Love is…

Reminiscing a little about my hospital visits, which now look as if they are in the past.

One of the things for which I am most grateful is that I think I have seen what true love actually is.

If you’re interested, true love, for me, is not flowers, chocolates, hot dates or even hotter sex. If that is what somebody thinks, good luck to ’em, but I don’t think they’re even out of diapers yet – they’ve got a way to go.

I actually met Brenda professionally in a previous life. She was a lawyer, she drew up my will when all the shit was going down with my daughter. Brenda had a stroke in August last year, only in her late fifties – I guess she’s only five years older than me. There were complications and setbacks, and she is still in hospital today. She doesn’t speak yet, she can’t eat solids, but she has a tiny amount of movement through which she can communicate, as long as you know what you’re looking for.

She is unreecognisable from the smart, confident woman I once met. In fact, I only recognised her because of her unusual surname – one I had never come across before. When she was first in, the name clicked and I couldn’t resist asking her husband whether Brenda was a lawyer, and explaining to him my connection. He was a guy I got on with immediately.

In the run-up to Christmas I didn’t see Brenda or husband for a while, and I assumed they had been discharged somewhere. The hospital tends to do that – when someone is out of danger, and the staff don’t feel they can do any more, then the patient is moved on somewhere less acute. It was my own fault, I suppose, because I tend not to check the patient roster. I don’t really like to find out too much about patients, their first name is normally enough. In general, the less I know, the less complicated my life can get.

But I saw Brenda’s husband again in a corridor in January, and realised that Brenda was still on the ward. That’s about seven months, so far. She’d had another setback and seemed to have been jolted backwards, not forwards. Since then, I have made a point of seeking Brenda out each time I visit. I doubt that Brenda recognises me, I was probably only one of thousands of clients, but that’s not a big deal. Every time I see her, her husband is by her bedside, plus at least one of their (grown) children.

Love? Look no further.

Author: Stroke Survivor UK

Designed/developed IT systems for banks, but had a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Returned to developing from home, plus do some voluntary work. Married, with a grown-up, left-home daughter.

6 thoughts on “Love is…”

  1. I once ate lunch with a lady who was visiting her husband in a dementia care home. She travelled many miles by bus every day from her very modest home which she had bought, having sold her large house in order to pay for his care. She visited every single day and talked to her husband, reading books and newspaper articles to him. She was exhausted, and all her friends said “Why do you visit every day? Take a day off. He doesn’t even know who you are.” She responded by saying, “But I know who he is. He’s my husband, and I love him!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. my father had dementia, too. I was left feeling very unsure about just how much he did know at the end. You see, my mum, who visited him every few days, died quite suddenly. I mean, I filled in with the visits a little but I was only up there maybe once a month. In all that time, there was never even an indication that he knew me. But six months after mum died, dad died too, so I wonder just how much he was aware that her visits had stopped.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is a cruel disease and each person’s experience is different. I have seen so many cases and have always made sure that I describe them as living with dementia, rather than suffering with dementia, but the sad fact is that some do suffer!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. it’s funny how words do act as triggers in that way. (About me) I have no problem saying I suffered a stroke, but I don’t like the word victim. But having said all that, I do try to recognise that these are only words. People use them largely out of ignorance, and actually being ignorant of these things is probably a blessing.

          Liked by 1 person

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