Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Then and Now

One day
We were making plans to go to the Coast
To go clamming with friends.

One day
We were making plans to go to Yosemite,
So you could see El Capitan.

One day
We were making plans for another trip
To far away places.

One day
We were making plans to paint the house,
And tile the floors
And maybe find a new home to love as we do this one.

One day
You had a stroke.

I'm learning how to test your blood glucose
And give insulin shots.

I'm learning how to cook the foods you like
In a way that is healthier.

I cut up tiny pills and put them in tiny boxes
And smile when I bring them to you four times a day
And call them "appetizers."

I'm learning, still learning, still learning
Not to respond in anger when you take out your frustrations
On me.

Each night
I wake three or four or five or six times
To touch you, to test your blood,
To watch you breathe
To give thanks
That you are beside me.


Sunday, June 19, 2011


When they ask you where you worked
You can tell them
And give them details.

When they ask if you have children
You can name them
And give them details

And so they say,
"Your long-term memory is good!"
And they smile and you smile and I smile.

When we go to bed
You can't remember which side you have slept on
For twenty years.

When you sit in my chair
In the family room
You don't understand when I ask,
"Do you want to sit there - or here?"
Where you have sat
For eleven years.

When you make coffee
You remember to use four scoops of coffee
But not how much water.
You can't find the teabags
Where they have been
For twenty years.

You marvel at how well I navigate
The route home from the doctor,
Through curves and roads with oddly-shaped turns.
A route you taught me,
On roads you have traveled
A thousand times,
But claim you have never seen.

What are long-term memories made of?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Tomorrow, my Sweetheart comes home for good! I am so excited to have him here with me that I can hardly stand it. We will begin reordering our lives to match our "new normal." Some things we both hope we can resume: reading the paper together in the mornings while we drink our coffee; discussing events of the day; watching our favorite t.v. shows; enjoying our deck in the afternoons - the warm weather is arriving just in time!

Some things will be different for us. There will be new regimens of medications, learning to navigate safely around each other and the house, piecing together the events of the past several weeks so they begin to make some sense for Jim, more doctor's appointments (for both of us), physical therapy, learning to shop with wheelchair and cane - the list goes on!

One of our biggest challenges will be Jim's level of awareness regarding his - and my -limitations. I'm trusting that coming home will provide the comfort and security he needs to not only settle his mind (he still has occasional hallucinations), but also to help him regain his mobility and use of his right hand. I told him that I don't care how long he plays Solitaire on his computer, since I firmly believe using the mouse will be positive in healing it. Fortunately, his therapist agrees with me!

It will be seven weeks on Friday since our lives changed so drastically. We've had the love and support of so many people, that it humbles me and makes me even more aware of how blessed we are. We've both come a long way, but Jim's journey has been longer and more arduous. Given the fears that I had in the early days following his strokes, I'm just so very thankful to know that he'll be home in fewer than 12 hours! I do ask that you, my family, friends, and casual readers, keep us both in your good thoughts and prayers as we begin this new chapter.

My Sweetheart is coming home!