That's how my grandfather was robbed of his health early Sunday when he had a stroke. It's dreadful to learn about a disease the hard way, that is, witnessing it firsthand on someone you love, and seeing the effects of its unwelcome progression on my grandfather.
First was the facial droop on one side of his face, then the slurred speech--like he was speaking gibberish. Little by little, all the things we take for granted were being taken away by the cerebral thief that has crept up his cranium: things like his ability to speak, his motor skills, his ability to move on his own. It is a painful sight to watch, like an injured bird slowly weakening in your hands.
I've been aggressively involved in making sure he is cheered up, talked to, held, touched, and comforted. Drugs can only do so much, but the soul also needs healing by knowing that he is surrounded by people who care for him, pray for him, believe that he can win this "battle of the brain" with God's mercy. Love is a powerful and potent potion that needs no prescription.
That's why I never left his side on his first night in the ICU when he had a restroke (apart from the initial one that sent him to the ER). I became familiar with the numbers that flicker on the monitor screen, knew what they represented, understood the normal ranges, became paranoid when his heart rate was too low or that his respiration became abnormal.
I encountered the terms "lacunar infarct" and "evolving stroke" for the first time. I just want that stroke to go into permanent extinction. Medical terminologies became a must-know for me so that I can participate in my grandfather's recovery effectively.
I do know that things like this test our faith. I know that my grandfather will be strong enough to break free from that inner prison in his head, I know that he loves us too much to give up the fight. I know that because he emerged victorious from his previous health battle.
Thanksgiving is looming upon us. His recuperation will definitely be on the top of the list of things we will be thankful for. Nevermind that he won't be able to wear a spiffy pair of Stuart Weitzman shoes that day. What matters is that we're all together as a family, and that we're surrounded by a wonderful group of friends who provide sincere support to us in good times and in bad.
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