I watched the small strokes cascade through my father, robbing him in small nibbles of speech, of control over his mouth, of the strength of his grip. I watched the horror and fear grow in his eyes, as I sat in the hospital room with him, while my mother talked with the doctor in the hall. Dad had gone off Coumadin recently, thanks to uncontrolled hematomas, but now the little machine of his artificial heart valve was throwing out clots, and each one was causing tiny strokes in his brain. They could do nothing to stop this, without causing massive bleeding. He was unable to tell us anything clearly from that point on, but during the weeks he lingered, when he was lucid, his eyes raged at us.
In my list of fearful ways to leave this world, having your abilities stripped away by strokes sits near the top.