Quinn slept through the night. He started out in his bed, at my suggestion so we could contain the virus. By 2am he had migrated to our bed. He was hot and feeling crappy. I couldn’t refuse him. But by the morning he was up at 6:30 am - bright and happy and ready to take on the day. He wanted to go to the airport to meet the Newfoundland cousins.
Terry G came over to sit with him while a collected Luiz, Neeson and Erik. Quinn agreed to stay and keep Terry company. I was worried that his reprieve from the fever was a short-term thing and he would fade again at the airport.
The plane was delayed 45 minutes. To kill time – I went to the bookstore at the airport. I don’t like to shop – but I could spend a lot of time in a bookstore. I wanted to find some light reading for you – perhaps visitors could read to you. As I looked at the latest Stuart MacLean book, I over heard the sales clerk talk to another customer. He was traveling on his birthday. The clerk said “Birthdays are special after all you only have so many birthdays.”
This thought hit home. You only have so many birthdays. On your last birthday, we were travelling to Newfoundland by ferry. We landed on your birthday. With all the planning for the trip – I hadn’t even thought of what to get you or how to make it special with a unique gesture. In a mad rush, we celebrated with Chinese food. The plan was thrown together at the last minute ... and you knew it.
Your next birthday will be a big bash. I am going to start planning it now. June 25 falls on a Friday so maybe we can have a weekend party. And from here on in – ALL birthdays count. Because you never know how many you will have left.
I settled on four books. Even though you can’t read right now. We will read them to you. Stuart MacLean’s latest book Extreme Vinyl Café - I thought would provide a little comic relief. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch looked very thought provoking and insightful. Lastly a book of classic short stories, because you can never go wrong with a classic.
When I get to your room, you are in a happy mood. Marsha was in to visit you this morning and brought a coffee. I’m glad you have had a chance to meet her. She was my rock for many car rides back from Halifax. Always providing me with sound logical advise, helping me make plans to get information and put things into prospective.
Your Marsha-morning was good. I’m glad she is getting to know the real you now – She didn’t know you before your stroke. You said that you found Marsha to be a great motivator with lots of positive energy.
You reminisced about the trip we took to Boston last spring for the marathon. You said that the best memory you have from that vacation was on the day after the marathon. I dragged you out for a walk about the Boston Common. You and the children played a game of imaginary baseball in the ball field, I took pictures of the three of you, pretending to bunt, catch and throw out each other.
It was a magical moment in my mind too. Simple memories – of having fun. I am so happy you have your memories – memories make you who you are. We both want more of this type of good memories.
As you lay in bed, you notice a picture on the wall of your under 8 soccer team from last summer – ‘Team Greece’ to headline says. You read this aloud and point to the clock to say where the picture is located on the wall. The problem is that the picture is not near the top of the clock at all – it’s about 2 feet beside the clock.
When I point this out to you, you are confused. To you it looked like the picture and the clock were right next to each other. – Another example of the distorted view you have of things at this time. You can read and you can even see small details well but your view of where things are in space is distorted … This is the ‘wrinkle’ in your vision.
We talked about your future in rehab. Your tone is starting to shift. You are starting to sound almost eager to start rehab. You are not echoing the anxieties that you had. At this rate, by the time you get into the rehab hospital, you will be fully charged and ready to go. “What about visits from you?” you ask. “I’ll still visit on my days off and weekends” I answered. I don’t think you will miss us as much as you do now, you will be too busy working at rehab to miss us. Hopefully, by then you will be able to answer the phone better by yourself and we can call you every night.
Right now, just sitting in a chair tires you out. Kristin says that the chair is designed to make you work your core muscles. That effort, alone, wears you down. I get you to eat your lunch in the chair. Then you follow me down the hallways of the 4th floor negotiating around carts and equipment along the way. This exercise involves you driving the chair using a steering hand pump. It tires you mentally and physically.
A rehab ready goal is to be able to sit on the edge of your bed for about 30 minutes. We still have a long way to go.
Once we get back to the room, I stall and distract you a little longer to stay in the chair. I cut and wash your hair and trim your beard. In the process of the hair cut, some hair got on your back. While cleaning you off, I discovered a trick to keeping you in your chair … backrubs. I can give really good back rubs if you are in the chair. I can’t do that very well when you are in the bed. I shall make the most of this new trick.
You stated that you hadn’t cried at all so far today – that’s good – a sign you are moving on perhaps. We talk a little about your favorite TV shows. M*A*S*H is one of them. You have many of the good lines memorized. You recalled a particular M*A*S*H episode where a potential love interest (Aggy, a reporter) says to BJ “Live for today because there may be no tomorrow.” And BJ replies” I have to live for tomorrow because for me there is no today.” You start to cry as you say them, I cry when I realized how these words held a new meaning to you now.
Your appetite for lunch is fair. You are filled easily. For dessert, you have Mandarin oranges. “I don’t like Mandarin oranges.” You say and then add, “I don’t like Womandarian oranges either but they are better then thickener.” There is that warped sense of humour again.
You get a visit from Juanita. You had just had your first enema experience and you are obviously traumatized by the event. You feel the need to share all the graphic details of the process. At the end you summarize it by saying: “If there could be dry retches from enemas, then I had them. It’s not surprising … I shit out a small village! Oh well - Shit happens!”
Luiz, Neeson and Erik came to visit – you volley back and forth comments to the boys ... Just like you always have. You advise 13 year old Neeson that he “should eat your vegetables – you don’t want to need an enema.”
I tuck you in - Man are you ever sweet and loving – it’s like we just went back 20 years in our relationship. You want me to stay to morning so we can wake up together. It feels good. The new you has it’s fine points.
You get anxious when I leave for the night … It breaks my heart.
Good night Sweetie, Be Strong.