OK, so he’s a raspberry…

but he’s my raspberry and I’d gladly fight to the death to defend him from the casual denigration he faces most days.
54 years old, 6’2″, 14 stone, self-employed builder of 20 years. Employer of men. Hard worker. Moderate drinker and smoker. Hobbies: fishing, live music, quizzing, sailing; he owned two boats. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of music and literature, but was also an outdoors type, full of energy and the joy of living. In the fashion of an English ‘gentleman’ he insisted on walking on the outside of the pavement to protect me from any passing ne’er-do-wells or rapscallions. Quaint, but sometimes irritating to a feisty woman. I never dreamed that I would miss it.
And then, on 23rd September 2011, on an ordinary evening in the local pub, on our ordinary walk home, mid-sentence, ‘I feel crap…’, he fell flat on his face. I pulled him in to a sitting position and, because his speech was unaffected and his face was exactly the same, not drooping as the ads on the TV demonstrated, we concluded that his drink had somehow been spiked. Only one thing, he couldn’t walk. At all.
To cut a long story short we eventually got home; after 4 1/2 hours. He thought he would sleep it off and be fine for work the next day. He wasn’t.
It was actually a cerebral stroke and he has since been confined to a wheelchair. He considers himself lucky, because he still has a pulse. Sometimes, God forgive me, his relentless cheerfulness and optimism gets me down. However, the facts bear him out – we were told by the consultants that 65% of victims die on the spot and of the surviving 35%, tragically, 20% are ‘locked-in’.
So, why does he have to be treated as though he’s a side-show in the circus by total strangers that we meet in our everyday life. So why, when we arrived at A & E, was the first thing they did, was breathalyse him? Why does he have to be told, ‘F**k off, crip!’ if he asks youths to excuse him so he can pass them on a street. Why do people ask me how he is, looking straight over the top of his chair and when he’s told them they come straight back to me with, ‘No, we mean really.’
I got so sick of it. True, we’d only been together 10 months before his stroke, but why did people think I would dump him? I wasn’t brave, as they kept telling me, he was the brave one. How did he know I wasn’t standing by him out of pity? After 12 weeks in hospital, he moved in with me and last year we married. No big deal. If you love the boy before the stroke, you love him afterwards 😀 I can’t pretend it’s been plain sailing; I’m a writer who hasn’t been writing, but…I’m back!

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3 Comments

  1. My best friend had a stroke at 49. I have some idea of what the two of you are facing. I’m glad he has you – and glad you found him, as well. Blessings.

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