Sometimes we ask the Universe “Why?” when calamity strikes. Personally, I don’t recall asking this when I had a stroke with no warning when I was 35 and pregnant. I spent three months in hospitals. The first 53 days were spent in an acute care hospital following brain surgery that saved my life. I lied in bed, paralyzed and pregnant, with a two year old son at home. I think the fact that I was cognitively affected contributed to the lack of questioning the Universe.

I remember moving to a rehab hospital to learn how to walk and take care of myself. There was a big sign at the entrance that read “Why me?” “If not you, then who?” If you don’t deserve to have a stroke or other life threatening event, who does? Some question why the most terrible things don’t always happen to people who molest children, for example. There is no easy answer. We are all players in a life scale lottery. We simply win some, we lose some. I didn’t feel I either deserved what happened to me or not. It just happened, and I had to deal with it. Asking “why me?” suggests it shouldn’t be you, but someone else.

When I graduated to outpatient therapy, I worked alongside people who had been through paralysis due to stroke. They were all considerably older. I remember one couple in particular that I became friendly with. One day I heard them comment to another patient, “Isn’t that a shame, such a beautiful, young girl!” I was never sure what being beautiful had to do with not being an appropriate candidate for becoming disabled, although I heard similar comments over many years from a lot of people. Being so young certainly made it a sadder story.

I think I always felt like I had drawn the short straw in the health lottery, never that anyone deserved it more than me.

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