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Saturday, October 17, 2009


the blue tractor #2
We're back to near lifelessness after a short burst of a few days of energy when Jr's plumbing was empty and had been empty. He slept all day today. Rose around 6. Major effort to get to pottie chair to pee. Major effort back to the bed. While he was still in the wheelchair, I sat on the side of the bed and said, 'Thought I'd have an ensure. Would you like one with me?' He thought about it a moment and accepted. This is the 3rd day in a row I've got him to drink an ensure by offering to drink one with him. Make it social, like having a drink of white liquor. Might be able to turn this into a comfortable habit, a drink of ensure together. If I'd just offered him one, he'd have declined.

Feeling uplifted today within. Not in a big way, but a nice way. Feeling support and gratitude from Jr's relatives and friends. It seems the buzzards have sailed away to someplace else, and all that's left are the ones that really care about Jr, himself, not the detritus of his life. I do, I feel uplifted within by all their support. I've been at it so long now with Jr, they all know I wasn't kidding at the start, that I've really been through it, and I'm not quitting until the last breath. I'm here for whatever it takes. Yesterday Jr apologized again for being a bother, wanting a sip of some water, but not wanting to bother me with asking me to get it. I told him this is why I'm with him. I want to fetch for him.

I use the time he gets up to go to the pottie chair to straighten up his bed, put the pads under his midsection back in order, the sheets and blanket ready to receive him when he returns. I know how he likes his pillows, so I set up the bed to receive him as he naturally falls into it. Today I put eyedrops in his eyes. They're about stuck shut from dehydration, needing some lubrication to get them open. Plus, they're closed so much now, open is an unusual state for them.

Ross told me today that Jr told him yesterday when I left the house to go to town that I only let him have an ensure a day for 9 days and wouldn't let him have any water for four days. Ross was appalled he'd say such a thing. I just laughed. It's like the time he told me Ross was keeping his money and not letting him have any. He didn't know what he was going to do. He didn't have any money and Ross wouldn't let him have any. I knew better, of course. I told him Ross is not ripping him off, that Ross is being honest with his money, and he can have any amount he wants just by saying so. I told him he has nothing to worry about. He smiled and said, 'I have to think about something.' Seems like his mind is a meandering creek. No telling where it's going at any given moment. Sounds like my own.

Yesterday he told me he wanted to go home. That alarms me when he says that, it being such a metaphor for Heavenly Home, but I've found he has never yet meant it like that. He thought he was in a hospital room. I said, This is your home. It is? This is your bed. It is? He looks all around the room and it's like nothing looks familiar to him. Like when he was in the nursing homes, when he wanted to go home, he wanted to go back to the house where he lives, that home.

We haven't had any conversations about dying. It seems artificial to me to bring up the subject, when it's so obvious. I don't see that he needs any religious or spiritual talking to. The artificial doesn't work with him. Jr has a firm spiritual foundation and has never been one to give his life over the the restrictions church membership requires. He is not, by nature, a sheep. If you insist he's a sheep, then he's the black sheep, like me. Jr is not one to have somebody else make his decisions. He likes to make his own. He's ready. But he's in no hurry.

Today while holding him up from the wheelchair so he could twist around to sit on the bed, get him situated, he says, 'Turn me loose,' and sits on the side of the bed. I was looking at his face up close in the half light, noting how he had developed the look of old, old age, that old age that is just old. It seems odd to see Jr Maxwell in such a state. He's been knocked down plenty, but he always gets back up.

I'm glad that the song I picked for the theme song of the radio show, a kind of seeing-what-happens picking on bluegrass banjo of Billy In The Lowground by Jr, has him laughing at the very start. He laughs and starts picking. He hasn't been able to laugh like that it awhile, maybe 3 or 5 years. When I start the show every Saturday morning, it gives me a kick to hear Jr laugh again, then lay it to it on his banjer.

Back to Jr's friends and relatives. They've been receiving me lately as one of them. I knew about all of them before, and some were suspicious in the beginning that I might be another taker on the scene. By now they see my motivation is the same as theirs, caring for Jr. I'm the only one with plenty of time to spend with him, when all the others have family and work. Seems to me it's only natural that I be the one that stays with him. The support I have is phenomenal from all directions. I tell you more about the Hospice support, but the support of Jr's friends and relatives is the equal of it. For anything, all I have to do is get on the phone and ask.

But I have the same disease Jr has, can't allow myself to trouble somebody unless it's really necessary. Also, I believe necessary is the only reason to make a call for help from one of them. That way I'm never crying wolf. What I've found is the people who are Jr's friends and relatives have become my friends for life, people I can always count on, who can always count on me. I've had to make a few calls. Not only do I appreciate all the support, I really like all the people concerned, more as time goes by. Caught myself dripping a tear today thinking about them.

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