Mike Day 96: D-Day Minus 1

May 25, 2011

Family, Health, Mike

Tomorrow is the big day!  I can hardly wait.  It’s been a huge week getting ready, and I still have grocery shopping to do…but we are almost home “free”.  Free is an odd way to put it.  We are definitely not “free”.  The cost of a serious medical illness such as Mike’s is pretty staggering.  I’m estimating that with the 14 prescriptions, the therapy, the wound care supplies, diapers, waterproof pads for the bed, wound care treatment , etc etc etc, I am looking at close to $1000 a month for upkeep.  (I’ve factored into that number the staggering cost of gasoline to get to all these appointments)   Just to bring him home I am looking at plenty.  But you know what?  We’ve gotten through so much and health and healing have been provided…I am certain that how to get by will also be taken care of.  I’m not going to worry about it.  One day at a time.  It’s all I can do. 

Yesterday was filled with good news.  First, I got the news that speech therapy had been trialling Mike extensively on solid and dry foods.  The swallow, when he actually swallows is good.  The problem is in stopping chewing, moving food to the back of the mouth and then the swallow initiating.   She has finally determined (and why didn’t I think of that???) that if he can swallow with prompting ( lots of prompting and reminders I am told) that he can go on solid foods.  So she is going to sit with him during a solid food lunch today and with no outward signs of aspiration present, he can go on solid foods.  She has warned me that meals will be long.  Very long.  But that’s ok!  I suspect he will actually eat now!  I have my fingers crossed…it would be a great going home gift!

Next I learned that they’ve shuffled around his BP meds so there’s no midnight dose, and given me a sedative order for Ativan PRN when his agitation begins if it looks like he’s getting out of hand.  They worry about my safety since he can be somewhat difficult at times…and he is so strong and so big.  Next I learned that his EKG was fine.   Another is scheduled for today to make sure the BP med changes have not changed the picture.  Finally, I learned they ultrasounded his blood clots and they are cleared up.  Gone.  Kaput!  YAY!

So here we are.  One more night.  Tomorrow morning we return to relative normalcy.  Whatever that is.  Here, nothing is normal so a scheduled existence around his needs might be welcome. 

And what, you might ask, have I learned from all this?  That I still have a lot to learn.  That the universe has a way of humbling you like no other.  That you find out quickly what is really important sometimes…and it’s a good thing.  That, to quote a dear friend, I can trust my life to God…as well as the lives of my loved ones.  That God is NOT  the wishful thinking of a bunch of folk who wrote stories as laws when there were no police or peace keeping forces.  That medical science can’t do it alone…they merely set the stage.  That you find the strength you need, and when you are sure it is gone, you are given the gift of more and sometimes the burden is lightened significantly instead.  That love is a choice…and that when you marry and say in sickness and health it is a solemn promise.  It means something.  And it’s something you might easily be faced with remembering, so it’s a good idea before making that promise to be sure you are up to the task.  (I certainly was up to it, but arrogantly was sure I’d never face it)  Know that there are tremendous rewards in keeping that promise…personally, intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically.  That it’s good to reciprocate…Mike has been a devoted and loyal husband.  A really great guy.  To be able to support him through his illness has meant everything to me.   I know he would do the same for me if faced with it.  I’ve learned to love fully, without restraint.  Without drama.  Without anger over stupid stuff.  Without pettiness.  Just for the sake of love.  Because I’ve learned that the life of the person you love is very tenuous and it can end in a second without a chance to get a do-over for the stupid stuff you might have done and said over 30 years of marriage.  I’ve also learned that when two people love each other, in spite of any of that silly stuff, when the chips are down, they remain connected.  unbelievably connected.  And together they can conquer a lot (with some help from their friends and Father). 

Tomorrow…Day 1 of our future.    You better believe, for however long it is, we will make the most of every second in spite of Mike’s current physical state.

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