The Journey through illness


root - Posted on 10 November 2009

by Staff Writer

The eyes are the window. The light talks first in little beams that grow into constellations. So much beauty in the gleam.

Last Wednesday Alfred opened his right eye. That evening Russell asked, "Do you want to go to Chinatown to get some tomato beef chow mein? No words, just one eye, reaching for the sound of his younger brother. Al closed his eyes. Russell asked, Do you want to leave the hospital and go home? He opened his one eye again. Clarity in the look.

The next day two eyes open.

says, Russell. What can I say?

Utopia, Alfred's loving niece says, Al is moving more muscles in his face, including his mouth. Words are never far away with Al. Never have been. Thoughts have already been spoken for, before the tongue becomes familiar.

Muscles move the body and draw the bone. A tingle becomes a twitch, becomes and little motion from here to there in centimeters. The fight against atrophy calls those who know the way. Cliff Young shows how to properly massage Al's hands and arms to increase blood flow to the limbs. Phyllis Wong is doing Reiki, bringing energy to Alfred's body. Atrophy does not stand a chance!

Family and friends stand firm.

The hospital staff say, He is improving... which is very encouraging, but the sweetness of the words comes with an after taste. The elephant is in the room with Al. The cost of healthcare is beginning to communicate, the way it does when it is hungry.

Al's sister, Theresa, has begun talks with the social worker and those in charge of patient care for the hospital. The question is when to move Alfred out of ICU? Already the money! Already the costs, but we all know this is the price of living in the world the way it is. The other side of recovery comes with accountants, as blood pressure becomes a line item and the journey back sees the landscape of our common dilemma: how much does it cost to heal?

Al will be moved from ICU in a couple of weeks. That is the plan and the tubes will not follow.

These are the days of recovery now, the days we have been waiting for.

People, community, friends, have been the strength for Al and family: help when needed, responding to the call, giving room, and sending love with words and prayers. Amazing. It is all so amazing.

Nancy Hom says, Al brings out the best in all of us, even when he sleeps.

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