What Would You Do If You Could No Longer Play The Guitar?
I told my boyfriend about a friend of my brother’s I recently met who had had a stroke. He was only around 60 years old. He was having heart surgery when the stroke happened on the operating table. He seemed fine physically, but said he has trouble with his left hand not always working proplerly. I could relate to this because 20 years after my stroke, my hand is nearly useless.
I commented that it didn’t look so bad as he was using a fork and knife to cut his food at lunch. He said, “Yeah, well I used to play the guitar.” I felt the enormity of his loss. I used to play the piano and the flute.
I don’t like to compare bedpans by showing off the enormous loss of function I suffered following my stroke 20 years ago. Instead, I felt empathy for Ed who could no longer play the guitar. But, Ed still had normal mobility and could walk just fine.
My brother later told me he was glad Ed saw what kind of difficulties I have in simply getting around in addition to the near total loss of the use of my hand. He hoped he would be more grateful for coming through such a serious medical crisis with minimal permanent damage.
When I told Rex how I felt about Ed losing his ability to play guitar, he could relate to the magnitude of this loss because he has been playing the guitar for 46 years. He said he might consider suicide if he could no longer play. He understood how I felt listening to a man who had what seemed like a minor deficit even if I did relate to the loss.
I used to walk, hike, ski, ride a bike, dance, walk on the beach, and knit. That is a short list of the thousands of things I can no longer do. I never considered suicide, but have battled depression about these things in the past 20 years. I have done so by mostly remaining grateful for all the things I can do.
Thank you for reading :)