Thursday, 28 January 2010

Stroke Signals

Immobilized, she tries to move her arms, her legs, her toes. But the messages sent from the synapses in her brain to her body are jumbled; somewhere the current is broken. Her eyes, at least, retain their motion, and flash around the kitchen in search of a phone, or a stool to pull herself up with. In the prismatic claws of paralysis, however, such an object’s functionality would be rendered useless, an ironic taunt to her physical state. Air hisses out though her clenched teeth and though she attempts to call for help, her words transpose into the nonsensical vowel sounds of a baby and are not her own.

Matthew’s words pierce through her ensuing panic. Living alone is not a viable option for someone of her age now. There are risks that became dangers if ignored. True to her stubborn nature, she dismissed the idea without due consideration. “People go into those places to wait to die.” She had told him, “I’m sorry darling but I wont do that to myself. You don’t have to worry about me. I’m fit as a fiddle.” Now, with the curse of hindsight, it seems age is the only battle she was doomed to lose.

Her thoughts whirl as if caught in a maelstrom. She had had no chest pains, no tingling down her arms. But if not a heart attack, what else? An explosion in her brain, like a firecracker lighting the sky, was her only indicator, and in the grips of panic she couldn’t decipher its meaning. Skimbleshanks, her gargantuan ginger cat strutted into the kitchen and jumped on to the worktop. Her eyes follow his movements as the cat sniffs at the jug of milk and then bats it with a fat paw. A waterfall of white gushes over the counter drips on her face with metronomic rhythm. She closes her eyes and in her mind she began to scream.

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