Monday, May 25, 2009


I got an Ipod for my birthday from my children, a year ago. I finally, finally have it up and working. Obviously I'm one of the world's great procrastinators. I wanted to get it working so I could download some audio books. I got hooked on audio books when I was driving back and forth to Dallas from Waco all of the time at the turn of the century (love to say that).

Anyway, I'm listening to a book by Stephan King called Duma Key. In the book the main character has a devastating accident at the start of the book and he keeps referring to his old self and his new self. Man, I got that. I completely understand how events in our lives are so impactful they completely change how we think, how we act and how we interact.

Marty's stroke did that for both of us.

Pre-stroke Marty was brilliant. She truly was one of the smartest people I have ever known. She was a world class problem solver, consequently she always had a lot of advise and recommendations for anyone about anything. It was more than a bit irritating, especially since the advise was mostly good. One of the many things Marty and I argued about was who was smarter. We completely agreed that one of us was smarter. We couldn't ever agree on which one. Now, I can honestly say she was.

Pre-stroke Marty was what you might politely call a rule breaker. Even today if you ask her who are rules for, "for someone else" is her answer. Marty was never encumbered by schedules, time, traffic rules, social mores or conventional wisdom. She did what she thought was best, what was most direct and what would be most effective.

Pre-stroke Marty was funny, witty, sarcastic and could be very critical. She was not what anyone would call compliant, about anything. See the rule breaker above. She just was going to do her thing, her way, in her time. It was refreshing and incredibly irritating all at the same time. Marty basically told everyone what to do. It's just what she did. Amazingly, I miss that.

Marty was generous with her heart, she loved mightily, she was compassionate, she was involved with her time and her talents, and she was a wonderful, wonderful Mother. She was fantastic in caring for her family and children when they were sick or injured. She knew what to do and how to get it down. She was in charge, period....

So what about the new self, the new Marty. I still think she is brilliant. She may not have the same verbal skill she once did, but trust me on this, she understands what's going on, and if you work at it, you can get her opinion on almost anything.

The biggest change is Marty is amazingly compliant and agreeable. I have seen her eat some of worst looking things, and never blink. She had endured countless indignities and never complained once, not one time. She takes the medicine I give her, sometimes she asks what it is, and rarely balks. She allows people to touch and handle her in ways that are completely contrary to her pre-stroke self. She endures and allows me to run a catheter into her nose and into her lungs daily, it's horrible, and she never whines, cries or bitches, she just says, do it. She is an incredible patient.

She still passionately loves her children and her husband. She still recognizes and cares deeply about her friends and their lives. Anytime I tell her about the kids or her friends she is clearly interested and asks about what they are doing.

Post-stroke Marty is one of the sweetest, most agreeable women you will ever meet. I know, those who have known Marty for years are saying, yeah right. But it's true. It's never the way I would have described my wife, but it is what her new self is. She is still funny, she still really loves a good, dirty joke. She loves to laugh out loud and works very hard at coming up with just the right "smart ass" rejoinder.

Marty is an amazing woman who is living an amazing journey. It is not one she wanted, it is not one anyone would want. But, she is living, she is happy, most of the time and she is still affecting lives every day in a most amazing way. Who knew??

No comments: