#11 Life with Recovery

FEB 10 The days are running into each other. I cannot remember if I did loosen the lid on the yogurt drink or I just meant to do it. I sometimes forget to set the timer on the morning coffee. I often forget to set up the coffee pot period.

Quiet time is interrupted by bathroom usage. My jaw aches. Is it sinus/fibro or just the long-term tension of living in this new situation? Do I care which one? No, I just want the aching throb to stop.

Prayer? I often forget to ask the Lord Jesus for anything. I just go do the next thing. Get the underwear, fetch the emesis basin, retrieve the forgotten straw. Plan the meal, stay upbeat, don’t take it personally. This is hard. SO hard. The shattering and rearranging of our 47 years of marriage. The recalibration of what matters and what to let go, ignore.

I do not eat right. Sometimes I cannot eat. Sometimes I worry what is happening to my own health. Carry this grief; let it go; have a good cry; carry on. Rhythm of recovery that is not to my pleasure. Will this happen? Will that happen? Stay in the moment. Celebrate? The events of success.

The reading yesterday was dance and sing to the Lord and I had difficulty even contemplating such a thing. Yes, I rejoice that Bob is alive. No, I cannot fathom where all this is going. Someone sneezes and I cringe. I try to wear a mask every place I go. Then I forget and am frantic if there is not one in my pocket. The weather gets mild and most people give a sigh of relief. I worry that they are deluding themselves. The flu is not over. What about norovirus and other infectious things that could take our household down?


Some see me wearing a mask and comment that I am so smart. Others laugh at how absurd the mask looks. They have no concept of what we have endured so far in 2018. Simply do not get it. Good thing I have rarely cared what others think of me!

In December I made stacks of sweet potato portions that I froze. The package keeps coming open in the deep freeze. I need to open that up

mopand decide whether to take it to Help Center or send it along with Jeff to a Community meal at Grace. Make room in the freezer. Oh geesh, really? With all there is to attend to? This was going to be the year I instigated deep cleaning and pruning belongings in every room. I can barely get the floor mopped.

FEB 21 There is a stranger living in my house with a warm familiarity. I am not certain that I know this man, though I very much want him to be my husband. He has a tremor in his left hand that was never there before. He is grasping at the reality of weeks unavailable to him due to the medically induced coma and catastrophic illness. He almost died yet has not totally resurrected.

There are times when he frets and repeats himself. There are flashes of anger and impatience. His hair has thinned drastically. He smiles more than he used to. I think he has become his father in many ways.

I can tell he is making an effort to be caring and tender, but then the struggle to recover overtakes him and he hits a slump, withdrawing into his shell of coping.

bottle 2Urine output seems to have hit a plateau and I know this worries him with the question “Will my kidneys recover fully? Or enough to stop dialysis?” The access was clotting on Monday. His hemoglobin was not reported in his lab results and he thinks that is due to the clotting in the access. He does not want the access redone. He would rather stop dialysis for a week and see what happens. They pull fluid off of him. He then feels he must spend the next 24 hours just trying to rehydrate so he can produce urine. He is very frustrated. Yesterday Jeff and I walked to the corner with Bob using his walker. He was feeling victorious. Then sat in the garage in the sun talking with Jeff for a while.

Help me know how to touch this stranger with compassion and grace. Upon awaking from the medically induced coma he whispered that I need to be more gracious. Was that You, Lord?


#9 Coping with Health Crisis

Then there was the equipment drama. As if we have not had enough drama already!

From my notes: Bob finished his dialysis on Monday and the therapists also finished his occupational therapy as well as physical therapy. I am hoping he would be discharged early Tuesday morning. I know he will be exhausted just riding in the car and getting in the house. He does need one more dialysis treatment before he goes home.

He is not allowed to leave the hospital until he has his rolling walker with the seat in his hand. Did you know that Medicare will pay for a “Rollerator” walker with a seat, but if you want brakes on it you have to purchase those yourself? What a crock! Turn frail people loose with a rolling walker and no brakes. Whose idea was that?!?

The in-house supplier does not have one. The case worker found a supplier that could have it at the hospital, but they might not deliver until 5 PM on Tuesday! They also could not guarantee they would have a blue one like he wished for. Seems the supplier makes deliveries to many hospitals and facilities. His arrival at Anderson all depends upon what order the deliveries are loaded into his truck.  Grrr! I asked prayers for favor to get out of there by noon. We even asked the hospital staff if perhaps one of the adult kids could stop by and pick it up if it had not arrived by discharge time.  Nope. It has to leave with him. We are so tired of the hospital and the idea of waiting around tomorrow for someone to have time to read us the discharge orders, then someone to deliver the rolling walker really irritates me.

Tuesday morning I prayed for favor with the walker delivery and patience for myself.

When I finally found a parking space, I parked the car and began walking towards the hospital entrance. There in the curved drop off driveway was an equipment truck. I remembered the company name from the case worker. There was no one around, but as I approached I could hear noise inside the panel truck. So I knocked on the door.

A large man answered. I asked if he had a delivery for Robert Dutina, a rolling walker? He checked and pulled out a blue one, read the tag and replied, “Like this?”


I was so excited! I told him I would like to kiss him for stopping at Anderson Hospital so early in the morning. And thanked him profusely. Seemed as if the day was going to be moving along.

I finally got Bob home about 1 PM, Tuesday,  January 30th. Whew! Jeff, our son, met us there and helped Bob up the new wider step. We immediately found out that physical therapy gave us the wrong dimensions and it would need to be wider yet to accommodate the walker and the man. Good thing our friends were willing to return and redesign the step for us. We were both exhausted at that point and naps were much needed by both of us.

So grateful to have him home with me at last.