Sunday, January 25, 2009

Miracles I: Chronicles

I must write down a record of the most amazing series of events I have ever experienced or heard about. I still cannot believe all these these things really happened to me. I have been having psychotic delusions as well, so take this testimony for what it is worth. In my defence, I will say that I am among the most scrupulously honest persons I know of as a life-long habit. I will always be truthful, even when it costs me personally or is painful.

It's going to take a lot of writing to get this story all down, so I will serialize it into short instalments and intersperse with other things that come up in the mean time.

I should like to start, I think, with a bit of background. I first had a stroke back in July last year. I remember not feeling well, so I was thinking that a bit of vigorous exercise was what I needed to make me feel better.

We had a stack of spruce tree rounds that we bought from the local sawmill. Most of them were huge -- over 40" in diameter and 100 pounds in weight. I was swinging a heavy maul to split the rounds into sections small enough to fit into the stove.

While I was swinging the maul, someone came up from behind and hit me over the head with a 4x4. Or anyway, that's what it felt like. It staggered me, and as I fell to my knees, I looked to see who had hit me.

As I recall, this was the first of a series of incidents my sister and I later decided to call "shark attacks". After the initial attack, I recovered on wobbly legs enough to stagger over to the porch of the house, where my dad was sitting in the shade. I tried to speak to him and explain that "my legs are all unhinged" but was only able to mumble some unintelligible sounds.

After a long period of recovery, we went to dinner together in Mt Pleasant. I suffered no ill effects at the time, other than continuing generally feeling poorly, but I drove to the food place and home. That night, I had the first stroke in my sleep some time, and when I woke up next morning, most of my right side was paralyzed, what the doctors call "hemiparesis".

In retrospect, I understand now that what I initially experienced, the "shark attack" was NOT a stroke or a mini-stroke, a TIA, or anything normally related to a stroke. My assumption that this was the case has led to endless confusion and miscommunication between myself and doctors, resulting in a great deal of needless misunderstanding and distrust on both our parts. I apologize for the terrible miscue. It was my mistake, I take full responsibility.

Next instalment:  Handicapped


Jim Cobabe said...

I am going to be very long in chronicling this series of events. I hope those following won't lose patience with me for going slow, The best I can do. Please forgive.

I must try to sleep now.

More to come...

Mary Cook said...

I'm looking forward to the whole story from you, so installments will be great. I don't think we could take it all in at once, anyway. Don't you think your understanding has changed along the way--as will ours as we take the journey with you. Thanks, Jim

mlu said...

It's good to hear your voice again, Jim. Say a thanks to your sister.

I have to say, though, that this is the most harrowing experience the blogosphere has ever put me through.

May God bless you.


Jim Cobabe said...


I am most grateful for your patientence and continung support, As yopu can see my typing skills have deteriorated somewhat, so I'm working on that too. In the mean time, please bear with me and just skip the stuff that is unintelligble. I abpolgize in advance for baed spelling and poor grammer. I am ashamed, and will try to do better as quickly as I can muster, I vow.

pgk said...

What mlu said. As blogging goes, Snail Hollow is sacred ground.

Thank you for sharing so much. We know it isn't easy and takes great effort on your part.

And BTW, this is your blog, so you can spell things any way you need and want to. Think of it as creative license.

(I know you want to improve, I just hope you understand you needn't feel self-conscious on our accounts.)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim -

You don't need to post this to your blog, but I wanted to pass this along to you. This is a copy of the letter I sent to Dr. Warner re: getting you in to see Dr. Digre -

Hello to my favorite doctor -

Our last visit was so pleasant, and certainly the most brief of all our visits! Things are still going well, although I'm noticing an increase in my headaches and icepick pain in my optic nerves. I've titrated up to my full 100mg therapeutic dose of Topamax, and although I'm more sleepy than I would like (love those naps!) I'm doing fairly well. I'm going to monitor the headaches and see how it goes for a couple of weeks, and report back to you. Hopefully they will subside once my therapeutic dose settles in a bit more.

What I'd really like to address with you right now is my brother. What a bizarre whirlwind the past few weeks have been. After he had the tumor removed from his spinal column, some of the feeling has returned to his legs, and some of the paralysis that had plagued his lower extremities has subsided. He is now walking better, and we are extremely grateful to Dr. Skalabrin for her intuition on this one. I don't know what else to call it - I was so annoyed when they came to haul him down for an MRI of his spine at 10pm one night, and he was there until 1am! As it turned out, she was up all night too, waiting for the results of the MRI. She must have been pacing the floor in the room next to me.

In any case, he had a week of rehab, and then was sent home. He's having physical therapy now in Mt. Pleasant, near his home, and is doing well in that area. However, he continues to periodically have what we can only surmise are "microbursts" of migraine. They are episodes of intense pain in his head and very loud and painful sound in his ears. The pain has been so intense, he has ground some of his teeth into splinters. Following the more intense of these episodes he loses consciousness. While he was in the hospital, he had days where he would have 50 or more of these episodes, and he had days where he had none. There seemed to be nothing to precipitate them, and we are unsure if any of his meds have caused them to back off, or if it is coincidental. Dr. Skalabrin was quite emphatic in thinking that these episodes were somatoform in origin. I'm not completely closed off to this idea, yet I'm not entirely convinced of the veracity of the notion either. My brother definitely suffers from mental illness, but this is not the whole story. I sat by his bedside for two weeks straight, watching him endure these episodes. While I understand that somatoform illness can produce very real physiological symptoms, it is my belief that more investigation is warranted into these headache/migraine-like episodes.

Jim has suffered from classic migraine for years. Migraines are typical in my family. Considering these facts, and his current illness, I feel like it might be helpful for him to see Dr. Digre.

So, here's where I ask you yet another favor - would you mind passing this along to Dr. Digre? Jim is seeing his primary care doctor - Dr. Hyatt at the U Parkway center in Orem, this week, and he is going to ask for a referral to see Dr. Digre. It would be really great if he didn't have to wait 6 months (or whatever) to get in to see her. If there is anything you can do to help get Jim in to see Dr. Digre in the near future, it would mean a great deal to me and my family. His name is David James (Jim) Cobabe, in case you see his name come through the office.

I appreciate your time. I'm just trying to do anything I can to help my brother out at this point. Anything you can do would be immensely appreciated.

Many thanks, as always,


Jim Cobabe said...


I am publishing your comment because I want everyone to know what a precious jewel you really are. Thank you. I don't know if it will help, but it just signifies to me how much we mean to each other, now and forever.

Love forever,


Anonymous said...

Jim -

You know my "little sibling" complex better than most, so you must know your words mean so much to me.

I want you to know that I will do anything in my power to help you. That may not amount to much, but you have all I can offer. Please know that I offer this because you are my brother, and to me that means our friendship transcends anything mortality has to offer.

I love you so much.


Jim Cobabe said...


You have already helped. You need to get healing and rest for yourself and your own precious family now, Please remember for me, we are no longer going to say, "I don't know what to do!"

We did it! You were one of the prime movers! You made it all happen! Happy days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HAPPY DAYS!!!!!!!! HURRAH!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, now let's settle down a little bit. There are still serios problems towrestle with. I can take them as the come.

Please don't compromise yoour own life to any extent to help me, you must take care of your own family first. I know you see the logic in that, it is overwhelingly powerful and a compelling argument. Aske your husband his opinion in this matter. He will confirm that you and you own families interists must be met first.

I am doing all right. Your help has saved me like a life preserver to a drowning man. I wiil never forget what a great sister and a great woman you are. Now continue to seek healing for yopurself, and serving your own little family. In this time of trouble in the world, they desperately need your nurturing.