Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Day by day

I'm so glad Hurricane Irma wasn't as damaging a storm in Florida as it was feared to be, at least in terms of human life. I know there is extensive property damage, and whole swaths of the state are still without power. But my dear Aunt Beulah's funeral, postponed because of the storm, will take place this weekend in West Palm Beach. I'm sad I won't be there. Over here my husband is navigating infusion specialists, visiting nurses, a weekly phlebotomist, and a rumored physical therapist, not to mention a roster of follow up appointments with doctors of various specialities. We also take twice daily walks. I am trying to do as advised by my husband's aunt, whose husband had major open heart surgery 20 years ago now. She said, "Don't look ahead. Don't be impatient for milestones. Don't assume anything should be further along than it is. Just meet each day as it comes and let the healing happen." It feels good to write that down, to look at it plain.

I worry about new things, but even that is progress, because the things I worry about now are no longer life and death; I'm fairly certain he will survive. He has survived, and now it is just quality of life things like when will his full voice return, when will his back be once again strong enough, pain free enough, for him to retrieve an item from the floor or to push out of bed without wincing. I lie awake sometimes in the deep of night researching different aspects of his recovery on my cell phone. Dr. Google is not usually very comforting. So I fall back on his aunt's advice: Day by day.

Late last evening, I sat next to him on the bed, giving him his nightly infusion treatment. It's a series of steps involving two saline syringes, one medicine syringe, and one heparin syringe to keep the tubing clear of clots. I have to disinfect the port of the PICC line embedded in his upper arm before and after each step, remember to open and close the clamp at the proper time, and to replace the green alcohol cap over the receiving end of the port when we're done. It's careful work, with the medicine itself to be delivered over a period of not less than 5 minutes. My hands in plastic gloves, I wield the syringes and the tiny square sterilizing pads, while he times the delivery of medication on his phone. My daughter and son also know how to do all this. We were all present on the night the infusion nurse came to teach us the process.

Last night, though, it was just my husband and me in the apartment, both of us concentrating on getting everything right, bound by a process out of the ordinary of our lives. The moment felt deeply intimate, the two of us on the bed, heads bent over, in a new configuration of together.

18 comments:

  1. Dr. Google has the worst bedside manner. Your husband's aunt is wise. I say print those words out and put them where you can see them.

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  2. That sounds like stressful work, but as you say, it does forge a deep bond as well. He is so lucky to have you and your children to support him as he heals. Wishing you continued strength to meet the challenges and demands of this period, R.

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  3. You write so well.....you really do

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  4. So beautiful. That image of the two of you in a different sort of intimacy.
    I love you so much.

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  5. I know you will get thru this part of healing as well as the initial scare. Your love will take you thru it. I'm sorry this could not happen over night for you.

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  6. Wonderful. I am amazed at how many different configurations love can take. I hope all your people in Antigua are OK. We are still awaiting word from several dear friends in the BVI.

    -invisigal

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  7. Sweet photo of your man in the process of healing. Being able to be outside facilitates healing. Love and medicine and walking work wonders.

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  8. A difficult time. But a beautiful one. Sending love.

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  9. Just catching up after some time in the hospital myself. Your recent experiences with your dear husband really struck home for me. Wishing you both strength and good healing every day. My heart is with you. You are doing a wonderful job supporting him. Sending love, N2

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  10. Somehow you make even the administration of medicine seem beautiful! It's good he's up and moving around, which will certainly speed healing.

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  11. The poetry of your lives here together is truly beautiful. Your aunt's words should be written and spoken everywhere, everyday. And as Elizabeth wrote about your last sentence, yes, brilliant.

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  12. This is beautiful writing Rosemary. And this advice...well, it's good, it's very very good, for all of us. XXOO

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  13. "This new configuration of together". That is such lovely and heartfelt writing. Day by day may his strength return. Many of us in Florida were indeed lucky. I hope those that were not do not have to suffer much longer.
    Much love.
    Xoxo
    Barbara

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  14. You are doing such amazing work. All healing is a journey, and you are on it together.

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  15. Your husband's aunt is a very wise woman! I can agree and embrace her words. Getting to involved with goals and hitting milestones when it concerns health can be exhausting. Facing one day at a time is so much better. I'm impressed with your new medical skills. Administering medications is delicate and serious business. Sounds like you've achieved mastery. Wishing your husband a full recovery. All in time, all in time. Sounds like a bit of a mantra! Best, Susan

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  16. thank you. wishing you and your family strength. i have a few health challenges, which were put in perspective by your husband's. i face none of his difficulties."a new configuration of together" moved me to tears.

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  17. Taking it day by day is a good thing towards a road to recovery.

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