A continuation of my faith journey with Crohns disease.
The one thing for which I have been keenly aware during my illness has been the effect of Crohns on my wife and children. Caregivers are the unsung heroes. For a long time, whenever people would see my wife, they would ask about me… as if her needs, her feelings were inconsequential. When, in reality, it was she that was bearing the brunt of the illness. After all, I was home sick, in bed, alone. She had to manage the kids, run the house, everything.
Her life grows exceedingly more complex where mine becomes painful, but simple.
So, as my time wore on in the Miami hospital, my wife’s patience was beginning to grow thin. She would stop by to visit me in the room, but the entire experience was wearing on her. Her time actually sitting with me grew less and less each day. After all, what can she do, but watch me lay there. How exciting is that? I was completely bored sitting there. How much more boring is it for her to sit there watching me be bored? I think there’s a cirlce of hell reserved for such an undertaking.
One morning she arrived and sat across from me and asked “How are you doing?” As I wrapped all of my thoughts into the word “fine” she said, “Okay, I’m going to go to the cafeteria. I’ll be back later.” Before I could respond, she was gone. She left the room so fast I half expected a BEEP-BEEP and a Looney Toon-esque cloud outline of her to be at the foot of my bed, slowly disappating into nothing.
I can’t imagine how helpless and frustrating and draining and tiring and complicated being the caregiver can be. Thankfully, my brother John and his wife Irene came down and spent some time with my wife. That was a Godsend for her… she desperately needed the distraction.
While laying alone in the room and my stomach swollen and stapled, something odd started to happen. Everything started smelling like old, smoky, dirty, mildewy laundry. Everything. My sheets, the oxygen flowing into my nose, everything.
At one point the nurse brought me some food… it was SUPPOSE to be turkey and applesauce. To me, it was some evil concoction of smell and waste. I tasted it… smoky, wet laundry… with gravy. I was certain this was the dirtiest hospital in the history of documented medicine.
When my wife arrived, I immediately and urgently whispered to her “Can you taste this???? It’s awful!”
She dipped the spoon into the food… “hmmm, applesauce.”
“Applesauce???? What about that!” I pointed to another selection on the tray.
She took a big bite… “Turkey” she replied.
“Turkey? What the hell is going on?” I asked.
I couldn’t get out of there quick enough.
To be continued…