Tag Archives: quadriplegic

The Circle Tightens

For twenty-two years my father had a wonderful girlfriend. Her name is Brynn.

She got the nickname Brynnie from my boys when they were toddlers.

She was an RN and worked both in a hospital and in a private practice.

When I cut myself on an old tin can she brought home a tetanus shot. This was years ago and the syringe was in a metal case. She gave me the shot in my left arm and said it wouldn’t hurt now. After she gave me the shot she said that it WILL hurt now.

She was a tall, graceful woman. Shopping for a sleep shirt for her one Christmas my oldest boy, about six at the time, told the salesperson helping us that, “Brynnie is a BIG woman.”

She was as kind a person as you could ever meet. She was generous. She loved animals.

She had Huntington’s Disease. It ended up making her quit working, as the spastic movements of her arms and legs made it difficult to do her job.

And then, one Sunday night, she fell out of bed. She couldn’t move her head so an ambulance was called to take her to the hospital.

Her regular neurosurgeon was on vacation. The neurosurgeon on call was incompetent. You could see her spine making a large lump on the left side of her neck. She lay in the hospital bed, screaming in pain each time she was moved, for a week. The doctor told us every day that nothing was wrong.

Her neurosurgeon came back on Friday, walked into her hospital room and said, “Oh my God, her neck is broken!” By then her arms and legs were paralyzed.

She underwent surgery to fix her broken neck and she regained some movement in her arms.

Yes, lawsuits were filed. And won.

When she was able to be kept at home my sister and I helped Dad take care of her. I would come every night after work and on the weekends while my sister took the weekdays.

She loved apples but they became a choking hazard as she could not chew well. I cooked them with some butter and brown sugar so they were caramelized and tender for her.

The other day I was trying to enjoy some apples myself but was finding it hard to chew them. I have dentures. A Facebook post reminded me of cooking them as I had for our Brynnie.

So I cooked them and enjoyed them and felt like crying. I was remembering Brynnie and thinking of my own spot in my life.

The circle tightens. That circle of life we all go through. The feeling that you are nearer the end than the beginning.

I try to find the good in all things so I will believe that my recent thoughts of Brynnie are a good thing. She was such a wonderful person who approached everything she was dealt with grace and bravery. If I could strive to be like her in all things then I would be happy knowing that the influence she had on me was a great one. Her memory lives on, I should do things that ensure that mine will do the same.

We love you, Brynnie.