Bow / Wellcome Images

Bow / Wellcome Images

Outside the rehab hospital, if I bump into another stroke patient I know, I say hello. Naturally. Trickier etiquette is how to comport yourself when you see a stroke stranger. I have an urge to run up to them: “I’m with you!” “I know your pain!” “Keep fighting!” which I squelch.

I once sat across from a stroke stranger on the Boston T (subway). He was older, had a cane as well as the hand that didn’t work. I could tell that he had noticed me. Suddenly, at the top of his lungs he yelled, “She has the same problem that I have!”

Passengers in the car turned to look at him, and then at me, curiously. Oh dear. I made a beatific smiled, but remained silent.

More unlucky than I.

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3 Responses to “Etiquette”

  1. Emma Glover writes:

    classic story! Love it!!!

  2. GZ writes:

    I was going in for an evaluation. How much have I progressed in the last year sort of thing. I met a former stock fund manager in the waiting room. Hit and Run. Van vs Bicycle.

    It had happened very recently and he was a wreck. Mentally and physically. He described his former mind. Didn’t mention his body (when you lose so much of your mind and can feel it gone, do you even care about your body?) he just knew he was missing things and he knew there were things he could no longer do.

    It was where I was some 24 to 30 months earlier. I tried to explain that this was the worst point, things would get better. He couldn’t hear, he was still so deep in his loss. Trapped in his own internal panic.

    He got called back. I offered the receptionist a card with my info if he needed to talk to someone.

    I never heard from him. I hope he bounced back. I hope he got back some of what he was.

  3. chris writes:

    I always smile at a person when I notice they have had a stroke. They probably think I’m an asshat, because not one has smiled back.

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