Monthly Archives: August 2018

What just happened?

I have always had a suspicion that we were deeply in sync, with no words. Often Don would answer a question I was just thinking about to myself, and not out loud. Or I would suggest something that he had just been thinking about.

But couples living together, especially as intensively as we have, in the bush or working together 24/7, can expect to develop a closeness.

Yet this deeper communication was so elusive, not exactly cryptic but under the surface, that I have never been sure exactly what it was or if it was.

Take today. He was pretty dozy when I got there after lunch, but we chatted and talked a bit, neither of us understanding any words, just body language.

After a while he stood up and clearly  and pretend casually –  asked, “So how long will you be gone?” The question he always asked, in exactly that tone, when I went away.

My jaw dropped. By no means verbal or physical, had I told him I was going on a mini-holiday the next day.

“Oh” I said, recovering from the surprise and wondering if I was crazy to take a gamble on the truth but in a kind of magic zone, “3 or 4 days.” He nodded.


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He’s had 2 falls that I know of lately: one on the 12th which led to a skin tear on his elbow and one – more a tumble than a fall – today. In neither case was I informed, which is very disturbing.

In both cases he sustained only minor injury. Once he got up in the night and they found him down the hall, probably searching for a bathroom ( yes there’s one in his room but his sense of space is pretty well non-existent.)

As for the one today, I suspect sleepiness as a contributing factor since he is often needing a nap and not getting it. And this evening he showed signs of back pain and was barely walking, very crooked, although he was in a good humor.

In any event one of the caregivers brought out a wheelchair, and I said, They tell me he won’t use that.

“Huh? sure he will-  I use it often with him when he’s unsteady. You just have to jolly him along and stay with him” — which of course is a terrible problem with 2 caregivers and 17 patients most of whom would benefit from extended human contact beyond the physical necessities. The allotment, I have heard, is 15 minutes a day each.

In any event he sprawled on the couch with me for awhile, snored a bit and chatted a bit, and got lots of love talk and happily appreciated hugs and kisses. Then he decided we had to go and struggled up, with evident pain.

I pointed out the wheelchair and asked if he wanted to sit there. To my surprise, the answer  was “Sure,” and he did.

Then to my delight we tore up and down the halls, round and round, at breakneck speed, himself gripping the sides of the chair like the steering on an airplane, controlling where and when we went by paddling with his feet and only pausing in momentary confusion when I pointed out an alternative to a narrow passage. Even did a couple of wheelies which seemed quite intentional to me.

As we barrelled down the hall he was singing. I said, “Hey, slow down, you’re going pretty fast,” to which the response was a cheerful “Yep, at least 60!”


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Sweet sadness

When I came into the care home he was standing by the window, not enjoying the wind in the trees outside, just wavering back and forth, almost buckling at the knees.

It took awhile to get his attention but even then it  was vague. He knew me not. But I persisted and a full body hug got him focused (yep that’s my guy!) and then a tender mouth kiss. He went with me 12 feet and collapsed on the coach. Some kind of garbly conversation followed, then he leaned back, I put my arm around him,  and almost immediately he started to snore.

And we both rested, enjoying the sweet comfort of our familiar bodies, safe and together for an hour. Until my arm fell asleep and I gently slowly extracted myself, and tiptoed out.

When I returned later, needing just a little more contact, he was bright and smiling, welcoming me as someone he knew.

The rest gave us both sweet goodness.

For the first time in a week, emotionally satisfied, I did not choke back tears as I left, having handed over my smiling “shadow” to a caregiver.

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