It seems that I am always bracing myself for something: the next storm, school year, evaluation, birthday, or trip. When you are a planner, and you can’t organize the next big event, it feels terrible. It feels like quicksand under your feet. Most of the time, I can get my footing. Most of the time I can find the inner strength that I need to face the next hurdle. Not Thursday.
Something is not right, and I know it.
I took my data to the doctor before the office opened and waited. Nobody would listen. I wasn’t heard. I just needed someone to say, “You are right, something is wrong.” I needed to be heard. Instead, I was treated like a student in crisis. I was placed in seclusion, I was double teamed, spoken to in gentle tones, and given next steps I didn’t want to take. I left in tears. We spent the day in the Emergency Room, I missed another day of work, and we still don’t know what’s wrong. Tests, tests, and more tests…
Three days later, I am still tired. You know that tired feeling you get after a hysterical cry? That kind. I wish I could brace myself, but I don’t know what I am bracing myself for. Something is wrong. I know he is a complicated medical patient. He is full of arthritis, has a beat up rotator cuff, and he still wears a leg brace from the stroke last April. We have to monitor his blood pressure three times a day, has compromised kidneys, as well as multiple adrenal tumors, and now gall stones, on top of having dementia. But why isn’t he urinating? I am not a doctor, but I know that what goes in, must come out and why is it so dark? Where on earth is it going? The ER docs say that maybe he has a virus that is absorbing it. Huh? He doesn’t feel sick. He isn’t bloated.
I am bracing myself for something, but I don’t know what, and I am terrified.
He eats very little. He says he feels full all the time. He drinks all day long. He sleeps a whole lot. However, he is still quite active. He keeps the laundry done, he loves to cook, and the house is immaculate. He has started plants in the basement, and has refinished some of our furniture, as well as a couple of beat up pillars in the entryway. He plays solitaire on his iPad, follows news stories on the internet, and enjoys watching TV series with me in the evening while I correct papers. He seems to have become more sensitive to milk, so dairy can be disastrous. However, it doesn’t stop him from ordering a strawberry sundae when we go for a drive to the coast, or insisting on a tall glass of milk with supper. He is mostly happy, and looks forward to me being with him, so I get home to him just as soon as I can.
I wish I could protect him. Although I pray for a miracle, I accept his diagnosis. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. I just want him to be comfortable, and for him to pass with dignity when the time comes. I want to do what is humanly possible to have him go from one life to the next, pain-free, peacefully surrounded by those that love him most.
Tell me, how do I brace myself for the day I lose my best friend, my soul mate, father of my children, and the keeper of my heart?