Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me???

Today is my 41st birthday.

And my husband is in the hospital. He had a stroke on Wednesday, January 5. I've been meaning to blog about our experience, but it's been a little bit crazy around here, as you might expect.

Suffice it to say for now that my husband's stroke affected minor blood vessels in his brain, it was a "dry" stroke (a blockage, not a bleed), and it has caused lack of mobility on his left side. He still has some sensation, but as he describes, it feels like his arm and leg are always asleep. Once the stroke was complete (the first thing I learned about stroke was that a stroke isn't necessarily an instantaneous event, but it can progress over 3-5 days - in Al's case, it progressed over 1-2 days), he began the long, grueling work of rehab. The prognosis now is that he should regain enough of his normal functioning to return home in about 4 weeks. As of today, he still cannot stand or walk unassisted, so he has his work cut out for him.

Last night, after visiting my husband in the hospital and learning that he still had 4 weeks to go before coming home (as opposed to the originally projected 2-3 weeks), I couldn't hold back the tears. I went home and cried to my mom (who is here to help me and offer moral support), "Tomorrow is going to be my worst birthday ever!"

However, I believe that God was determined to prove me wrong. Today was a day filled with much grace and joy, despite the less-than-favorable circumstances. I chose to let the kids - and myself - sleep in and get up to enjoy a leisurely breakfast before rushing off to school. My mom made waffles. And I took a very nice bubble bath. I went in to work at around 10:30, and was treated to many birthday greetings throughout the day, including a table of kindergarteners, and 2 classes who sang "Happy Birthday" to me. My co-worker gave me a nice gift complete with dark chocolate and a Coke Zero, my perfect little pick-me-ups. My mom made pizza and birthday cake for me. We took some pizza and ice cream and went to visit my tired hubby in the hospital - the hours of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy take a lot out of him.

I can't explain it, but it wasn't just the niceties of the day that made me happy - I had a true sense of peace and joy that I'm fairly convinced was God's birthday gift to me.

(PS: I will write in more detail about Al's stroke and all that God is doing in our life. . . .hopefully very soon!)