MAY FOURTEENTH

Editor’s note: Following is a page from my spiritual journey.

Sauntering from the mailbox with an envelope torn open in one hand, JK waved a letter at me. “They say I have no major damage from a stroke.”

Three weeks earlier JK had a Trans-Ischemic Attack (TIA). When this pre-stroke event happened, he had begun our noon pre-meal prayer. Suddenly his words sounded like he had a mouth full of applesauce.

When I asked him to repeat what he had said, he tried but gibberish was the result. He shook his head.

I put him through the “stroke questions” which he passed. By then ten minutes had passed. He was himself again and refused to go to the Emergency Room.

Three days later he went for a regular check up with his doctor and I tagged along. The lady ordered an MRI and CT scan as well as blood chemistry to check on JK’s condition.

Now three weeks and three tests later, JK smiled and handed me the page.

I read, “… no major damage …? Has something minor happened?”

On May fourteenth, we met with Dr. Grady again. JK the doctor and I sat at three points of a triangle in a white room. Sitting in front of her large-screen computer, the young resident smiled. “You didn’t have a major stroke. That’s good news! However, several areas of ischemia in your brain are oxygen-starved.” In a blink, she began teaching us. “Ischemia are very small ends of blood vessels.” The doctor went on, “Your brain cells in those areas are not dead, but they are not functioning properly.”

Dr. Grady prescribed a daily baby aspirin for blood-thinning and also a cholesterol medicine. Since JK’s cholesterol is not high, she explained, “Studies have shown there is often an improvment in the ischemia when patients take these medicines.”

Continuing a serious tone, Dr. Grady turned to JK “If those brain cells in question die, you won’t know it.” She paused, turned her eyes to me, and finished. “But your wife will.”

Good news for JK, but bad news for me. Our viewpoints are typically so different, he’ll not believe anything I say!

Hubby and I didn’t say much on the way home as lunchtime traffic whizzed by. During our noon meal, JK asked about ischemia and I reviewed the doctor’s comments. Still sitting at the table after I cleared the dishes, I pulled out my smart phone. “OK Google. What are ischemia?”

The artificial female voice replied much as Dr. Grady had.

JK listened then got up, went into the living room and returned with his encyclopedia-type dictionary. Taking his seat again, he put on his glasses and read aloud, “Ischemia….” He stopped and bent this head toward the page, apparently studying the definition.

Now we had a diagnosis for part of what had caused JK’s brain trouble. However, no one had touched on the implications for our lives! My mind whirled. There’s more to Dr. Grady’s words!

Later in my office, I looked up ischemia on the Internet. I was surprised to learn the lack of oxygen to small blood vessels can affect any organ. I also read, “Brain ischemia … leads to poor oxygen supply or cerebral hypoxia and thus to the death of brain tissue or cerebral infarction.”

Dr. Grady had not said the brain cells would die. She said if they died. Releasing a breath, I realized I had been holding it. What will happen to us?

JK and I had planned to drive to Indiana where I would spend six months. Our departure date was four days away: May eighteen. Will JK be able to make the drive? I sighed. We can prob-ably go North without incident.

Hubby is still a good driver. But how will he do returning Florida alone?

I shook my head. I knew what JK would say. “I’ll be fine.” And “You worry too much, Frances.”

Every situation has two sides. Our unknown future frightened me. On the other hand, like turning on a lamp in the gathering dusk, JK’s diagnosis shed light on recent events. Not only did it help explain his temper with the handyman (June 2019) and me, but it also explained other small misunderstandings which had resulted in raised voices.

Recently, JK commented on his situation, “I’m getting to be an old man. These things happen.”

And? Both his father and his grandfather (who lived to be ninety-nine and ninety-six respectively) showed this malady the last five to eight years of their lives. Will a baby aspirin and the prescription actually help? Wait! My dad also had dementia! What if my mind fails, too?

I needed a plan. Or two. Or three! Once I knew of several ways to deal with our possible worldly problems, I could relax some. And not ask God for help?

It’s not that I didn’t believe in divine assistance. In the past when problems arose, I research-ed my choices. When the time came to make a decision, God chose elements from several plans and presented a new one –God’s plan.

Ultimately, JK and I are in God’s hands. I am blessed.

Frances Fritzie

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