Alice Endures a Stroke

Alice's day nurse took this photo on March 15.  A hospital bracelet adorns her left arm.
Alice’s day nurse took this photo on March 15. A hospital bracelet adorns her left arm.

When I left my apartment on March 11 for Mt. Tabor, on the east side of Portland, Oregon, I didn’t realize the destination of my writers’ conference sat on top of a dormant volcanic vent.  But that’s old news.  Little did I know a different kind of eruption was going on at home.

Three hours and twenty minutes later, I returned home to see the aftermath.  Alice was staring at the kitchen counter while all the silverware from the dishwasher was strewn about.

Alice explained everything was fine, and so was she.  No, that wasn’t right, everything was not fine.  Her ramblings didn’t seem logical.

Ten minutes later, I stammered, “I think we should go to the emergency room,” but Alice again tried to make sense of nonsense.  Five minutes of slurred speech later, I insisted she get dressed and go with me to seek help at Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center’s emergency room.  She consented, resignedly.

Attentive doctors and nurses surrounded us from the moment we walked in, and hurriedly we were escorted to Triage Room #12.  Within 36 hours, after being admitted into the hospital, we learned the bitter truth: Alice suffered a full-blown stroke.

The dark forces attacking Alice’s wellbeing caused me distress, and tears readily revealed my love.  And on Friday, March 13th, after the alert, caring staff throughout Kaiser Permanente had stabilized Alice, she was admitted to downtown Portland’s renowned Legacy Rehabilitation Institute of Oregon, known fondly as RIO.

Alice is in RIO, because her stroke resulted in aphasia, the same affliction that former Arizona’s representative to the U.S. Congress Gabrielle Giffords suffered after a failed assassination attempt.  Aphasia is characterized by an inability to speak because of damage to the language pathways in the brain’s left hemisphere.

Giffords got better as her rehabilitation became markedly effective, although those who suffer the injury have little hope of full recovery.  On March 15, CBS-TV’s Sunday Morning show created a video essay about the Congresswoman and retired astronaut husband Mark Kelly, documenting how much she’s improved.

Here in Portland, though, Alice has just been diagnosed.  She keeps her cellphone turned off, because she can’t finish sentences.  She can’t text competently either.

But over the uncertain days I’ve watched her, a pattern has become clear.  Alice worries more about me than herself.  Her entire focus is my own wellbeing.  And she hardly ever complains.

When Alice said it was okay for me to write about her stroke, she displayed courage that transcends the violation of privacy.  Alice isn’t bothered about what others might think; she wants me to channel my anguish into a positive creative outlet.

I don’t know what good deeds I’ve done over the years to have such a woman at my side.  All I know is my heart is filled with admiration and unyielding affection when I think of her.

Before I left her bedside, she made me promise to do two things: first, to exercise at the fitness area in our apartment complex; second, to write something new, so this blog doesn’t grow stale.

In my mind, Alice McCormick represents the essence of love.  And whatever mischief the fates had in mind can only fan the flames of love that burn inside me.

So goodnight, my love.  I’ve done all that you asked of me.

29 thoughts on “Alice Endures a Stroke”

  1. I’m sorry about Alice’s health problems. I hope she recovers as well as she can. I’ll keep y’all in my thoughts and send positive thoughts your way.

    1. Hello Mason and Alice ……. Mason, I love you both , but I do love Alice more (Please tell her this with smiles). I will pray to the Creator with continuation for her betterment. As for you Mason, you are her husband and soulmate to be by her side for all time.

      Yahweh’s Blessings to the both of you,

  2. Bon Courage Mason and Alice. Beautiful post and beautiful journey of love. Blessings for health and happiness

  3. May both of you have fair winds and following seas with a quick recovery. Ya’ll are in our prayers & thoughts.

  4. Oh, Mason! I have no words commensurate with the distress of this event. You are a good, good man . . . betrothed to a strong, fearless woman. I wish the highest good for the both of you.

    1. My Mommy is strong, and now she and I are singing.
      Love You, Mommy and Mason. Thank you for your goodness.

  5. Mason,

    Terribly sorry to hear the bad news. Marlene and I will put Alice and you on the St. John’s Prayer list.

    John Ruby

  6. Mason,
    I am so sorry to hear about Alice’s stroke but knowing Alice, she will do the best she can to achieve as much recovery as possible. She’s one strong lady with a lot of class. You are both in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. Isn’t it amazing how much can be communicated without words or in incomplete thoughts. You start to notice other cues and read body language. I’m glad Alice has you there by her side as she does the hard work of rehab. I’m sending my love and prayers to you both. Tell Alice that I said she is strong and brave.

  8. Alice and Mason, you just didn’t ‘find’ one another. Methinks, God planned your meeting, knowing how much you two could dream and achieve together. You each are the ‘wind beneath the other’s wings.’ God bless you both. I love you both. Chris

  9. Alice, Mason,

    I know that everything happens for a reason. Once in awhile I stamp my foot and say “NOT THIS, though!” Like now. However, I hear the love burning both ways and know the reason is love.

    I wish strong hearts and good healing. I’m glad Alice has Mason by her side at this time.

  10. Dear Miss Alice and Mr. Mason,
    This is a challenging part of your life, but you will overcome it! I don’t have any official prayer lists, but I will put you on my own. You two are an inspiration to people, continue shining your light! Love, Elena

  11. Your family is in our thoughts. We miss Alice dearly back in PA and hope her recovery is quick. Alice is a strong woman and I’m sure she will surpass everyone’s expectations. Please keep her PA Child Watch Family updated.

  12. Hi Alice,
    I am very said to hear what happened with you my friend.
    I hope you get better soon.
    Thank you for taking such good care of her.

  13. Mason, please share with Alice my love and prayers for a full and quick recovery. She used to share stories with me (I worked with her in Child Watch at the Y) about her delightful, wonderful man.
    Now that I’ve read your blog entry, I can see first hand why she felt that way about you! All of her Child Watch friends’ prayers will be embracing her and you through this difficult time!

  14. Miss Alice,
    You’re a very strong and beautiful woman. You continue to inspire me and handle everything with such grace. Much love and happy thoughts,

  15. Hang in there Mason. She’ll probably be just fine. It will just take awhile. My daughter’s babysitter had brain surgery and had aphasia afterwards- and she is doing great! You’re such a great support!!! She’ll be fine!

  16. Joanie and I love you, Mom. We miss you. We pray for your peace and wellness. We are grateful for you Mason. Stay strong and kiss my mother for both my sister and me.

  17. I just saw your post about Alice’s stroke. I will keep Alice’s fast and complete recovery in my thoughts and prayers. Love to both of you. xoxoxo

  18. I’m so sorry to hear about Alice’s stroke. I’m happy to hear that she is on the road to recovery. You guys are so adorable! Keep up the positive energies, they will help with everything. I miss you both. Hugs to you both.


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