Home News Sports/Outdoors Social Business Calendar

Events & Entertainment Letters Obituaries Archives Advertise
Search ...

Thank you for friends, help moving, the Restorium

November 20, 2023

By Mike Weland

Unless the need hits you square between the eyes, most people never give much thought, if any, to what they'll do if, because of the physical or mental deterioration inevitable with aging or the vicissitudes of life, they are no longer able to live independently or with the help of their families. Fortunately, the majority never have to think about it ... fortunately, those who do in Boundary County have options, including a county-owned gem, the Community Restorium, where, with considerable help from friends, I moved last week.

My decline began abruptly just after the KXLY News intro came on at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 22, 2012. I'd spent the day doing what I loved, tilling the garden with help from the chickens and ducks, planting some of the early vegetables. Cleared and burned brush on our three-acre "farm" under the visage of Clifty. Then I went in, poured a glass of iced tea, carried it to my recliner, set it on the end table, sat and aimed the remote to turn on the news. Laid down the remote and sat back, relaxing, and reached for my tea.

My left hand didn't leave the arm rest. In the space of seconds, with no pain, nothing to warn me my life had just changed forever for the worse, I'd had a stroke, losing in that brief moment the use of my left side. Mine wasn't a usual stroke caused by a bleed or a clot, but a stroke brought on by high blood pressure. A vessel in my motor cortex had gone into spasm and clamped shut, cutting off the blood flow long enough to kill an area of brain tissue about the size of a pea.

Twice on the way to the hospital I was briefly able to flex my hand and I thought I was okay, but it clamped back up both times and never came back. For the first time in my life I was admitted to a hospital. I was 53 years old. In my three weeks in stroke school, I taught myself to type one-handed, learned to walk with a cane. I came home a week early, against the doctor's advice, because I had an election to cover.

Over the course of the next four years, I experienced 15 transient ischemic attacks, or mini-strokes, and a second full stroke in 2014. In 2016, a Navy pharmacist's mate with the VA asked why I'd never been prescribed blood pressure medications and worked with me to get the right combination and dosages and the strokes ended. So, too, did my marriage.

For the last five years, I was able to live on my own in a house I rented on the South Hill, and even set up a wood shop in the garage. But arthritis set in and I began falling often. A little under a year ago, I lost my ability to walk. And then the tremors set in, muscles on both sides going into spasm or locking up altogether, getting slowly worse over time.

Still, I never considered moving to an assisted care facility. I hired a wonderful young friend to come in one day a week and do the things I no longer could, and other friends pitched in, checking the mail, tending my banking and other business when the weather wasn't conducive to riding my mobility chair.

But even with their unwavering help, I recently came to realize I was no longer able to maintain my independence.

There are several senior apartment complexes in Bonners Ferry, managed by the Bonners Ferry Senior Center, that afford independent living while tending to the yard work and maintenance, but there are, at present, about 50 people waiting for a vacancy.

I needed a bit more, so I called the Restorium, and they not only had a room, but staff; initially Karlene, Kevin, Janet and Charlene, went out of their way to answer my questions and make my transition to assisted living smooth and dignified, and the additional staff and residents I've met since my arrival Wednesday have all been friendly and welcoming. To them I give thanks.

I also give thanks to that wonderful young friend who has been so helpful these past several months, Aleah Litterell-Said, and her husband, Isaiah, who not only did much of the hard work of moving me here, but who helped take care of all I'd accumulated but could not bring. Thanks, too, to Jerry Higgs, who not only helped me move, but who without asking shoveled my drive, checked my mail and made sure I was okay on a regular basis for years. To Katie Banning and her daughter, Piper, for finding a home for my boon companions, my dog Copper and cat Scooter. To Georgia Earley for her help, Kris and Lillian Lonborg for all they've done. To my old neighbor, Mikey Bjoraker, to Jim Thompson and Lila Robinson. To Jennifer Sells, Jody McClintock, Tom Ulappa, Mike and Linda Ashby, Ed and Julie Newcomb and all who stopped by over the years to visit and make sure I was okay. Such friends as these are a true blessing.

I thank those who read and support 9B News, for giving me purpose and reason. It has been an honor and a privilege to be a journalist in Boundary County for 32 years, and while I can no longer race to calamity or attend meetings or go events as I once did, my aim is to continue providing trusted and timely news to the best of my ability.

For all of you, I am grateful.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6619 Kaniksu St., Rm 19
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016
Sign up for breaking news alerts