(Be forewarned that this post is a bit disjointed, for reasons that should be clear)
It's funny the things that life can throw your way, checking to see if you're paying attention. Not always funny-haha, though.
As those of you who know me from elsewhere already probably already know, this past friday, Aug 16th, at approximately 1pm Charlie had a fairly major stroke while out at lunch with some friends of ours. While this would have been enough of a curveball on its own, it was discovered that this stroke had been proceeded by two TIAs (mini-strokes) that had gone undiagnosed... written off as general tiredness, a headache, or perhaps occurring in sleep and not even noticed at all. Regardless of that, the damage had been done.
Because of the severity of the stroke, and the damages already done, we're pretty limited in what can be done to treat the actual clot itself. Actually we're limited to essentially nothing, so we live with the knowledge that like pretty much all victims of stroke, he will be susceptible to future strokes, but even moreso than most.
Right now we're focusing solely on the therapy aspect... or I should say, at least that's where my focus lies. Helping him to regain as much control over his body as is possible. At this point in time (a term you will be seeing me use much more frequently, as everything is still in such a stat of flux right now, on so many levels) his physical capabilities are pretty seriously limited in some aspects.
******AUGUST 21st: 10pm********
Those things that threaten to make me lose it completely. Got a hotel room for myself, sit down to use my computer... And I can't get it to come on, the power button is screwy--has been for a while---Charlie's always able to get it to stop being a pain and power up with just a few tries.
I think I may get quite drunk tonight.
****AUGUST 21st: 12:30am****
Finally, an hour later, I get my computer to come on. I've neither gotten "quite drunk" nor have I crashed out... but the space has been good. The last day/days has/have been challenging in different ways... everyone is exhausted, nerves are frayed, tensions rise. I keep forgetting all these other things that need doing (paying bills, answering emails, etc) or thinking of *this* other thing... so many things. Catching myself driving to our home... and forgetting why I made the hour & a half drive, what I'm supposed to be doing. Brain stuck (poor choice of words, I know) on what the future could hold for both myself and for Charlie and for the both of us as a "unit." Reminded by friends that it has to be day-by-day right now, but that's a hard thing for me to do, it always has been.
I almost lost it this morning, again. Swallow/speech was in, working with him, and he was asked to say his name. After multiple attempts, he finally managed it. It wasn't a smooth "Charlie" it was a "Char... Char..Char" followed finally by a "Char.... lie." That in itself almost broke me, but when they moved on to trying to say MY name I suddenly realized how infrequently we actually use one another's names in our day-to-day lives (really only to get the other's attention. Even when saying our goodnights, we almost never use the other's name, it is usually simply "love you") but suddenly it became very important to hear it. I haven't heard my name from his lips since... well, I can't recall, since I wasn't paying attention when it happened, because that's what we do... we forget to pay attention. To so many "little" things. But anyways, when asked who I was he couldn't say. He just couldn't get it out. The neural pathways were stuck on "Charlie" and wouldn't switch over, so all he could do was "Char... Char...Char" again. Eventually, with prompting, he got to "Char...Ju" And a few tries later, got it to "Ju.......dah" And two more attempts got him to "Ju..dah."
And it both devastated me and was the brightest spot I've experienced in, well, pretty much forever simultaneously, really.
So a reminder out there to all of you. Pay attention to those little things, and use the names of those you love, as much as you can. Names are powerful, they mean the world.