Posted in music, writing

A Man and His Stroke

It’s been almost four months since Alan Frew experienced his stroke.

It is unfortunate that anyone should suffer a stroke, for any reason.  It was courteous of him to keep his fans “in the loop” after his stroke.  Although I think it’s great he has a voice and has used it to make everyone aware of strokes, how to detect them, how to prevent them, what happens if you have one, considering all the time that has lapsed since then, I think it’s been way overdrawn.

It’s apparent that Frew wanted everyone to know he had a stroke.  So he told us via social media.  Fine.  At the moment I read it my initial thought was “hope he’s okay”.  I even messaged some of the 80’s sites I follow on Facebook to let them know.  Martha Quinn didn’t believe me until I sent her a link to the Canadian news feed.

Within a few days news reporters were in his hospital room.

What I couldn’t understand was why a representative from Frew’s band Glass Tiger was going on Facebook requesting that everyone respect Frew’s privacy during this time but yet Frew himself and his PR people were all over Instagram giving us a day-by-day analysis of his stroke and recovery, complete with photos.  It almost began to seem like a documentary, one I was growing tired of reading about very quickly.  I figured maybe Frew would just decide to write a book about it like everyone else has. With Frew’s constant reminders I also began to wonder if I would have a stroke.  For years I have been monitored by my doctor for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, all of which I religiously take medication for and all of which are in very good control.  Now I found I was always second guessing if I had taken my meds.  I began monitoring my blood pressure five times a day instead of twice and every little twinge I felt made me think I may have been having a stroke.  I even ended up in the emergency room one night convinced I was having a mini-stroke because I was dizzy and had a headache.

What I noticed from the photos he posted was that it was quite obvious Frew wanted the public to know several things:  he wanted us to know where he was hospitalized, as he posted a photo of his hospital band very clearly showing the name of the medical facility he was in.  Then because some bold individuals took it upon themselves to actually call the medical facility (which is probably what Frew wanted, although he wouldn’t admit it, but hey, why else would you show us your hospital band with the name of the hospital clearly written on it?), Frew then posted a photo of himself leaning on a cane with the name “George” on it.  Again, more attention was drawn to Frew as many people began to wonder who “George” was.  That’s when we learned of the people who felt obligated to call the facility.  Allegedly Frew took on the alias to protect his privacy.  This made no sense, since he was broadcasting every little thing to the world.

During his stay at Sunnybrook one of the posts he made indicated that the alleged reason he was documenting his stroke was to use his “celebrity voice” to get the word out to others about the risk of stroke and how to prevent it.  Initially I thought that was great, at least for Canadians, because not too many people in America or the rest of the world know who Alan Frew is.  But then he kept talking about it, even once he was moved to a rehab facility.  I started to feel the reason why he kept going on and on about it was that he just enjoyed talking about it and himself.  Not the first time and won’t be the last, I’m sure.

I noticed that as long as people would keep listening and commenting, he would keep talking about it.  He jumped at any chance to discuss it in interviews. He was dubbed a “warrior” by one magazine.  No, warriors are people who fight without recognition, such as members of the military.  Yes, Frew has been “fighting”, but only with his PR crew beside him all the way.  That’s not a “warrior”.  That’s someone who may want their voice heard, their story known but who also lavishes attention.  A part of me even began thinking the whole thing was a big PR rouse, to draw attention to his new forthcoming CD.

UPDATE – February 3, 2016

Now almost seven months after his stroke Frew is still talking about it.  I finally thought there was a turning point when on January 29 Frew  made an announcement on Facebook that he was going to be on a TV show on February 3 to announce his “comeback” concert. He said that he 100% knew it was going to be in Toronto and it was going to be a venue of about 400 capacity, although allegedly he had a chance at performing at a larger venue but opted for the smaller one.  Which I’m sure was pure bullshit.  More bullshit came when I asked Frew:  “Is there a reason why you can’t just announce the date of the show now? Why the preannouncement to the “announcement”?” and the reply I got was:  “Because it has been promised to the tv show I am going on also there are several other things that have to be put in place ready to go that management does with the venue and tickets etc before I just blurt it out and screw up what they are doing. So the best I could do was say hey it’s going to happen and I will announce the venue on Marilyn’s show.”  I suspected the real reason he was going on this late morning talk show was to once again ramble on about his stroke.  My suspicions were confirmed when after his TV appearance, he went on Facebook and the first thing he commented about was not how much he was looking forward to getting back on stage, but about the great response he was getting about going public with his stroke.  Then it was “oh, by the way, here’s my show info”.   But that’s par for the course with Frew.  It’s not the first time he has purposely misled others for his own benefit.   I’m sure he’ll be talking about his stroke while performing as well.

Having had enough of hearing about the stroke, I vented about it on Facebook, on MY timeline:

Although it’s great that ‪#‎AlanFrew has lent his voice to others regarding his experience and has been encouraging and an inspiration to others and many can relate, there are a few things to remember. One, take care of yourself. Don’t wait for celeb XYZ to have a heart attack, get diabetes, die from an overdose, commit suicide, have a stroke, etc to check your own health. Do it NOW!

Two, although he has some medical background, Frew is not a doctor. Remember this is a former RN from 30 years ago who just decided one day to stop taking his meds that were prescribed for a reason. Although he experienced a stroke, I certainly wouldn’t take his advice. Know and learn FAST, read up on your health issues, ask questions.

Three, keep your emails, tweets, etc coming because Frew LOVES to feel he’s the reason you are choosing to live healthier. Not that you chose to do that for yourself. Only because Frew had a stroke. Imagine how you’d be if he HADN’T had a stroke! Or worse, if he was incompetent from his stroke? Who would be there to tell you day in and day out all about it?

Four, one who looks for pity is one who keeps chattering about what has happened. Yes, Alan HAD a stroke. Key word is HAD. Forget it enough to get over it; remember it enough so it doesn’t happen again.

Five, a big key to healing from anything is ACCEPTANCE. Once Alan accepts the fact he HAD a stroke and that not everything may not be the way it was prior to it, he can move on with his life. Until he learns to let it go, the stroke still has him and will keep dragging him down. I’m sure it’s difficult for him to just “forget it” and he doesn’t have to, unless he wants to, but he needs to stop making it a part of his everyday life.

Six, #AlanFrew used to say he was all about “a man and his music”. But I think now it’s become all about a “man and his stroke”. Which is one of the reasons why I’m not going to any of his shows. If I’m going to drive all that way, I want to hear him sing, not talk about his stroke!

I partly posted it there because I knew Frew (or one of his minions) would read it.  I also partly posted it to get my frustrations out.  Yeah, I know I didn’t have to read anything he wrote about his stroke.  But I had streamed the interview to find out when his big comeback show was going to be, only to start hearing about his stroke, so I left the stream and figured the show info would be mentioned on Facebook eventually.  Which it was.  As an after thought to the topic of his stroke.

So I commented on his post on his timeline:

Like · Reply · 1 · 3 hrs

Michelle McHatton Although your message has been very clear and I’m sure helpful, inspirational, etc., don’t you feel that people in general should’ve been aware of what can cause a stroke, a heart attack, a blood clot, an overdose, suicide, etc long before you HAD a stroke or before the next celeb XYZ succumbs to what ails them? Just sayin

Like · Reply · 1 · 3 hrs

Alan Frew It’s just unrealistic I feel to think that the vast majority of people live a life of defusing what could be a major health issue for them. Why we live in a world where Kim Kardashian is a celebrity period I will never know never mind one of influence but if she stands up and influences in a helpful positive way on a subject then it has to be respected. I didn’t choose nursing by accident it chose me so my health teaching is uncontrollable but yes people should be more aware but also yes so-called celeb’s are able to bring awareness and that surely cannot be a bad thing

My first thinking was WTF does Kim Kardashian have to do with anything?  Most people wouldn’t pay any attention to her if she was the poster child for ass wipes.  When she’s not getting the attention she wants, she takes her clothes off and posts nude pictures of herself all over the place.  Classy twit that she is.  I was simply asking him if he felt people in general should’ve been more up on stroke awareness even before he had a stroke.    

Like · Reply · 2 · 2 hrs

Michelle McHatton Sorry but if Kim k announced she has breast cancer it’s not going to encourage me to get two mammograms a year instead of the one I already get, along with monthly self checks. I could care less.

Like · Reply · 1 hr

Alan Frew you are speaking for yourself though not for others. The fact that you could care less isn’t really what the question you posed in the first place. The question you asked of me included the notion of celeb’s having a health problem going public with it and for some reason “some” people taking notice and end up doing something positive for themselves that they may have otherwise ignored. You didn’t ask me to speak for you if you were to choose not to get an extra mammogram that’s fine but what if a woman who had ignored mammograms period for some reason suddenly listened because of the celeb and went and got her “first” one to discover a tumour is that not considered positive?

Like a pro Frew twisted the whole thing around.  I may have been speaking for myself, but I can’t speak for others and I honestly think the majority of people, myself included, wouldn’t listen to Kardashian’s advice on anything.  That was the point I was trying to make. 

Michelle McHatton So what you’re saying is if some twit like Kim k gets breast cancer, then my health becomes more important than if she didn’t? Just as if you have a stroke, it becomes more important for anyone’s health than if you hadn’t? The point I was trying to make, which you twisted all around, is that we don’t need celebrities to get sick for us to know enough to care for ourselves. Yes, ailments gain more attention when “famous” people get them and maybe we learn something from them. Their stories may be interesting but I wouldn’t base any care I may get for an ailment on the fact some celeb has it also

Like · Reply · 1 hr

Alan Frew Of course it doesn’t that’s ridiculous. No one is asking you to base care on the fact a celeb got ill. Never have I endorsed that. The entire point was simply we have millions of people who may not pay enough attention to their own health. You may be an exception. Doctors nurses, health practitioners etc offer health teaching and they also appreciate assistance and since we also live in a world of media if a celeb goes on and says please donate to wounded warriors and for some reason more people do then surely that is a positive thing not a negative. If a celeb says I got cancer from smoking look at me now I am a skeleton and terminal and some kids who love him or her stop or don’t smoke because of that then surely THAT is positive. So if someone asks me from media to talk about what happened and I do and it helps someone pay attention is that not a good thing? Not a helpful thing? Does it have to be self serving? What the fuck is wrong with anyone saying anything that may reverberate with a positive outcome?

At this point I knew I had hit a nerve with Frew.  He had started swearing.  Then again, that is fairly common with him. 

I AM all about the music I am NOT all about the stroke and it will NOT drag me down and I will most definitely put it behind me but I would never put it behind me to the point that I wouldn’t say to someone get that checked or be careful of this why would I do that? Does putting it behind me mean shut up about it?

Now he was putting words into my mouth.  I never told him to “shut up” about it.  Just to stop talking about it so much.  I mean, did we have to hear about the fucking stroke EVERY DAY???  I would have much rather gone back to hearing about his latest solo CD EVERY DAY instead of the STROKE!  I would have much rather gone back to Periscope sessions broadcasting the entire CD to the point where I wouldn’t have to buy it because I’d already heard it.  I would have much rather gone back to discussing Noah and the Ark or how the kangaroos got to Australia.  I would have much rather had gone back to any day prior to August 20, 2015.  And I’m sure Frew would’ve liked to also.  But he just wouldn’t let himself do that.

If you know that the busy street outside your home has caused a few unnecessary deaths would you not speak up if you thought by doing so you could have a stop sign installed?

Stop sign?  Bad analogy.  I’m not sure how things work in Toronto but in my town, if there is a dangerous intersection that needs improvement, that’s up to the Board of Selectmen.  Then they must have a meeting to discuss it and see if it’s in the budget.  Then again, in my town dangerous intersections are not a problem because there aren’t any.

Should a cancer survivor not speak to cancer sufferer in fear that it might bore someone who hasn’t tasted cancer at all?

Again, bad analogy.  As someone who has suffered from cancer, I never had the opportunity of having a cancer survivor speak to me about their experience.  I’m sure there are people who do, but in what situation and for what kind of cancer, I have no idea..

Is it wrong for the Heart and Stroke foundation to say to me since you have had a stroke and lots of people know you would you be willing to say a few words in hopes that someone may heed them ?

So, again, in other words, they’re only going to listen because it’s YOU that is speaking, right?  What about stroke survivor Regular Joe over there?  Isn’t what he has to say about surviving an even bigger stroke than yours more important?  Or is it simply because you’re “famous”?

Am I missing the point here, is that a negative thing? Should I say no? Is it only self-serving to say yes?

Yes, Frew, you missed the point a long time ago.  It is not a negative thing, and you shouldn’t say no, but you shouldn’t say “yes” all the time either.  And is it only self-serving to say yes?  Of course it is. The smart ones know that although you do this and that for “charity” there’s obviously something in it for you too. Sometimes the “charity” doesn’t even get what they were supposed to get, right?  You don’t play for free. You never have.  Funny how only $1.00 for every ticket of your shows is going to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.  True charity is all or nothing.  It’s not here’s a little for you and what’s it in it for me.  Also funny how you never did anything for the Heart and Stroke Foundation before you had a stroke.

Like · Reply · 48 mins

Michelle McHatton Sorry I upset you, Frew. But since you HAD your stroke, it HAS been a big pity party for you, it’s all you talk about. Look at all your posts. In almost every single one you mention #stroke You even documented the whole damn thing in words and pictures. Maybe nobody else has gotten sick of hearing about it, good for them. You can talk their ear off about it. But myself and others I know who are too chicken shit to say anything are sick of hearing about it.

Like · Reply · 32 mins

Alan Frew Again that is like phoning someone to tell them you don’t want to speak to them anymore

No, it’s not.  If I didn’t want to speak to you any longer, I just won’t speak to you any longer. I stopped following you on Twitter and Instagram long before Christmas.  That’s how much you noticed.

I wrote what I wrote because I’m sick of reading about your stroke and I want to read about something NEW.  Some new music, what you’re writing your new book about, what project you’re working on with Greg Martin.  Whatever happened to all that talk about Glass Tiger’s book for their 30thanniversary?  Yeah, that went out the window, even before your stroke.  All those pictures.  Where did they go?  When is Glass Tiger going to do their “30th anniversary tour”?  Five years from now?  Never?  I’ve even heard they are no more.  All this other shit you briefly mentioned and then never talked about again because your stroke got in the way. 

This is my FB page you are huge advocate of reminding people that if they don’t like what you say then they shouldn’t come on your page ;

Yeah, but they do anyway so what does it matter?  I’m not out to please them and I also know you’re not out to please any of us.

I have always welcomed the debate but simply hit the off button and you do not need to deal with it

You’re right, I don’t need to deal with it.  I never have.  And I won’t.  And like I said, I unfollowed you on Twitter and Instagram a long time ago.  I’ve unliked and unfollowed your page on Facebook.  I only came on here to find out when your show was going to be.  Of course it’s not so easy to just ban me from your Facebook page like you did your website, right?  You’re always quick to delete the posts you don’t like, the ones that could alter your image.  Like the one where a woman had accused you of blocking her from your Facebook page.  Then you had the gall to say you’d never banned anybody from anything.  I can attest that is a lie because, as we both know, you banned me from your website in 2004.  Then you had your minions, “techies”, whatever, track my computer. Word to the wise, folks, it could happen to you.

You only hear about it because you choose to hear about it not because I am knocking on your door with it. If you don’t follow you don’t get and it sounds like you would prefer that so do that …..and for the record you did NOT upset me . All good.

I only hear about it because I chose to follow you because I’ve always considered myself a fan of yours.  I can’t help it if you write about the same old shit when there is SO MUCH MORE to discuss.  I’d give anything to go back three years ago when we would debate about religion all over Twitter.  It’s like you don’t even care about that anymore!  I am not one who is easily offended and there is a lot I can tolerate, especially with people I like.  Many times I held back from unfollowing you on Twitter because of some rude picture you posted (like the one you posted of a man hanging by his balls), the negative things you say about God or even the porn pics you have saved under your “likes”.  But because of how I feel about you, I held back.  I held back because I like you.  I held back because I like your music.  I held back because of all the conversations we had about everything from Patriots to sex, and everything in between.  I held back because I enjoyed talking to you.  Of course I have upset you.  You know by now I’m very good at pissing you off. That was very obvious in the long-winded paragraph you rambled on about where I discovered you read what I had written on my Facebook timeline.  You should know by now I’m not as stupid as the others.  In fact, you do know, you just don’t like to make the others realize it. 

Like · Reply · 1 · 21 mins · Edited

Michelle McHatton Look, I’m sure it’s been difficult for you but would you like to keep reading about someone’s ailments all the time on social media? I thought it was for your music but then mainly you kept talking about your stroke. Why do you think I unfollowed you on Twitter and Instagram? Just write a damn book like everyone else! Take your own advice about not liking what you read the next time you read a review. Last I knew you were known on social media as Alan Frew SINGER not STROKE SURVIVOR.

Like · Reply · 12 mins

Alan Frew Well actually if you think about it right now and probably forever I am BOTH however since the latter is somewhat fresh and can help others perhaps be more aware than the media and the institutions such as heart and stroke have encouraged my willingness to speak up about it. Now if that bothers people they should tune it out. It will of course lessen and fade by my own doing and choosing but for now if it helps I am happy to do that. I will remove these last few posts and we can move on …

Like · Reply · 1 · 4 mins

Michelle McHatton OK, sounds good to me. Not trying to cause any disruptions and I still respect you, Alan.

So, my dear readers, how did we go from a simple question of this:

Although your message has been very clear and I’m sure helpful, inspirational, etc., don’t you feel that people in general should’ve been aware of what can cause a stroke, a heart attack, a blood clot, an overdose, suicide, etc long before you HAD a stroke or before the next celeb XYZ succumbs to what ails them? Just sayin

To my being accused of telling Frew to shut up about his stroke?  Maybe I should’ve just stopped at the Kim K bit, eh?

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Author:

I'm a writer. I'm also a wife and a parent who works too much and lives too little. In addition to writing I also love to read, listen to music, travel, cook, I enjoy looking for bargains at flea markets or thrift stores, Christmas, football and of course writing! How did I come up with the title of my blog? Two things: 1. I live in New England (duh) and 2. Canadian singer Alan Frew once arrogantly told me to "get a New England life"--again--DUH! I already HAVE one!