My sister, Cathy, had three neck surgeries during the summer of 2019. After the first surgery, she had numbness in her left leg and hands. It was hoped that swelling from surgery was the culprit and recovery would restore her mobility and dexterity. Unfortunately, no reason has yet to be identified. A stroke was ruled out even though her symptoms presented like a stroke.

After four weeks in the hospital’s rehab department, she was discharged with a walker to help mobilize her compromised body. Her leg remained uncooperative and her left hand was useless. Her thumb and first two fingers worked on her right hand.

It is soul-crushingly sad to watch my sister move about this way. When we go to lunch, to the pool, or to visit our mother, I stash her walker and stand by for support as she climbs in and out of the car or the pool. It is still very hard to accept that she was dependent in this and so many ways.

It has been 18 months since she has driven a car, run errands, or drive through Starbucks. It is a vivid reminder to me of the preciousness and priority that we should dedicate to good health. She carries hope in her heart for a cure or a minor correction. Surely there is some medical expert who can untangle her mystery! I’m unsure if I could be as hopeful. Fortunately, she inherited our late father’s eternal optimism. Being more pragmatic, mother and I would raise our eyebrows in question and doubt.

I’m unsure which approach is best, but I suppose that without hope, there is no purpose or happiness. Today, I will appreciate my mobility, independence, and health because it can be taken away in a heartbeat. In the absence of mobility, I hope my sister never loses hope.

“He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery!” —Ann Frank