Once again I find myself powerless to move my toes. The motor paralysis is moving up my legs, and I am left alone to ponder the mortal thoughts of my condition. I have battled this beast twice before, each time returning home with the wounds that either heal or settle in for life, taking away strength, balance and sensation little by little.
How do you fight such a demon? It seems to stalk in the shadows, waiting for me to graduate from my crutches to my cane, and striking just as I put the cane aside.
Science may in the end triumph with a diagnosis for me, but for now it has failed. The healing of my faith may come full, and complete in in my body, but for now I am no more than a broken vessel. I am slowly being pressed to understand the condition of death that we all face in this fallen world, and I do not like its taste or aroma.
The concept of death to me has been a simple equation of alive or dead, on or off, black or white, but perhaps it is much more complex than that. I have noticed that each time I experience physical loss, I must go through the same process of mourning, grief, anger, and acceptance. These each seem like small steps towards death to me, and are perhaps their own kind of death.
My first brush with real death was in the form of a living will. I remember the sinking feeling as the doctors asked if I had considered what measures they should take in trying to save me if I lapsed into a coma. Me…a coma…what measures? No, I’m sorry, this was not happening! I had just arrived in the emergency room a day ago, and except for the fact that I could not move my legs, I felt great. But reality set in with the knowledge that the paralysis, moving ever upward in my body could take my life, and even if it did not, it would would certainly take a portion of me.