Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for no

N is for no

No is an important word. I wrote the following 122 words for a contest last year and decided to repurpose it for the challenge.

Men Know Your Wedding Anniversary 

Communication moved slow post-stoke for my late husband Jimmy and me. A stroke left him mute and paralyzed.

Doctors suggested he blink twice for yes and once for no.

While still in the ICU hooked up to a ventilator and other equipment, I asked him questions to see if he was there.

"Is our wedding anniversary May 20?" Jimmy blinked once for no.

"Is it June 12?" He answered yes.

"Is your birthday June 24?" I asked.

He blinked twice.

He correctly answered each one. His answers changed my outlook on his medical condition. 

Months later we discussed those questions. By that time, letters were mixed with blinks, so Jimmy could spell out a message.

He spelled:  “Yes. Lucky to answer right.”

***

Looking back, it was na├»ve to have hinged my thoughts, feelings and his medical direction on the answer to those questions. The stroke made Jimmy appear to be in a vegetative state. It was unclear for weeks, if he had brain damage. 

The nurses told me he communicated with them, but my attempts prior to this day failed. Plus, the nurses always told me "Jimmy wanted to watch football" to explain the TV showing a college game. I thought the nurses were making stuff up, because Jimmy did not watch football. 

Of course, the hum, beeps and hisses in an ICU might drive any non-football fan to watch the game. 

27 comments:

  1. The more you share the more I can't wait to read the full memoir, Stacy!

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  2. I feel the same as Joanna, Stacy. What an experience you went through! And imagine, jimmy being trapped in his own thoughts, unable to communicate. It must have been such a relief to him that you were so patient and persistent in helping him make himself heard.

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    1. Susanna, I tried to be patient and persistent.

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  3. Me too! It is a sad story but you tell it really well.

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  4. I agree with everyone above--can't wait to read it Stacy!

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    1. Coleen, I begin revisions at the end of the month. I'm ready to buckle down and get to work.

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  5. Hi Stacy! I am in agreement with everyone else. Looking forward to reading your memoir.

    Have a wonderful day!

    Susanne
    PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER

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    1. Hope you have a wonderful day too Susanne.

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  6. I really thought the post on "No" would have something to do with Enzo.
    You surprised me again.

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    1. Beth, Surprise! I could have written a thousand words on Enzo and no ... as he's been singing it back to me "no no no." Maybe that's a sign I have to say it too much.

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  7. Moving and profound as always. Like everyone else, I'm standing in line to read your full memoir.

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  8. So touching, Stacy. The A to Z Challenge is lucky to have you!

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    1. August, I need to catch up with all my visits during the A to Z challenge. I'm realizing my pre-challenge schedule wasn't that much to deal with.

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  9. You've been through a lot Stacy, and your gift of writing will enable us all to experience your feelings. Thanks for posting. I'm really enjoying reading each post.

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  10. Stacey this is so interesting. Very excited to hear you are working on a memoir.

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  11. Very moving Stacy. I continue to grow eager to read your entire memoir. As someone who had a brain injury, it was very frustrating in the first weeks not being able to communicate verbally that I was there. My mind was very active and intact. Thank heavens my husband and I developed a special hand squeeze 30 years ago that we used to talk silently in public -- that allowed him to know I was there. Probably why I'm so passionate about sharing the books I review -- I want to remind people to treat individuals with respect and to assume they understand you. I am so glad you found a way to communicate.

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    1. Patricia, I remain grateful for small signs. So glad you were able to squeeze. Due to Jimmy's paralysis, we were lucky he could blink his eyes.

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  12. Wow! What a powerful story. What an excellent powerful story.

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  13. Stacy, a wonderful story. Love how you use 'no'.

    Denise

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  14. My grandmother died on her wedding anniversary. I like to think that illness may take our mind, but perhaps the soul knows.

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    1. I like to think maybe the sould knows too Angie.

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