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I am feeling quite a bit better today, although hardly tip-top. Two days ago I felt so weak that the idea of taking a shower was almost overwhelming. It amazed me how quickly a big strong person like me could suddenly be so weak. I suspect that the same thing happened to Michael, as he lay in his hospital bed, so weak that he could not cough. Did he realize it was weakness? Did he know he had no muscles left? Did he know that the bacteria had invaded his big body, so used to being able to move mountains, and made it so he could not lift his arms?

I wonder because I am not really sure. He resisted the physical therapists who tried to get him to work what he had left - until near the end, when he almost desperately asked for them, when it was too late. He asked me to slip him a drink of water, knowing it was against doctor's orders, because he was uncomfortable. I don't think he thought there could be serious complications. There almost were. He told his daughters that he would fight this, that he would survive - but he really wasn't used to fighting! That was all an illusion. When he previously got medicines to help counteract the effects of his kidney failure and low red blood cell count he took credit for what they did. He did nothing himself to help his condition, but only made it worse.

And yet he ended up in that bed so weak, so very weak, that his cheeks were caved in, he couldn't lift his head, it was hard to write anything and he certainly couldn't talk. It's terrible to feel so weak. I think of those who feel this weak day after day, for whom getting up and getting dressed is so huge an effort that it hardly seems worthwhile. Most of the rest of us really don't comprehend it, how it feels.


Judith Lautner
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January 2012


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