Sunday, November 21, 2004

Tears of joy

When she hit the first chords today, the whole audience burst into tears, except Grace and Zak.

We had wheeled her in to the living room to a smatter of applause, straight over to the piano as instructed by Leda. The expectation was that she might symbolically hit middle C with one wobbly finger to inaugurate the musical rehabilitation that the family hoped for, a hope that her doctors clearly regarded as totally unrealistic. The chords assembled themselves into "Autumn leaves", played without a bum note apart from a short bass discord contributed by Grace.

This was further miracle in a succession of miracles (or coincidences or unusual or significant events depending on your point of view). For instance:
- the subarachnoid haemorrhage hit her not when she was alone in her cottage by the river, but just as Leda was on her way to visit.
- she recovered after arriving in A&E with a GCS 1 (10 being normal and 0 being dead)
- she did not rebleed in the stormy difficult days of waiting for the technological miracle of the neurosurgeons at Kings who inserted a bit of Brillo pad into the abnormal blob of artery to prevent a rebleed,
- a series of recoveries from various hospital acquired infections that had her and us peering over the edge of the abyss from time to time
- but which we did not fear because of the series of dreams, daydreams and visions which gave us a straw to choose to cling to
- the second technological miracle of the shunt put in to relieve pressure on the brain ("It may prevent her getting worse, but please do not expect it to get any better", said the surgeon before she went down for the operation),
- and the crowning miracle of Virginia waking up the day after the operation like Alvar Nunez Cabeza da Vacca's first Native American rising from the dead, saying "When do we eat?".

All that and now this. No wonder we wept - except Zac and Grace, who being under three feet in height, were slightly embarrassed, having assumed that tears were the sole prerogative of little people.

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