Tonight, I am accepting that my miracle is that my darling Mr. PNU is still here. After the rehabilitation consult this afternoon the evaluating physician told me that for a man to suffer a stroke as massive as my husband's and still be alive is astounding.
The prognosis otherwise is hard.
I'll be searching for a longterm nursing home facility for my husband in the coming week. He is expected to live there for the rest of his life. He will not walk again, though I've not given up that at some point he will learn to sit unaided. He will not teach again, though we agreed tonight that writing a book together is something we're both eager to do. He may eventually be able to eat again, but for now the feeding tube and IV are his primary source of nutrition.
I'm already assisting in bathing him, cleaning him after his bowel movements, and feeding him soft foods when allowed. Tonight we listened to jazz and cuddled in a hospital bed that is far too small for two people. He cracked jokes about his feeding tube, and his blue lips from the dye used during his swallowing evaluation. We read seven verses from the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 21:1-7, and prayed together. He made me promise that no matter what we would always do this and I readily agreed. He apologized profusely that I'm being affected by all of this. I begged him not to mention it, since, even knowing what I know now, marrying him is the best thing that's ever happened to me. HE is the best thing that's ever happened to me.
I promised him I will visit every day. I will read to him. I will bring him music, and write him poetry. I will fold a thousand paper cranes and hang them from the ceiling in his room. I will bring him treasures and share common pleasures. I will hold his hand, lay in his bed, sometimes press my body, naked, against his body. And someday, somehow, we will make it to the temple and we are going to be sealed because I'm going to be his forever.
"Yes, you will," he said. "Because I want to be with you always."
When 10 p.m. arrived and it was time for me to go home and tell my children, I stood in the doorway hurting that I will never bring him back with me.
"Goodnight," I told him. "I'm sorry."
He held up his right hand in something like a gang sign. Not quite an "OK".
"What's that?" I asked.
He responded so softly I couldn't make out what he'd said. I came back into the room, back to his bedside and asked him to repeat himself.
"Half a heart," he answered.
I held up my right hand and made the same. And then I left half of my heart in that hospital bed and I drove back to one half of our home.