More and more as time goes on I wonder just how disabled Don was for how long. Little things catch my mind.
I happily throw my dirty clothes in the laundry basket, and suddenly realise that could have never happened before because don would either get pissed off that i thought his clothes were dirty, or confuse it with throwing the clothes out, or – well … just get po’ed and sulking and unpredictable in ways I always danced on hot coals to avoid, because one never knew where that anger born of confusion would go. “You think I’m stupid. You took my driver’s license.”
What a flash back, from the simple act of carelessly tossing dirty clothes in a laundry basket. My stomach and my head start to ache.
This is some kind of weird PTSD I suspect from the ongoing trauma of walking on eggshells for years and years. All the stuff that never shows up on that stupid mini mental test….
Now i have a safe place to explore that a little, but i sure don’t want to get sucked down into it in detail, because now is about now, not then.
But i do think i need to see, identify and label the echoes, perhaps learn to sing or drum them out of my day to day life? I am serious about the sense of being a trauma-survivor.
A couple of weeks after I wrote that, I get up fine one morning and, out of nowhere, am overcome by memories. One holiday evening a few years ago, I fell and cut my hand, rather deeply and badly. As I tried to wrap towels around the cut, and realizing i could not drive, and a cabbie would not want me bleeding in the car, I said to Don, who was dancing around in panic, “Call 911.”
“I don’t know H-O-W,” he wailed, wringing his hands. I got to the phone, and as I explained to the operator, I realised Don could never have expressed what had happened anyway. The ambulance came and the paramedics, of course, were wonderful. They took Don in the front and we went off to Emerg. The intern was a bit gleeful about the chance to probe and stitch, which was very painful. But she positioned herself so Don could not see, and he sat in a chair beside the bed, quietly weeping. (It turned out that it was a very lucky cut, missing an artery by about a centimetre.)
It was just around that time, that the Home and Community Care people came to make an assessment of what help we needed. I felt strongly that it was unsafe to leave Don alone, but they seemed skeptical. They asked, “If there was a fire, what would you do?”
Don thought awhile and replied, brightly, “Do they still have 911?”