The word this week from GirlieontheEdge, our Six Sentence Story hostess, is “stroke”.
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The Stroke by D. Avery
The problem with strokes, her brother used to say, is they don’t kill people, a creed inspired by their father’s stroke, and she understood it as a caring statement, not as callous as it might seem.
No, for together they had witnessed what a prolonged death looked like, what a life trapped in an unspeaking, unmoving body entailed for the family as well as the patient. Both she and her brother knew what their father would have wanted but they’d all been rendered powerless, overwhelmed by emergency responses and subsequent medical interventions that would not heal and restore, would only maintain the basic bodily functions of a once robust man who gradually shrank into unbearable despair with each day that he survived to endure the effects of his stroke.
There’s a line, her brother used to say, that once crossed, it’s too late, once you’re in the hands of the doctors they will keep lungs breathing and hearts beating and call that life even when speech and mobility are gone.
She missed her brother’s voice, but she could hear it in her mind, knew what he was telling her with his eyes, saw the slight nod of affirmation as she followed his silent command, tears forming as she approached his immobile form clutching the pillow. He did not need to speak out loud for her to know that his were tears of gratitude.