Over Thanksgiving week, my hubby, who already has Alzheimer’s disease, had two tiny strokes; they are called TIAs, Transient Ischemic Attacks. These events came and went very quickly. He lost his balance and his right side went weak, his speech slurred momentarily and, within five or ten minutes, he was back to being his old self each time.
What I know about strokes is this, one stroke begets another. So, watching him suffer these two tiny attacks told me that something bigger was on the way. The thing about strokes, especially in the very old (people over 85), is that you can’t really prevent them and you can’t predict exactly when they will occur. Knowing all that, I was not surprised when I found him on the floor last Thursday, his right side completely useless and his speech sounded like he had a mouth full of marbles.
Emergency crews came and off he went to the emergency department at nine in the morning. He spent four nights at the hospital where he got a lot of function back but because he still needs physical and occupational therapy, he went to a transitional care unit (TCU) today. I have every confidence that he’ll get back his strength and his balance and hopefully be home by Christmas, assuming he doesn’t have yet another stroke – and of course, he might. There’s no predicting when the next event will occur!
So, I’m thinking this week has been a metaphor for life as we frequently experience it – when you least have time for it, room for it, energy for it – $%@# happens! And, you can either throw a tantrum or trust that the Universe has your back and roll with it. That’s what we’ve done this week, roll with it.
No, I don’t have time for this – it’s the holidays! No I don’t have room for it in my life, especially when you add snow! And of course, I don’t have the energy for it, but I guess I’ll sleep in tomorrow, now that he’s settled in his new space.
There are no guarantees that life will go smoothly, no promises that we won’t hit a snag or be thrown a curve. What we can count on is that life will test our patience, ask us to trust our instincts and show us what we’re made of! We’ll be reminded we’re human and frail, our bodies betray us and break down when we least expect it. But, we’re also tougher than we think and more resilient than we knew, and ready to be surprised by all the amazing pieces that actually do fall into place if we stay out of the way!