Tuesday, September 16, 2014


August 23, 2014

I am mad again.  Enraged actually.  Thankfully not at him any longer, but for him.  I am mad at random strangers who walk about in silly shorts, their bellies hanging over their former belt line.  They walk about casually, wherever they want, whenever they want.  No thought of trying to remember who they are, just casually strutting about, enjoying the sunshine and warmth of beautiful summer days.  Their spouses trot along in their own silly shorts, unaware of how precious those moments are.  My old guy has long since lost the beer gut, and in fact weighs less than he did as a beanpole 9th grader.  He struggles to not lean too heavily on his pressure sores and awaits the next intrusive activity, strangers who will wash him, clean his butt, feed him.  He tries to sleep through the waiting, the long leaving, and mostly accomplishes that little bit anyway.  I choke on the sadness when I am with him.  He holds my hand in a Parkinsonian death grip and I struggle with fearing there is a shred of awareness in him of his condition.  The home is bright and clean.  It smells good and the women who care for him are wonderful and personable.  The other patients are a Saturday Night act waiting to be written.  Ken keeps a loud and steady drum beat and horn part going on the table and with his mouth.  Lorraine cries and keens steadily as she wheels her chair around the place, clutching her dolly to her bosom.  June discusses literature with you and then asks for help finding her own room.  Byron keeps a loving banter going, consumed with getting enough milk at mealtimes and inviting all females back to his room and to his bed.  All characters in this tableau and all quite interesting and kind.  The Salvation Army comes every week to preach and to conduct sing-a-longs.  The staff organizes activities every day, like baking and constructing bird houses, bingo, exercises.  There is a stress on sweet treats--sundaes, shakes, ice cream cones, cookies, cakes--and on being together socially for all these occasions.  He is wheeled into and amidst all these affairs, sitting stooped over, drooling incessantly as his swallow reflexes leave him as well.  It is such a strange feeling to enjoy life and family and friends and activities with this subterranean river of grief roiling constantly in my gut, just below the surface.  I want peace for him and for me.  I am not proud of my resentment as I observe other pairs in the blissful ignorance of their own health.  None of this is fair.

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