|Nena's Last Public Appearance Before Stroke|
Our close friend, Tom Robinson, now children's librarian at the Southmost Library and, just like 50 years ago, Brownsville's most knowledgeable resident, gave us our most memorable wedding gift, the just released Beatles' White Album. Since Nena's old stereo from her army days was ruined by water damage from Hurricane Beulah, I laid a stereo away at the Gibson Store on Central Boulevard for $49.99 to play our wedding gift and my collection of the Beatles, the Mamas and the Papas, the Loving Spoonful, the Association and Bob Dylan. Nena added Stan Getz, the Temptations and Herb Albert to our collection.
Nearly a half century later, Nena suffered her first stroke in October 2014, while touring the new tourist building at 7th and Ringgold. Printed words became like hieroglyphics to her, unrecognizable, a huge loss to someone who purchased over 50 books per year on Kindle Fire.
Her caricature efforts became more difficult, with the latest, an attempt to capture City Commissioner Cesar de Leon, pictured at left. That effort, once a beautiful pencil drawing, was ruined when she colored the hair purple with green highlights. I was able to somewhat recover the sense of the original with a tinting app.
This past Wednesday, at 10:30 AM, I called 911. During our morning conversation, Nena, all of a sudden, could not finish her sentence. Two Brownsville paramedics arrived at our door with a stretcher. The seemingly long delay inside the ambulance, I later learned, was spent performing a series of tests that were forwarded to the Valley Baptist Medical Center Emergency Room. Nena suffered a grand mal seizure at the emergency room, but, based on the tests sent ahead, went straight into an angioplasty procedure.
Two doctors approached me hours later.
"The blood thinner he prescribed did the trick," one doctor stated, pointing to the other.
"The angioplasty, he performed, prevented more damage," the other doctor explained.
I thanked them both. Nena had experienced two strokes in 18 months as well as a seizure. While there seemed to be substantially more damage, the brain has a wonderful, unexplainable capacity for overcoming such trauma, so who knows?
When I shared this with our son, he said: "You both are a little crazy."