Call it progress or stagnation

Today is Cyber-Saturday, not that I’m shopping. I’m at home, making sure my husband can get up–from whatever situation he’s in–when he needs to. He’s putting on weight. It’s harder to pull him to his feet, but there’s no muscle there, and he’s not helping to create it. He stubbornly refuses to exercise, so it was no surprise that on this past Monday, oncology appointment day, my husband said he was too weak to go. He just couldn’t get up.

I was insistent at first. We’d get a wheelchair at the center. You just have to walk to the car, I said. You can use your walker. But he’d have none of it.

But when I realized the tincture of opium responsible for successfully slowing his diarrhea was slowing him too, physically, I rescheduled for next week.

On Tuesday, I finally got one of the visiting nurses (there are two, one to flush his biliary stent, another the pic line) to understand how weak my husband was. He spoke to our physician’s assistant. Within a day, she called to say she’d schedule physical therapy. I asked for a better toilet seat–one with adjustable legs that would fit over our toilet bowl as my husband couldn’t lift himself from the one I’d bought, which already added 3 inches of height and had two raised arms for him to push off.

She agreed to seek that out as well. As we spoke, I was certain she was measuring my sanity and capabilities, especially when she said I was doing the job of five people. I was surprised at that, and, if I may be so bold, proud to be so recognized, but as she suggested home nursing for a few hours a day I realized she thought his care really was too much for me to handle, that I might be missing key clues to his condition that a trained eye would see quicker.

I agreed. Better care for him and a reprieve for me? Win. Win.

Especially as I’m a jinx. Yes… a jinx.

Last Saturday my husband, clad in sweats and no underwear, had a mega-accident. He struggled from the couch, and couldn’t move fast enough once on his feet to heed his body’s call, and capitulated to its explosive force there and then. Yes, clothing, socks, shoes, carpet and wood floor–and himself–all had to be cleaned. After caring for him, the carpet, floor, and couch, I bagged his clothes and took them outside, where I hosed out the solids and hung the clothes to drip. I wasn’t going to drag sodden clothes through the house to the laundry in the basement.

After an hour and a half’s work, all I could smell was, well, you know. I vented by texting his sister, who asked why he wasn’t wearing diapers? She’d told him to weeks ago. To be honest, the idea had never occurred to me, and even if I had thought of them, I’d have felt sorry for him–a blow to his masculinity and all–but now aware that HE knew and never said or did anything about it even after I’d cleaned him, the carpet, et al, I stormed into the den and thundered at him.

And went to buy him Depends. I refrained from calling them diapers, though clearly his sister had, and insisted he put them on. He employed one childish delaying tactic after another–would I get him a glass of ice; did I know where his phone was; his watch; bring him some watermelon.

And so it should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I lost it. I screamed like a lunatic that he’d put them on or I’d leave him to rot there… and then helped him off with his shoes and sweatpants, and on with the underwear and clothing again. <sigh>

Three hours later, he raced from den to bathroom on his walker. Didn’t quite make it. Another explosion painted the white bathroom–toilet, wall, floor. It was my fault, he said. I’d jinxed him making him wear the damned underwear. Yep. My fault.

Y’know? I wasn’t the slightest bit upset. It just struck me as absurdly funny; that for some reason, his accusation, failure to see the humiliating accident for what it was, was a very male thing to do. Even after cleaning him up, dressing him, and sanitizing the bathroom with Lysol while wearing rubber gloves, I was thankful for the Depends. A tile bathroom’s a lot easier to clean, Lysol’s easier on the olfactory senses, than well, again, you get the idea.

Jinx. I’ll jinx ‘im.

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