The Anatomy Of A Stroke [Day 5]

My dad is always clean shaven, usually to within an inch of his life, utilising ripping upward strokes with the kind of razor that would probably have me hiding behind the couch. So it’s also been strange going in and seeing the ever expanding field of stubble creeping across his face, quietly adding to the unfamiliarity. Myself, I tend to lean toward the designer stu… uh, laziness. I cannot lie. [Essentially: don’t shave for about six days, beard begins to itch, resultant shave, rinse and repeat. When people meet me they’re invariably left with a first impression of smart or borderline hobo, depending on which part of the cycle they should bump into.]

Prior to my arrival this afternoon, he’d been shaved by a male nurse from Tonga, was sat virtually upright in his chair, eyes conspicuously flickering with life. The overall transformation was quite extraordinary: the guy sat in the chair looked remarkably like my dad!

“Well,” he said, “I was worried you might try and kiss me again.” Our inter-family affections aren’t exactly legendary. “And it was beginning to feel a bit like two hedgehogs mating.”

As well as the obvious visual improvement [the left side of his face had lifted, too – now able to drink without that post-dental work backwash we’re all familiar with], there was notably more movement in his leg and there was even a little movement in his arm. When I think back to how he was just three days ago. Extraordinary.

He’s also warming with increasing enthusiasm to the idea of this document. [Another reason to shave?! Make himself presentable to the world. I’m ready for my close-up?! : )] “I could be famous. It might become a book or play, or something. I noticed there are signs to a theatre just down the way.” Uh, it’s not that kind of theatre dad. ‘He knows that,” my step-mother quickly replied. I knew that. He knew that. He was even sharp enough to share a joke at her expense. We laughed again.

I asked Jo on the way out if we were in danger of getting ahead of ourselves here? She said the signs are hugely encouraging, and at this rate the preface of ‘months’ to recover may well begin to pull back to a greater emphasis on ‘weeks’, but it doesn’t diminish the size of the stroke. There’s still a long way to go yet. And more than a little leg room for the less positive aspects of my dad’s personality to re-emerge.

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