No church, no Donald visit and no hot tub this weekend. You are disappointed but it’s too hard to juggle these things with being on call. I can’t leave you at the church or Donald’s or in the tub for an indefinite period of time - unsupervised. You aren’t pleased with this.
It will get better, I assure you. Once we get homecare sorted out and a routine to life, things will get better.
The animal emergencies start early today. Luckily, John came to visit just as I received the call to go into the hospital. You and John have a good long visit. When I left, you were singing my praises. When I got back, about three hours later, you were still praising my efforts. I find it hard to believe that you talked about me the whole time … I wonder what you were really talking about …
I don’t really worry about it. I know that John is a good influence on you and that the two of you really connected. That’s what is important. You have been craving friendship at the NSRC and have been getting cold professional shoulders in return. (Except for your PT – she’s wonderful). You need real friendship that supports you but also makes you accountable to the most important person you know … yourself.
PT and OT may help your body become mobile and safe, but friends will heal your ego and help you build your sense of self. You are lucky that you have good friends.
After lunch, you want to smoke. You want to go outside on the deck to smoke. Against my better judgement, I help you outside, while praying under my breath that you will find the self-control not to light up.
You feel that smoking again is inevitable. “I might as well get it out of the way.” You say. “I’ll just smoke one or two …get it out of the way.” You didn’t smoke … you forgot the matches inside! We talked instead. After you said that the feeling passed and you put the cigs away.
Maybe the cigarettes that you bought are not only a means to test yourself every day but they are they are also a way for proving to me that you are worthy of my trust.
You are the only person who can decide to stop smoking. Harold is right. It’s a daily decision.
I wonder if you use the topic of smoking, as a way to get attention, so you don’t smoke. If that’s what works, then that’s great. We will give you as much attention as we can to get you free of the habit. Perhaps one of the first self describing roles that you will use to redefine yourself (besides husband, father, son, brother and friend) will be ex-smoker
You talk to the children about what our family life might look like when you get home. You tell them that assistants will come to help you to do things but you are still going to be their father. You will still make decisions and expect the children to listen to you. They have to trust that your choices are to keep them safe.
“We may have people here who will be different from day to day.” You say. I point out, “The person who is here to look after Daddy’s needs. They aren’t here to wait on you. Daddy’s job is to look after you. Things like getting you a snack, or helping you with homework or discuss how you are going to ride your bike safely etc. These were daddy jobs before and they will be Daddy jobs again.”
You tell them that you really want to walk them home from school. “This will be our special time to chit chat and talk and share things with each other. I missed out on the last seven months of your lives. Mummy has done everything for you. Slowly, I will become your Daddy again ... your Daddy and your friend.”
The homecare person will be here to help Daddy get about safely. I expect that we will become good friends with your ‘assistants’. They will become members of our family. We are all a little excited about the future.
In the early evening, I got another call to look after an animal. Marianne came over to talk with you and the children. When I get back you look very pleased with yourself. The four of you had just had great fun playing cards. I come into a room of giggles and smiles. You decided who will get the golden 29. You gave it away to Marianne.
George came to visit – on his way out, he reminded me of the improvement that you have made since Christmas. That’s what I need to keep reminding myself of over and over again -… how much you have improved since Christmas … the changes are slow but they are real and significant and they need to be celebrated every day.