Months To Years Summer 2018 MTY_Summer2018_v7 - Page 20

“He had a fever of 102, a very high white blood cell count The private room was spacious but I looked at the stiff and the enzyme test indicated some strain on his heart,” vinyl couch near the window and thought about our she said. “We did an EKG and chest X-rays and his heart comfortable queen-size bed at home. I thought about all looks fine. It’s the infection that is a mystery.” those nights when Perry was restless and I was awakened by his twitching and turning and would have to move to I exhaled. He wasn’t going to die. It was just an infection.  another room to get a good night’s sleep. I would lie in bed filled with anger and pity at my plight and wonder “Did he seem sick over the last few days? Has he how much longer I would have to endure this. I thought complained of any discomfort?” she asked.  about how relieved I would feel if I put him in an institution It was the Monday after Perry’s 61  birthday. We had a or if he passed away and I wouldn’t have to be responsible quiet Sunday at home and our only outing had been to for his caregiving. I thought about the elation I always felt the grocery store. I didn’t notice him feeling overly warm when I traveled alone and had my own hotel room. For and he didn’t have any trouble pushing the grocery cart. the past 14 years, I had not left my house unless someone st But he never complained, ever, about feeling sick or being in pain. Even before his brain injury, he had had a high tolerance for pain.  “No, he was fine yesterday,” I said “We want to keep him on massive antibiotics until we know the source of infection,” she said. “How long?” I asked. We had plans “ was there to take care of him. As hour after hour passed, I remembered the bedside vigil in Portland, whispering in his ear, imploring him to wake and hoping that he would emerge intact. “ to fly to Tucson over the weekend to spend Mother’s Day with our son Paul who had just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.  At least for tonight, I could be relieved of all caregiving duties while he was being looked after in the hospital. I could stretch out and sleep deeply without Perry.  “No,” I said. “I’ll be going home after we put him to bed for the night.” It was after 10 p.m. when I got home. I made phone calls to our sons and sent emails to reschedule work appointments. I canceled our flight “Well, today is Monday. At least until Thursday, maybe to Tucson and arranged for Paul to come home to Los Wednesday,” she said. “You may still be able to go away Angeles for the weekend. Exhausted, I went to bed but for the weekend, depending on how well he responds to sleep came uneasily. I didn’t feel relief and I didn’t revel the antibiotics.” in freedom. I worried about Perry in that hospital bed as I lay in the darkness and wondered if he was disoriented I thought about his weakened state and how hard it and missing me. I didn’t stretch out my legs. I stayed on usually was to navigate the airport and security lines in my side of the bed and felt the emptiness beside me, as if his wheelchair. In his sluggish state, it would be even more I didn’t want to violate his sacred space. difficult. It was too early to tell but I knew how quickly well-   established plans can change, just like they did 14 years ago. After he was moved to a room upstairs, a team of nurses and helpers surrounded us to settle him in. The next morning, I arrived to find Perry huddled in a corner of his bed with his knees up. The bed was raised at a 45-degree angle. His brows were furrowed and he was sticky with sweat. He looked bewildered and The nurse asked, “Will you be spending the night?”  uncomfortable but his expression softened when he saw me. 20