Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Some Truths

Truth -- Marty will celebrate her 55th birthday on August 23rd. I don't know if any of us really thought we would be doing that. Three years ago it certainly didn't seem very likely, but here we are. God willing we will go to the lake house tomorrow and kids, family and friends will come and celebrate this minor miracle. A couple of statistics for you left brain folks out there. I can't remember where I found these stats so they may be a bit overblown but --- (I'm known for flaunting exaggerated facts) -- 50% of people who suffer from a ruptured aneurysm in the brain do not make it to the hospital and of those who do -- only 50% make it home. Marty beat the odds both times.

Truth -- Marty was always, or at least gave the outward appearance of a pretty tough lady. That fortitude, that toughness has served her well. She has had some of the most basic parts of life pulled from her. She has endured countless indignities. She has been as sick as one can be and not die. And, she's still dealing with life in the best way she can. She has lost the part of her that she most prized, her intellect and ability to communicate, and she has never, not one time complained. I know she gets sad. I know she understands what she has lost, but she still looks for ways to laugh and she has this amazing acceptance of her life. It's pretty amazing.

Truth -- They tell you in therapy that part of a stroke survivor's potential rests in the hands of their family and friends. Marty is really lucky in this. I have been able to stay home and care for her,and I've turned into a dandy little caregiver. Our children understand the meaning of family and they have been amazingly faithful and amazingly accepting of their Mother's new normal. My parents and my family have been incredibly loyal and faithful to Marty. They call, and they call to check on Marty. They come down, they come down to touch and see Marty. It really does make a difference.

Truth -- Marty has had wonderful medical care. In the last four years she has been in five hospitals, three rehab programs, and a sub-acute care center. She has had five surgeries and I can't count the number of doctors, nurses, therapists and nursing assistants that have cared for her. All but two were great. I wish everyone could see how talented and dedicated these people are. Trust me on this, care delivery can be great with the right people and we have had a lot of the right people. But, health care does need to be reformed. The cost, the complexity and the importance make change imperative. Obama is at least trying to make a positive difference. Oops, sorry, I lapsed into bleeding heart mode.

Truth -- Marty was no saint, I know that. Marty had one of those personalities you either loved or hated, but you never forgot. She left an indelible impression on a lot of people. Marty still does. Her quite strength, her resolve, her obvious love, and her perseverance still mark the people who know her and who get to know her. Over the last four years she has met and had an impact on a bunch of people. One thing that hasn't changed -- people who get to know Marty don't forget her.

Truth -- When I thinkg about it, knowing what Marty was before the stroke and seeing her today makes me sad. I know what she has lost. But, I love Marty and I am amazed everyday at her resilience and her capacity to live through each storm. We have lived through several bad weather days, we will live through more, but that's why God invented umbrellas.

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