It all started in September, when my husband’s descending colon burst, leaving him septic and with two feet of gangrenous gut. Last rites and all. Six weeks in the ICU. He has just finished two of the four surgeries planned for this year. I can tell you, being a 24/7 caretaker is hard on everyone, caretaker and patient alike. I watched my parents die and even I can see that there is no good end to this.
I retired this year and went for being a real hotshot, important decision making person to being just me. And me by myself? I can’t fix anything, much less abscesses, bedsores on hips or just your regular run-of-the-mill kind of despair when you realize that life as you knew it is over. I can manage our business holdings and buy low and sell high (which is my only talent in life). I only know a few things and real estate is one of them. I can invest money and put myself on a budget that in the short term makes me SO MAD but in the long run, is smart and will make life enjoyable. I just have a little trouble with delayed gratification. I can do it, but I resent it like hell.
I’m making plans for the life I will have when my husband dies, which he will. I’m the one who talks to the surgeons. I’m the one who knows the ends and outs of what is going on and despite my best Betty Crocker of 1971 skills, am watching him not only waste away, but am watching him becoming increasing incoherent. The good thing about all of this is that he won’t live forever like this. The bad thing is that he won’t live forever like this.
His next two surgeries are at a hospital I like. The food in the cafeteria is great. It is close to a bookstore. There is both a Ulta AND a Sephora close by. It would be perfect if I could find a night time knitting group at a nearby store….or even a ravelry group that would fit in with my rather lonely schedule.
I adore his doctor, who is only a body mechanic, not a god. Mike may possibly live several years like this….right now, at 6’1″, he weighs almost 150 pounds. Before he got sick, he was as strong as an ox and weighed 230. Now, it is all he can do to take Rocket, my 2 pound Maltese for a walk around the block. Literally. And it’s not even really an entire block. We cut thru the alley, go thru the parking lot and then walk four buildings back to our front door. He isn’t steady enough on his feet to go alone, so I go with him. I know how Nancy Reagan felt.
The good thing is that I’ve found a no-leash dog park a couple of miles away, so I can get up early, go our for an hour and watch the dogs hurl themselves as possessed an the acre of fenced off grass. We are so early, there are no other dogs, which is just fine by me. I take whatever book I’m reading and just wait for them to come running back, tongues lolling to let me know it is time for their naps. It is a good break for me and good for them, too.
During the day, when Mike is resting, I’m working on sewing. I love to sew. There is an beginning, a middle, an end and a perfect product (at least the way I tackle projects!) It is the one thing I am more than proficient at and believe me, at this juncture of life, I need all the proficiency I can find.
So despite the fact that it is the middle of the night, I’m at the end of gutting my sewing room (I need room for some business stuff, which is being delivered tomorrow). I’m moving the furniture in the bedroom so Mike will be more comfortable (read: the dogs will be out of his way). I have a list (call me Martha Stewart without a staff).
And I don’t have a headache.