us LOTS of information about the county of Stafford during the Civil War. I thought the most interesting thing she said was that the population of Stafford was decimated during the Civil War and didn't recover it's pre-war numbers until the 1960's, so it took over a hundred years.
This cottage dates back to Civil War times and has been owned by the same family all those years.
This cottage was set up to show how an average family lived, not a wealthy one.
Later in the day there were some cannon firing demonstrations.
Kent had the chance to practice loading the cannon.

It was awesome to learn more about the Civil War history of where we live. We enjoyed our day!