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Making lures helped young stroke patient's recovery

Lures now belong in father’s collection

Staff writer

The Lovelady living room, in the southern section of their home in the 700 block of South Freeborn, Marion, is Bub Lovelady’s space.

“I let him have this room,” Linda Lovelady said.

There are odes to the outdoors throughout the room, most obvious is the entire northern wall that features five shelves of fishing lures, each shelf containing more than 50 lures. Bub has never counted the collection, but there are 100s of lures on the wall alone.

Fishing is a Lovelady tradition. Bub said he cannot remember his dad not having a boat. His dad was the reason began collecting lures and flies.

Some of the lures stand out. While most of the lures are 50 years old or older, Bub’s first dates back to 1908, some of lures made in the last 10 years are special to Bub.

In a glass class, to the right of the first set of shelves, there are three large lures including a purple and teal dragonfly.

To the right, in the middle shelf, there is a lure that is decorated in crimson with OU painted in white letters housed in a small covered wagon. Further right there is a black and gold lure, striped like a cartoonishly large wasp.

“That was the first one I ever made you,” Joe Lovelady, 40, said to his father.

Those lures were hand carved and painted about 10 years ago by Joe after he suffered a stroke.

In 2002, while watching his four young children — Brant, Hogan, Miran, and Tayden — ice skate in Wichita, Joe complained to Linda that he was not feeling well.

In fact, he had not been feeling well all that prior year — regularly vomiting with chronic nausea and dizziness. Joe said doctors could not pinpoint what the trouble was.

At the ice rink, it was worse and Joe knew it. He told his mother to take him to the emergency room.

After they arrived at the hospital, Joe began feeling the symptoms, some of which would later become familiar. His head felt like rain was washing down his temples. It was blood rushing to the extremities of his body.

Then what felt like a hot poker penetrated his left shoulder and sent waves of burning pain down his arms and chest.

In the emergency room, Joe suffered two heart attacks and a stroke. He was only 29 years old.

“You always think, ‘I’ll go before my kids,’” Bub said. “When something like that happens, it scares you to death.”

Joe stayed in an intensive care unit for nearly a week. He was diagnosed with Addison’s disease. Addison’s disease is a disorder where the adrenal glands do not supply hormones to the body. The disease caused Joe’s stroke.

“The blood wasn’t going where it was supposed to go,” Linda explained.

The stroke’s effects on Joe’s body were massive. He was partially paralyzed on his left side, barely being able to move his arm. Both his hands had limited movement.

“I can’t imagine wanting to eat and not being able to raise my hand to eat,” Linda said.

He was confined to a wheel chair. He could walk, but only for a few yards before tiring.

The condition for Joe was especially cruel. He loved his job as a teaching golf pro at a course in Wichita.

Bub maintained a course in Wichita when Joe was growing up, and his son would play golf all summer, as many as 96 holes in a day. Joe had always been physically active, playing golf and basketball.

“My first 30 years was like a different life than my last 10,” Joe said.

On top of this, Brant and Hogan were about five years old at the time.

“It was hard getting out of bed let alone being able to run around and play,” Joe said.

After the stroke, Joe and his wife Carlene moved to Marion so Joe could be near his parents. The move also helped the couple relieve some of the financial burden they were suffering. Joe still earns disability for his primary income, although he is healthy enough to work on Marion’s golf course as a volunteer.

Joe endured physical therapy for more than a year. Despite the strenuous activity, he was still struggling to gain motor function of his hands.

It was Linda’s idea to have Joe carve lures and tie flies to strengthen his hands. Joe enjoyed Bub’s collection and had growing one himself. Joe’s uncle, Clyde Green, also made lures, which had interested him as a child.

Joe started slowly. He said the first lure took two weeks to construct and paint. However, he quickly improved. Eventually, he said he could tie flies, one of which looks like a small bee, in 10 to 15 minutes.

“Ones I can barely see,” Bub said. “I couldn’t do it if I didn’t have anything wrong with me.

Joe got more and more into his new hobby. He would test lures in a bathtub with a small piece of line.

“To make sure they do what you want,” Joe said.

Then, it was necessary for Joe to test the lure on Marion County Lake.

“If it doesn’t catch anything, I’ll go back and work on it,” Joe said.

The hobby culminated when Linda sold Joe’s lure at her job at Cessna.

Building lures was a passing task for Joe. Once he improved, he set the lures down; he still has an unopened lure kit at his Marion home.

Joe still has many health concerns. He occasionally suffers migraines that force him to bury his face into a pillow for comfort. He also has seizures, although with less regularity. The year after his stroke, Joe said he had about seven seizures. He has learned their symptoms, including blood rushing from his head, and to control them by tensing up his face and body.

He said he has not suffered a seizure in three months, but they are worse in cold weather.

He is again playing with his children and out on the golf course.

His first time back out in Hillsboro, about three years ago, he scored an eagle, sinking a 65-foot iron shot on his first hole.

“OK, I’m back,” Joe thought after that triumph.

Through everything, Joe learned to lean on his family. It was appropriate that a family love like fishing helped Joe recover during the worst time in his life.

“I’m a lot better person,” Joe said, thinking about life after his stroke. “It made me realize the importance of family.”

Last modified Dec. 7, 2011

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