Friday, May 18, 2012


Me (with a sad sigh): I don't know what's happened.  There was a day, not so long ago, when I had a routine.  I did laundry everyday and put it away before it got wrinkled.  Your sock, t-shirt and underwear drawers were neat and organized.

Him: Is this some kind of weird woman thing where your self esteem is tied to MY underwear drawer?

Me: Well, when you put it THAT way it sounds kind of silly, but yes.

Him: Well, put your energy into something else.  I am perfectly content to have MY underwear drawer in chaos.

Me: Blank look of shock.

It IS his underwear drawer.  Even after 37 years of marriage, it's still HIS underwear drawer.  My value as a person really shouldn't be based on whether or not his jocks are folded.  Should it?  His mother IRONED not only boxers but briefs.  But I'm not his mother.  I'm his partner.

I've known him since I was 15 years old.  But lately I've noticed that he's changing rapidly.  In fact, I think he's aging quite well.  When I listen to what he is saying, I'm always amazed.  The last 60 years of experience is suddenly coalescing into brilliance and wisdom.

For our 15th wedding anniversary, we took a bunch of couples out to a park that was formerly owned by a married couple who were famous for, among other things, their happiness together.  We had everyone make plaster masks of each other and then we sat in a circle and talked about the masks we put on those to whom we are closest.  It is a sort of short hand caricature of who that person is, or was the last time we looked.  For a relationship to grow, we each have to be willing to release our partner from the stiff, plaster masks we create for them, and see them for who they are this minute.  Then we took of each other's masks and promised to see the real beloved.

Lately, he's busting out of his white plaster cast in strength and beauty.  I really like him in living color!  I was giddy in love with him long ago.  I'm not so giddy now.  I love him with a more, um, dignified passion.  But I think I love him a lot more today than I did on our wedding day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


It's the decisions that haunt me.  After 4 months (or 30 years) of holding Sam's life in the palm of my hand, I'm worn out.  Today is the third day in a row that he didn't need oxygen during the day.  Progress or blip?  Ask me tomorrow.

Today I can't make up my mind about anything.  Brush my teeth, get dressed, take pills, make tea?  What should I do first?  Every decision seems like a life and death decision and I'm tired of making life and death decisions.  Sam woke up and then I knew what to do, feed him, give him meds, dress him, change him, give him treatments, entertain him.

But I when I went to the kitchen to get another Ensure, I found myself doubled over and crying.  Whenever I wasn't needed to take care of Sam today, I'd put on Sesame Street and go to the bedroom and cry.  I still couldn't decide anything.  So by the time Charley came home I was wearing underwear, a tee-shirt and pajama bottoms.  I had made tea, but had only eaten stuff around the house that didn't need cooking.  (string cheese, cuties, tea and cookies)

I turned Sam over to him and went back to bed for more sobbing.

I often fall apart once the crisis is over.  Maybe that's what this is.  How do I tell?  Charley suggested I go for a walk, but that means deciding where I want to go.  I can't deal with that either.  I went to the basement and found a pair of pants.

"Clinical depression or recovery?" Charley asks when I come upstairs.  I don't know the answer.  "Go outside," he commands.

It feels better outside in the sunshine.  It really does.  I see neighbors, I see green.  The sun is setting in my eyes.  I form a plan.  I will go someplace, drink tea and knit.  I pass several restaurants because it doesn't feel like I've walked far enough.

A new nail salon has opened up since the last time I left the house.  15% off Grand Opening Special.  Ok.  Manicure and pedicure.  Still a lot of decisions, but I make them without too much difficulty.
Round or square?
Toe nails bare or colored?

I make the decisions.  I sit in the chair and it massages my back.  The man cleans my feet, and massages my legs.  I go for bare toenails.  I knit while he works on my feet.  It gets easier.

Then I went into Mr. Gee's for a salad.  More tough decisions.  With chicken or plain?  For here or to go?  The place is filled with police officers.  This is reassuring.  Probably no one will die if I make the wrong choice - that's what police are for, right?  Large Greek Salad WITH chicken to go.  AND an iced tea.  Large.  Heh.  I can do this.

A day of sobbing, and an hour outside with a manicure and some progress on my knitting.  I make a decision: This is Recovery.  I need to collapse for a bit before I can go on.  But I will go on.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Confidence Booster

I was a bit alarmed when they sent us home from the hospital after only 8 days.  They were talking about 3 weeks.  But they said that I can do the same or better for him at home.  Are they right????

Well, I can "check his vitals" just like they can.  No big deal.  I know better than they do what normal for him is.  I can give him meds and oxygen just like they can now that he's off IV antibiotics.  I can feed him.  The biggest difference is: I'm one, they are many.  

And the hospital bed.  That thing requires a college level course in mechanics to operate, but it's way cool.  It can go into just about any possible position.  It's better than a carnival ride!  And it puts Sam in the perfect position for CPT (Chest Physical Therapy).  He needs to be in the right position so that gravity helps his weak muscles get the stuff out.  And you can raise it or lower it to save the Respiratory Therapist's back.  Cool.  

At home, we have an Ikea bed.  VERY low to the floor so Sam can get in and out without falling.  (Hospital bed also has crib rails)  But this morning, I discovered that all you really need for proper drainage is a portable DVD player.  You put Curious George on the floor, press play and Sam scampers over to the edge of the bed, hangs his head over and thrusts his butt in the air and voila! he's in the perfect position for postural drainage.  I pull up a chair and start whacking him on the back.  He giggles.  

Maybe we are better off at home.  I can sleep without fear that six doctors in white coats will hear me snore and watch me drool.  That's gotta be good.