Self-care Vital in Challenging Times

At the end of January, my family stood outside following the memorial of a vital 89 year-old woman who died of a massive stroke. Overhead, the AT-6 Cougar Squadron flew in formation to honor one of their own.


Betty Jane Williams graduated with my Mom as one of the 1074 military pilots of WWII—the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots (WASP). Betty Jane, called BJ by all who knew her, lived alone. We’ll never know if having another person in her house might have forestalled this massive stroke that claimed her life. But it did remind me to seek information about how you can identify and reverse a stroke-if you recognize and get treatment in time. Doctors now say that a bystander can recognize a stroke by remembering the three-step STR


S* Ask the individual to SMILE. T* Ask the person to TALK and clearly SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE like “some things in life are funny.” R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS. If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. There’s also another indicator: a crooked tongue! Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue does not come out straight but twists to either side that is also a stroke indicator. If you’re like me, even simple things are hard to remember. So I came up with this noggin jargon: Smiles Translate into Raises. And if your cheerful disposition doesn’t get a raise—stick out your tongue!

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