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But Charlie's heartache didn't last very long. On the eighth day, Chuck unexpectedly reached out and took Charlie's hand as she stood beside his bed. It was the first unprompted physical contact he had given anyone, and the fact that he had chosen her, made tears come to Charlie's eyes. From that moment on, if Charlie was in the hospital room, Chuck wanted to hold her hand.
Legal Disclaimer: The characters and events depicted in this story are fictitious, and should not to be interpreted as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The author is not a medical doctor, and used omentum transposition as a plot element in "The Greatest of These" in a manner that may not necessarily be the case for most people with Alzheimer's Disease. Consult your doctor before making any decisions. See the links page to learn where you can get more information about omentum transposition.

By the end of the second week, Chuck was making indecipherable noises as if trying to speak. Nothing he said made sense to anyone, until Charlie walked into his room one day and he said as plain as anything, "Pumpkin." Adam spent the rest of that day drying Charlie's tears of joy, but as he did, he began to notice Chuck's awareness of his presence increasing.

Adam had thought Chuck had just accepted him as simply another of the complete strangers that filed in and out of his room to check his vitals and make sure he was comfortable. But the more Adam put his arms around Charlie, and touched her, and kissed her cheek to whisper something that only the two of them could hear, the more Chuck began to take notice of Adam. And the more Adam began to feel it.

After leaving the hospital for their hotel later that night, Adam confided to Charlie. "I'm not sure your father likes me."

"That's ridiculous!" she laughed. "He doesn't even know you're there!"

It was only a feeling, and nothing that Adam could outright prove, so he dropped the subject. After all, Charlie was probably right.

The next few days were followed with tiny victories, made all the more significant by the fact that no one with AD ever recovered.

Three weeks after the omentum transposition operation, Chuck boarded a sleek private jet for their flight back to California. He was still speaking sporadically, and even then, only some of what he said was intelligible. The effort always made him extremely tired, and since no one had been able to keep him from trying that morning, he quickly fell asleep once he was seated.

Charlie sat across from Chuck, carefully watching over him and making sure that he had everything he needed. She made certain that his seat belt was on properly, that he had something nearby to drink, when he woke up, and that a snack was ready in case he became hungry.

The sweater Vera was knitting had suddenly become Chuck's, and a smile rarely left her face for very long. Her son was coming home, and in a condition that Jerome had said was impossible. If only Arnold had been alive to see this!

Keeping to the background of the activity fluttering around Chuck, Adam let the women fuss over their patient as much as they wanted without getting in the way.

As Chuck continued to sleep, Charlie settled back in her seat to watch him. "I can't believe the progress he's already made," she sighed in amazement.

Adam reached across the arm rest of his seat and claimed the hand of the woman sitting beside him. "Chuck's victory is also yours," he smiled confidently.

"The surgery may not work as well for me as it has for Daddy," Charlie tried to caution him against too much hope.

"You have the same family history, and the same genes," reasoned Adam. "I'm no doctor, but if it's working this well for your father, then I think it will work for you. God is answering our prayers, Charlie-girl." Adam pressed his lips to their intertwined fingers and smiled at her lovingly.
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