Just over five years ago, my husband suffered an autoimmune attack on his nerve system. It was sort of like Guillain-Barré, but not exactly. It may have been a mix of a paraneoplastic syndrome (the body running amok due to cancer) and a case of MADSAM (aka Lewis Sumner syndrome), which damages peripheral nerves, though usually over a longer time frame. Whatever the origin, he was in horrific, world-shattering pain, and he quickly suffered wide-ranging paralysis.
The first morning after his nerves came under attack, his left hand was immobilized. He told the neurologist, “I guess I can write off guitar-playing.” The neurologist made noises in Austrian-German that I didn’t fully understand but clearly promised a full recovery. That didn’t happen. In November 2007, my sweetheart underwent surgery to re-route a tendon to restore some mobility to his left hand. The initial gains were limited. He took his guitar out once or twice, then packed it away again.
Tonight he is playing his guitar. Before all the trauma, he was a gifted classical guitarist, good enough to teach lessons. He is still gifted. And his fingers are now slowly catching up to his gifts – haltingly, sometimes frustratingly – but so beautifully I can only tear up and wallow in gratitude.
I want to hear this music for the rest of my life.