NOTES ALONG THE WAY
Mary Montague Sikes | December 2017
Artful Animal Alphabet
featuring my paintings of favorite
animals, is available now. This is a hardcover book both children and adults will
enjoy because it is a colorful read for children and, also, a fun coffee table book
for those with a special love of animals. Old Pompey, the last alligator that
lived in the lobby of the Jefferson Hotel is featured in the beginning of my
December 16 12
noon to 4 p.m.,
I will be signing copies of An Artful Animal Alphabet at the New
Town Barnes & Noble in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Please stop by.
Show at RAL Art Center
My invitational painting show
of watercolors on Yupo and canvas continues until December 29 in the Nook
Gallery at RAL Art Center in Kilmarnock. I was honored to judge their 56thannual Labor Day show this year.
Syndrome Changes Everything
little date book was full for the month of November. Lots of exciting plans
spread out over the pages--book signings, art openings, a radio appearance. I
looked forward to so many events to promote my new children's book, An
Artful Animal Alphabet.
Then along came Guillain-Barre Syndrome out of nowhere. Olen awakened on
October 30, 2017 unable to move out of the reclining chair where he had fallen
asleep at 6 a.m. He was paralyzed. A friend came to help and couldn't move him.
We called the rescue squad. They all suspected a stroke.
All my plans changed. The month disappeared from my calendar. I slept in a
chair in his hospital room; so did one of our daughters. The medical teams did
not know what he had, much less what caused it. The MRIs--first, two of them at
Riverside Doctors Hospital in Williamsburg, then the big one at Riverside
Regional in Newport News--showed nothing, but it was not a stroke. Then Dr.
John Livingstone decided it could be Guillain-Barre Syndrome and started him on
a five-day IV treatment. That specially formulated drug and the oh so many
prayers worked a miracle. I watched him practice raising his arms and legs all
through the night of the second day of treatment. It was amazing. He went from
not being able to feed himself to getting almost normal movement of his arms
and hands overnight.
I don't think I had ever heard of Guillain-Barre syndrome before. This rare
disorder causes the body's immune system to attack its nerves. Usually the
first symptoms are "weakness and tingling in your extremities." The
symptoms spread quickly and paralyze the entire body. The cause is unknown, but
sometimes it is traced back to a respiratory illness or stomach flu. My husband
had neither. I've read that someone got it after a senior flu shot. My husband
was told to never get another shot--flu, shingles, pneumonia, etc. I also read
about cases they believe can be traced back to under-cooked poultry including
rotisserie chicken. I don't plan to buy those chickens again at the grocery
My husband is fortunate. He spent only one week in intensive rehab and came
home walking without the aid of a cane or a walker. I spent the rehab week on a
small bed in his room.
Guillain-Barre changed everything. I am playing catch-up in a big way while Olen
works to regain his strength. I was thrilled that he was strong enough on
December 1 to drive at night across the long bridge over the Rappahannock River
for the opening of my art show at the RAL Art Gallery in Kilmarnock.
Have a wonderful Holiday Season. Cherish every moment.