I Believe in My Wife’s Brain

Gabriel - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Entered on January 26, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: illness, love
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My wife’s brain is perfect, and not a lot of husbands can legitimately make that claim about their wives’ brains, or would.

I have seen MRIs, functional MRIs and scans of my wife’s brain. I have seen it on shiny films lit up in brilliant colors, and I have seen it from all angles. I have seen it when it was immensely flawed, with an Arteriovenous Malformation, a tangle of arteries and veins forming an ominous, dark mess by her frontal lobe, and I have seen it perfect and pristine, after the AVM’s removal.

My wife’s brain is perfect, and I believe in it.

We had been dating for six months or so when she was diagnosed with her AVM. She had been suffering from mysterious tongue seizures since she was in high school, but she never told anybody about them. She would feel them about to come on, skitter off somewhere private while her tongue fluttered and flopped around like a fish out of water, compose herself, and return to her regularly scheduled programming. It must have been quite a way to live. She professed not to know these seizures were a sign of something serious, but I think my wife knew her brain was not perfect.

She’s pretty smart, after all.

On June 22nd, 2004, a neurovascular surgeon and his team at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital cut my sweetheart’s head open, “like a baked potato,” she’d joke later, and poked and cut and snipped around in there for nine hours. I didn’t know what was going to happen to the brain that loved me. Would it still send those neurons warm and shmoopy thoughts about me when she woke up? Would she wake up? I could think it.

When we came in to see her after the surgery was done, she had very limited movement on her left side. When she saw me, the left side of her mouth curled down while the right side came up. I sat on the side of her bed and she slumped herself around me to give me a hug.

Her brain told her trunk and her arm to embrace me. Her very swollen, very battered, but now finally very perfect brain. After all the digging around in there, after all the MRIs, after all the M.D.s who thumbed around inside her skull, I believe my wife’s brain is perfect.

As we young marrieds prepare to close on a house this week, as we take our new, timid steps into the world of adulthood and serious, scary things, I’m comforted in the knowledge that we’ve already faced more serious, scary things than most couples twice our age. I’m comforted by my belief in our love, and my wife’s perfect, beautiful brain.