For the last few days we seemed to have achieved our new normal. I say that hesitantly with the hopes of not jinxing it.
Larry’s breathing is much better – pretty clear, actually. He sleeps quietly through the night. Yesterday, he even did some small exercises for legs and arms in his wheelchair. He’s been able to support his weight for a brief time so I can help him with the transfers.
He’s struggling mightily with the mechanics of eating but we mostly manage to figure out something for him at each “meal,” although I’d guess he’s still losing weight. And every pound he drops I put on with stress eating and all the good food people keep bringing us.
Even more important, he is rating his quality of life higher. Yesterday on a scale of 1-10 with 10 the best, he rated himself a 6! For awhile, before he went in the hospital, he was mostly at a 3. Did it take a brush with death to make him appreciate life more? How long will our new normal stay a 6?
There is even some relief for me from the relentlessness of constant personal care. He finally agreed to having a CNA from hospice help him with bathing and grooming. She came for the first time yesterday. She was efficient and quick and he said it wasn’t uncomfortable at all. Gave her two thumbs up when she asked.
So why don’t I feel better about it? I still have the sense of a guillotine above our heads about to fall. Sunday, as my brother-in-law is still with us, I asked our friends Michael and Pam to take me out on their boat for a short ride. It was a beautiful morning, they brought fruit and muffins, and the water was calm. I enjoyed myself for a few hours. But when I came home it was a taste of being that third wheel, alone without Larry, that it made me sad. .
Somewhere I read that there are people who need to come close to death multiple times – that it helps them prepare and become more comfortable with death. Maybe I need that, too.
I don’t know what’s coming. I can’t know what’s coming. I have no control. I can only be in today. I can only enjoy the sunshine while we have it. I know there will be dark days to come, but not today.
I want to settle into some kind of rhythm for however long our new normal lasts!