My Wife’s Stroke or Why This Blog Sucks

Why does this blog suck so badly?

Well, it’s not updated often enough, for starters. Why? Because I’ve been busy.

Don’t believe me, read on. It’s been a crazy year. Then Google me, or look for my ebooks on Smashwords or Amazon — I’ve got a couple of new ebooks coming out, and more planned. Told you I’ve been busy!

Bad Luck, Invisible Dangers, and Obvious Miracles

reprinted courtesy of Wayne TODAY, March 2011

stroke graphic

This is your brain having a stroke. This would be funnier if it didn’t happen to my wife in February 2011.

Talk to anyone who has been in a serious car accident, or survived some other life-threatening situation, and they’ll usually finish their harrowing tale with the phrase, “It’s a miracle!”

I always doubted this sentiment. How can such bad luck be seen as a miracle? Is it miraculous your luck wasn’t worse?

But I look at miracles differently now.

Last month my wife had a stroke. It wasn’t a tiny TIA (transient ischemic attack) either. One neurologist called it “a big hit on the right side,” a major CVA (cerebrovascular accident). If you looked at her MRI, you’d expect her to have paralysis, lost of speech, and brain function.

But she doesn’t. Laura’s lost some sensation on her left side, and dexterity in her left hand, but her mind and speech seem unaffected. She’ s not “fine,” as she likes to remind me, and she’s got a lot of difficult therapy ahead of her. But relative to the size of her stroke, her condition is, well…miraculous.

Our network of friends immediately stepped up and pitched in following my wife’s stroke, and we’ve never felt more grateful for their support.

Terror Time

“You scared the hell out of everybody,” I told her. “You’ve got everyone thinking about their own mortality. Everybody wants to know how this could happen to fairly healthy woman in her forties.”

But the cause of my wife’s stroke remains a mystery. Tests show no heart irregularities or blockages in her cerebrovascular system.

It was just one of those things. Bad luck, with a miracle on the side.

I was surprised by how deeply news of my wife’s stroke affected everyone, especially my friend Ross, who really only knows my wife casually. I had to repeatedly reassure Ross that Laura would be okay, and was expected to make a full recovery. Maybe it was the sudden-ness of it that caught Ross off guard.

But maybe it was something else.

Two weeks after my wife’s stroke, Ross had a massive heart attack. He coded on the table, but was revived. He’s also expected to make a full recovery.

Another miracle, like being helpless in the jaws of a shark that spits you out instead of eating you. You’re left feeling both attacked and blessed.

Life, Frail and Delicate

We build our lives around people and places, careers and hobbies, ideals and attitude. But no matter how simple or complex we make them, our lives are still glass structures built on sand, a house of cards in windstorm. Life is a fragile, delicate thing, which is exactly what makes it so precious.

Plan, structure, and organize your life all you want (you should — like any mechanism, you have to constantly tinker with life in order to keep it running smoothly) but understand that life can change in an instant. Look at northern Japan, where people are struggling to put their lives back together in the wake of an earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear crisis.

Some dangers, the worst ones, are invisible and impossible to predict: blood clots, malignant cell growths, shifting tectonic plates deep beneath the earth. All you can do is plan, prepare, and live each day to the fullest.

And be aware of — and grateful for – the miracles you catch along the way.

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