Monday, May 29, 2006

Intimations of Mortality

Farook came by and picked me up today. He'd said it was about a computer problem, but, as usual, that was only a small part of the package.

First, he had to visit a friend who is in Rashid Hospital. The friend is about 10 years younger than I am, but he just had a massive stroke. He'd been fine one morning, and lying motionless in hospital that night.

The health care provided in the UAE is excellent (as best I can tell, not being a health care professional). All the latest medical technology was attached to the stroke victim, a Mr. Ibrahim. They were using a breathing machine which was hooked up to an analyzer on the left side of the bed recording three different things about his breathing (none of which I understood). On the right side of the bed, an ECG (or EKG) monitor showed his heartbeat and blood pressure. His wife and brother stood beside his bed.

Farook appropriated Mr. Ibrahim's medical chart and asked me to interpret (I have no idea why he thought I could read a medical chart). He asked me about the prognosis.

Farook had a mild stroke about a year and a half ago that left him unable to balance, and hence unable to stand or walk. After about six weeks, he recovered enough that he could get about with a cane. Seeing his progress, I promised Farook a full recovery, and, after 18 months, Farook is back to normal (for Farook). But Farook had a mild stroke, while poor Ibrahim had a massive one.

The stroke was several days ago, and Mr. Ibrahim hasn't moved since, he just lies there as the machines help him breath.

All I could tell Farook was that I have seen a few stroke victims like Mr. Ibrahim, and none of them fully recovered: they lived (some for a short time, some for 40 years) with permanent speech and mobility impairments.

And, as I stood there, I just kept thinking, 'And I'm ten years older than Mr. Ibrahim is.'


Blogger adevents said...

dont count on he age, belive me ihave been through this

12:39 pm  

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