I must confess something to you. I’m having a bit of a difficult time right now emotionally, so I am putting my thoughts to paper. Six weeks ago today, this very hour, it all started. I would have never conceived the thought that reflecting on a smile would make me this emotional.
She didn’t feel right, and within minutes we were on the way to the hospital. A short time later I was told that she had suffered a ruptured aneurysm in her brain. Our daughter joined me as we waited through the night and learned that my wife would probably not survive, and if she did she would not be the same person. A small group prayed, then hundreds, and then thousands.
Day one rolled in two, three, four…. Amazingly, she survived and was improving. Then the aneurysm ruptured again, followed by a stroke. Only 1 in 100 survive a second bleed we were told, but once again she began to recover. Two days ago a routine CTA showed that the aneurysm was filling again. Attempts to take it down failed. The only option left is to do a craniotomy – scheduled for tomorrow morning.
Today marked the beginning of week seven for my wife, with most of those days being in Neuro ICU. With oxygen flowing through a tracheotomy and nourishment entering through a feeding tube in her abdomen, I sat next to her ICU bed this morning, just she and I - no visitors. I can’t even remember why, but more than once during that time she smiled at what I said. The smile wasn’t just a smile. Her entire face smiled and her eyes twinkled. There haven’t been many smiles during the past 42 days. A tracheotomy prevents her from speaking, but today the smiles were proof that the wonderful women I knew and love is still there.
Her birthday was three days ago. We tried to celebrate it in the ICU as best we could, but it wasn’t a good day for her and really hasn’t been since. I had a stack of cards in my computer bag, and had been waiting for a time when she could appreciate me reading them to her. I decided to read them before leaving this evening. I knew she was growing weary, but I read until the small stack was finished. Card after card after card listed handwritten birthday and get-well wishes. Card after card after card also mentioned – her sweet smile!
A few hours from now I will see her once again before she is taken to surgery. I hope to see that sweet smile one more time, and in time, over and over and over again.
Elder Source Senior Ministries