I am unable to tell you the details of the entire story that I might share. However, my wife, Melanie, tells me that when we arrived at home after four months of being in hospitals and rehab, that I was like a new baby in a full-grown body. Apparently, I was full of wonder in the discovery of who I am in the world and in my precious family.
As I have come to understand some of what happened, I have learned that I was faced with a little-known autoimmune disease that beset my brain and central nervous system. Evidently, “only ONE person in 10 Million” experiences this particular malady. That ONE person is ME.
On August 19, 2016, I was “not myself” — growing increasingly incoherent with garbled speech, until Melanie raced me to the hospital where I was taken directly to the Emergency Room.
However, notwithstanding my substantial memory losses, I do vividly recollect an hour-long, in-depth conversation that I shared. It took place some time later, when I was recuperating for several weeks at a local rehab hospital.
I and a fellow patient (I’ll name him “Sam” for now!) found ourselves talking about why each of us was here and about why I myself was abiding for weeks in a rehabilitation hospital.
Upon hearing that “1-in-10-Million” statistic, Sam asked if I had ever wondered ‘Why Me?’. “Humm, Why Me?” I answered, “No, that notion has never occurred to me”.
Sam then remarked, “PenDell, I see your beautiful, loving wife staying with you here in the Rehab Hospital, day in and day out; and your grown children calling regularly. You have many friends who come and visit you here, as well as people sending you cards, donating in your honor.
After a moment’s poignant silence, Sam lamented, “I wish I had that much love around me. Fact is, I just don’t know — nor do You, my friend — what day will be the last … for anybody …”
For a fleeting moment, I thought,”My brain might be in scary, uncharted territory, health-wise”. Then, upon releasing that conundrum and taking a long, deep breath, I became quietly aware in the moment (as if being imbued with a higher knowing) of a new mission & purpose for me now.
“Sam, my friend,” I replied, “What I do know is that I am here and I have a story to tell! I will do all that I can for others to uplift, to inspire, and to make as much of the life that is mine to live now. So, Indeed — Why NOT Me?”
What any one of us can do, in fact, is to stay steady when facing life-changing circumstances. And, while doing so, we discover an ocean of blessings flowing in.
I was, and continue to be, so deeply grateful for each and every one; my faith in Mankind (and Womankind) continues to grow greatly — Again & again, with each glorious day granted.