Monday, January 8, 2007

Random Thoughts

In the first weeks of Dad’s paralysis, I kept thinking how awful this was, how could such an awful awful thing happen to him? As I’ve visited with the other families that we met in the hallways of the various hospitals and wards, I’ve come to see that paralysis is not the awfulest thing ever. I’ve chatted with a woman whose Mom can walk around, dress herself, eat, listen to conversations, but she cannot produce language. Her stroke damaged the part of the brain that makes words, so she can’t talk to her family. I think that is more awful. This morning I met a man whose Dad, just like ours, was busy and active and then boom! a stroke, and out went the lights. His Dad’s body is frozen, but healthy, and his mind is fragmented. This is more awful.

I know it sounds as if I am taking comfort in the fact that others are more miserable, but it’s not that, really. I think it’s that paraplegia is more rare, so we perceive it as more dreadful. But these families that have weathered strokes would probably trade places with us in a heartbeat. Dad’s mobility is changed, but his person, his intelligence, his humor, his fortitude, all the parts that make him the man we know and love, those parts remain.

On another topic, please don’t worry when you read that he is weak and tired and that weensy ordinary things (like eating or chatting on the phone) wear him out. This is normal considering how much trauma his body has endured and how recently he was injured. Most of the people who come in to work with him comment on how well he is doing. Today he is feeding himself and tugging his own covers and initiating taking a drink. He could do none of this a week ago. So, yes, he is indeed weak and tired and is not taking phone calls and is shooing visitors out. From a medical point of view, this is normal at this stage. It will pass.

And on a third topic, whenever I talk to him he asks about emails and his dogs. I know that most of you cannot help with the dogs, but you can email. Big thanks for the ones that arrived today. .

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