February 11th, 1996. That was the day the congenital arteriovenous malformation of the left basal ganglia ruptured. In terms we can all understand, that was the day of the massive stroke.
I kept the MRI photos that were taken a few weeks after. When I first saw them I had to excuse myself to go throw up in the bathroom. I was told that the clear area of film is the clot left from the bleed. The neurosurgeon told me it was the size of a jumbo grade egg.
Eighteen years later, I showed some friends the film. “Life isn’t fair”, one of them commented. Eighteen years of regular physical therapy. Eighteen years of struggling to use his right hand; of people asking why he’s limping; of word finding problems.
“Life isn’t fair.”
I didn’t realize my friend was referring to my husband and me. I thought he was talking about those who didn’t get the chance to work on their recovery. I thought he was talking about those who didn’t survive the assault to their brain. I guess I was too busy being grateful.