After work today, I pack to go to Halifax. This is our big weekend together as a family at Lenore’s’ apartment. We are all looking forward to it. I look about the house for a large gym bag for your things for the weekend. Your suitcase is too big. The Honda Fit can barely get the wheelchair in the back, let along a large suitcase.
I finally locate an old sports bag downstairs in your man cave. It contains all sorts of old running shoes and cleats and balls. Nerf footballs, baseballs, soccer balls and an assortment of other balls. All big reminders of your BS life. My heart gets heavy when I think about your life before the stroke compared to now.
This weekend is a prescription that I am writing for you as your wife. A prescription for the four of us. We need to have some ‘normal’ time together without a hospital roof over our heads.
When we get to the NSRC, you are anxiously awaiting our arrival. Juanita and Wayne are there with the children. Maddie is happily running about the room shamelessly topless. Thanks to Wayne, you were enjoying a few eggrolls. I get you packed and we pick up your drugs along with the instructions. You are still on a lot of medications. Pills for all occasions. Bowel, bladder, pain and mood.
Finally we get settled in Lenore’s apartment. The first thing we do is see whether the bathroom is workable with a wheelchair. After some discussion and planning, we figure out a way to transfer you safely to the toilet.
Yeah – You passed the toilet test! You get to stay.
Quinn wanted to tell you about his experience at school today. He said he was bullied. An older kid asked him if he could have the big snowball that Quinn was making, and then proceeded to get his friends to smash it up. He proudly tells you all about it and how he told the teacher. You were right on cue. You told him that he did the right thing and that bullies only have power if you give it to them. Not telling a grownup gives them power, telling a grownup takes it away.
It was a good parenting moment. The two of you end the discussion with a modified wrestle session. Your one hand against both of Quinn’s. Quinn is impressed with your one hand wrestle maneuvers. “Daddy is strong and fast.” He says squealing with laughter.
Maybe you won’t need that ‘martial art’ training after all.
We cuddled up on the sofa together. To sit beside you on the sofa felt like a vague memory of the past. It almost felt foreign to me … until you started to rub my foot then it felt like we were transplanted back in time… It felt great.
You talk about your inability to concentrate. “I can’t stay interested in things for long.” I point out that you played crib quite well. “Yeah, but that was really hard.” You said. I think that your ability to concentrate is another thing to work on … like exercising a muscle. It will take time to improve but daily exercise and pushing the limits a little bit at a time is what you need to do. We need to identify things that you can do mentally that allow you to force your concentration a little longer. Some days will be easier then others, just like when you trained for running. Some runs were great and others were hard work and required a lot of staying power.
Your ability to concentrate will improve … in time … in waves.
We go to bed early for us but late for the children. I’m tired physically and emotionally. You are talkative. You express your worries that I will not be happy with you and that I will want a ‘real man’. You want me to leave you. “I’m a joke,” you say.
I am tired of the negative talk. I don’t know what to say any more. While listening to you, I realize that as you get tired, the negative talk gets worse. Late night talking isn’t good for either of us. Finally, I convince you to try to get to sleep because things will seem better in the morning.
Things always seem better in the morning.