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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Lifesaver

Many moons ago, I wrote a blog post about running into Gerry, a wonderful woman who had been my manager and rock some twenty years before. After not seeing one another for all of those years, we were stunned to see each other in the entrance to the grocery store near my home. Since then, I've had another random meeting with Gerry, more unusual than the first. I saw Gerry in, of all places, a hospital waiting room. She looked well but worried, as many folks do when waiting for someone in a hospital. She shared the story of how she ended up there with me, and now I'm sharing this amazing story with you.

Although Gerry and I are close to the same age, she has been a widow for a number of years. She has been happily living with her daughter and her daughter's husband and her two grandchildren for some time. A few recent posts showed the latest addition to the family, an adorable little puppy. As puppies do, it loves the whole family, especially Gerry, and they all love her as well. Unfortunately, Gerry discovered that she was allergic to the sweet new family member. 

Gerry's family are very loving and close, a true blessing. One of her sisters asked her to move in with her, and Gerry was happy to do so. She settled in to her new room and proudly hung the portrait her sister painted of her late husband. One evening while they were sitting and watching television, Gerry noticed that her sister was watching the program with one eye closed. When she asked her why, her sister reminded her that she had told her over the phone recently that she had been seeing double.

Gerry was shocked because she hadn't realized that her sister meant that she was seeing double all of the time. Gerry had thought it was some occasional annoyance with her sister's vision, but that wasn't the case. (I don't remember her sister's name, so I am going to call her Gloria.) Gloria had been doing everything with one eye closed for who knows how long. She was driving, running errands, and all sorts of other things with one eye closed to prevent seeing two of everything.

Well, Gerry insisted that Gloria should make an appointment with an eye doctor as soon as possible. The eye doctor didn't find anything wrong, but Gerry wouldn't let Gloria drop the ball on the issue. After a few different doctor visits, it was discovered that there was a tumor in Gloria's head. It sat just above the area where the cerebrospinal fluid drains from the cranium into the spine. The tumor was just starting to block the drainage, and she needed to have surgery to prevent hydrocephalus. This is often called water on the brain. When the fluid can't drain, it puts pressure on the brain and can be fatal.

Gloria was in surgery to have a shunt placed to allow the fluid to drain to another part of her body and protect her brain from damaging pressure. After that issue is resolved, the tumor will be assessed to see what action, if any, is necessary. The fluid that was causing Gloria's double vision will now be draining and I hope that her vision will return to normal. 

Both Gerry and I were thinking the same thing when she told me this story. The life-saving discoveries and treatments for Gloria came about in such an amazing way. Gerry might not have seen the problems her sister was having as quickly if she hadn't been spending as much time with her. She wouldn't have had the chance if she hadn't moved into her home. And none of it would have happened if it hadn't been for her allergy to an adorable little dog, a dog that I now think of as a tiny, loveable life saver.






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