DAILY LIVING & MOBILITY

Army Veteran, Husband, Father, Uncle, & Grandfather

Stroke (CVA)

William Blakely

Military service and fatherhood

My grandparents have been married for fifty three years and my grandfather served in the army for sixteen years as an active duty officer starting in the fall of 1964, and separating from the military as a major in May of 1979. During that time, he was deployed to South Korea, South Vietnam, and stationed in Germany. My dad was born in 1966 in South Carolina and when grandaddy came home from South Korea in 1967, he held dad for the first time in the airport. After Grandaddy got home from South Korea to Columbus, GA, he, dad, and Mamie moved to Huntsville, Alabama and Uncle Bob was born there in 1968. After that, the four of them traveled to Japan and Uncle Chip was born in 1971 in Okinawa. After all three boys were born, Mamie, Grandaddy, my dad, and uncles traveled to China and Germany where Grandaddy was stationed and many other stateside locations before Mamie, dad, and my uncles moved back home to Columbus, GA and he was deployed to Vietnam in the early 1970's shortly after Uncle Chip was born. When Grandaddy got home from Vietnam, he had a homecoming surprise when he found out that Mamie, dad, Uncle Bob, and Uncle Chip adopted a chihuahua named Tipsie. When Grandaddy was discharged from his active duty service in February of 1979, the army decided to hire him a few months later to be a department of the army civilian/safety manager aka the "safety grinch" at Martin Army Community Hospital located in Fort Benning, GA. He started working there in July 1979 and transitioned to safety manager in August 1988. One day when Granddaddy was the safety manager, he found and extinguished a fire in the hospital. Grandaddy ended up retiring in October of 2002, but said that being the safety manager at Martin Army Community Hospital was the most rewarding job of his career.

The stroke and life now

In 2009 while Mamie and Grandaddy were in Colorado visiting Uncle Chip and his family, Grandaddy suffered a stroke which paralyzed his left side. He was airlifted from Colorado to a hospital in Georgia and spent a few weeks in the hospital. After Grandaddy was released from the hospital, he and Mamie spent Christmas with us and my Uncle Bob before they returned home to North Carolina. Mamie and Grandaddy went from living by themselves together to needing a CNA and caregiver to helping them, and it's been like that for eight years now. After that happened, we ended up selling Mamie and Grandaddy's trailer, dad ended up getting Mamie's toyota camry and Uncle Bob bought an accessible van for Mamie and Grandaddy.

Spending time with my family

Ever since Grandaddy's stroke, my cousin Casey has taught me that it's important to spend as much time as possible with your  family as they get older. Whenever we get the chance, we'll go up to Mamie and Grandaddy's and spend time with them. Mamie and Grandaddy  have been married for fifty three years and on their 50th anniversary back in 2014, my dad, stepmom, brother, and I drove up to North Carolina from Georgia, and my uncle and his family came down from Colorado and we all celebrated together. About a month ago, we found out some devastating news regarding Mamie and Grandaddy's living situation which was they would have to go into a nursing home. Due to their first caregiver Pavel resigning due to his own family issues, Mamie and Granddaddy started looking for a new one and during the search, they had full time CNA's helping them and with that came expenses. Eventually they found someone that they both liked, but shortly after they hired their new caregiver Teresa, they found out that she wasn't who she said she was and they fired her. Once Teresa was fired, the full time CNA's and expenses were back which eventually almost became too hard for Mamie and Grandaddy to handle, resulting in the nursing home news, but luckily Pavel came back. After Casey told me to trust my dad and uncles in making the right decision for them, we came up with the idea to spend the Saturday after thanksgiving with them, so that's what happened. Yesterday November 25th, my dad, stepmom, and I drove up from Georgia and my Aunt Anne and Casey drove up from South Carolina and we had thanksgiving round two with Mamie and Grandaddy, along with watching football, looking at old family photo albums, and just spending time together. I really enjoyed it and I know that Mamie, Grandaddy, my dad, my stepmom, my cousin Casey, and my aunt Anne enjoyed it too. Before we left, I wanted a family picture and we ended up taking it in Mamie and Grandaddy's bedroom around Grandaddy's bed because Grandaddy was tired and so he was laying down to take a nap

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