Nancy delivered me safe and sound around 5 pm on Wednesday after making a stop at the DMV to get me a temporary handicap parking tag. I was fairly stoned from the pain meds I took in anticipation of a painful ride home. She got me settled, as comfortable as I could get and headed for home. Cindy showed up shortly after and we chatted and she got me something to eat. Nurse Jill (I have a lot of Jills in my life) swooped in around 7 to take me home with her. I was in no place to disagree.
Jill immediately took charge and started treating me like a patient in her home. She charted my meds, amongst other things, anticipated my needs and got me as comfortable as I could get. The next day was more of the same with the exception of when she had to leave, she put my crutches out of reach. She knows her patient well.
I don’t ever remember being cared for or catered to in this type of fashion. It feels like I’m in some sort of bizarro world. I’ve either never allowed people to or been in relationships that they just didn’t do that. I cared for them. When I was very young, maybe three at the most, I remember falling down an embankment into a gravel driveway. I was skinned up and in the most pain I’d ever experienced to that point. My leg was crimson red with blood and burned like it was on fire. The way I remember it, my parents and their friends laughed at me and THEN tried to come over and console me. I. Was. Pissed. No way was I letting them get close to me after they laughed at me. I don’t remember every letting my mother console me ever again although I don’t remember many situations over the course of my life that I wanted or expected to be consoled or more likely, that I would even give her the opportunity to do it. Consolation was never big in my family, anyway. You just sucked it up and carried on.
I spent Thursday and Thursday night at Nurse Jill’s. She got me washed up, fed and took care of things I didn’t even know needed taken care of. All of this while caring for her family, their activities, meals, etc. Impressive, really. But no big deal for her. I tried to sneak to the bathroom in the middle of the night but she ALWAYS heard my crutches and met me at the bathroom door. That woman is lightening fast and with better hearing than any dog. I pity her sons if they ever try to sneak out. Skill Level – Ninja.
Friday morning Sarah (I have a few Sarahs in my life, too) picked me up and shuttled me back home. We spent the day at my house. She was a little nervous to follow Nurse Jill’s performance but she was fantastic. I promised that I would not tell her husband what a great caretaker she is. She doesn’t want to raise that bar.
I’m starting to feel incrementally better and I’m learning how to navigate my world with one good leg and crutches. My world has become very small, and very slow, for the time being. I can’t drive. I can’t hobble very far. That’s OK. It comes with the territory and that will be my life for a few weeks. I have people who are helping me through it. Sarah and I were discussing that. There are always upsides to any situation…..gifts if we’re willing to receive them. I’ve been able to spend some great time with several people I love and enjoy but haven’t seen much of in recent years. Less-than-optimal circumstances and I can’t change those but I can thoroughly enjoy and laugh with those that are showing up to help me navigate this in so many varied ways, some behind the scenes and some front and center. From mowing my yard to picking up mail, bringing me garden-fresh veggies, providing incredible meals, prepping my town home for sale, making my bed, taking orders, throwing me a kick-ass party, sending messages of support, dropping off small batch gin and tonic for the nights and fresh roasted coffee beans for the mornings, offering rides to and from Mayo, being available on-demand, making me a cane I could beat someone to death with in only two blows, or just spending easy time with me; fun, honest time. And all the while, not seeming to mind that I have perpetual bed head and that I have adopted the funky, cheap rubber smell from my crutches. Regardless, all efforts are important and appreciated. If I haven’t given you a proper thank you for anything you’ve done, please forgive me and I will now blame my inexcusable behavior on the narcotics. Now, who’s going to help me shave my legs?
Sarah took off after we had sushi and Nurse Jill showed up about an hour later to spend the night with me at my house. I kind of like this. I may need help for a very long while… She got my dressings changed and the incisions looked good. Two of them look precise and uniform but the top one, the one they did the most work through, looks like a shark bit me and they cobbled it together like a piece of hamburger. After reading the operative report, I’m not surprised. Jeepers, they did a lot of work through that hole. She got me cleaned up again, comfortable in bed and told me a story.
I talked with my mom today as I have every day this week, usually my dad, too. She feels incredible guilt that they aren’t helping me more but I’m trying to convince her that I need to let everyone help me in their individual strong suits and that I will need them, my parents, down the line. She did seem relieved that Nurse Jill and Sarah had been caring for me since she knows them and can appreciate their talents. My mom is very concerned about the practical things and was blown away by the meal train. She’d never heard of such a thing and I think was surprised that I had people that liked me enough to sign up to bring me food, really good food. She understands that Troy, Kev and others are taking good care of my lawn. She thinks that all of this is her and my dad’s responsibility but even if it was, they just aren’t in a position to help me in the way that they want to. They are in their 70s and 80s, live out of town and if nothing else, my brother’s needs takes up much of their time on a daily basis. It’s a continual struggle to convince her that my friends’ help is a huge blessing and that they, my parents, are not “worthless”.
Jill took off in the morning to care for her family and warned/promised to come back to spend the night. I enticed Jana to come over to adult-sit with promises of sucky pay and liberal swearing. She made me breakfast and listened to me talk of the details of the last week. We both had a short snooze and she took off to tend to the rest of her life. I’m currently alone for about 4 hours which is the longest span of time I’ve had to myself in a week. It’s been the extremely rare occasion that I’ve had people with me for that span of time over the course of my life. I’m adapting. I haven’t stabbed anyone and no one has stabbed me so I’d call that successful. Carry on.