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During the 5 weeks between onset and diagnosis, Jef fell a handful of times. The funny thing is, I have never seen him fall. I know this is God’s way of helping me to keep seeing him as my knight in shining armor.
The first time he fell, we were leaving a restaurant. This was the only time he fell outside of our home. Like many restaurants, this one had a curb to step off of to get to the parking lot. Normally I let Jef lead. This day I was in front of Jef. I remember listening for his keys to jangle, and when they didn’t I turned my head to see what he was doing — but he wasn’t there! He was a few steps back, on his hands and knees, on the ground.
A couple gentlemen were on their way into the restaurant and one stopped to help me help Jef up. Being right-handed, his natural reaction was to push up with his right leg, but he could tell there was no strength in it. He switched legs and we were able to get him back on his feet. The other times he’s fallen have been in our home: twice at the bottom of the stairs and once on the landing. Once I was there to help him up, once our youngest son was there to help him up, and once he had to use a chair get up on his own because we were all upstairs.
Those few times he fell really took a toll on his right knee (the knee that hit the floor first). For weeks he was in pain — only later did we realize the fact that he was feeling pain was a good thing. We now know that this whole illness was probably coming on as much as 7 months prior to that first fall. His knees were feeling better and he could walk without pain. He wasn’t getting heartburn nearly as much, either. We now know he was losing feeling inside his body very slowly.
Thankfully, he’s not fallen anymore, although when he gets tired and weak I keep a close eye on him. I’ve convinced him to keep his cell phone on him at all times, just in case. We are going through this together. Our future has changed a bit, but at least we will still spend it “as one.”