Shelf Lives
50 Years

I wanted to catch up on some of my thoughts over the past week. Of course my parent’s anniversary events and the mini-family reunion brightened my spirits considerably, and today, I feel mostly back in the game, emotionally. But I believe it was an important week in my process with Vernon…another round of grieving (aka letting go) took place, and it was a doozy.

I explained what happened with Vernon’s kidney transplant evaluation last Tuesday. I had long held on to the prospect that our next round of activity would be pursuing a transplant for Vernon. It never struck me that it wouldn’t be a possibility. To have our hopes dashed so quickly came as a shock to my system. Yes, of course, we could pursue a transplant in another area, but the effort at this point seems out of the question, especially since he is so physically vulnerable and he cannot be transported long distances.  It just felt like a big giant NO!  Another door that I thought might be slightly ajar was shut. On Sunday, I spoke to my visiting uncle, an internist, who said…’there are never NO options.” I told him I’d remember that and maybe pick up the kidney idea again later on, if the signs point that way, but for now I’m going to just carry on as we are. I’m too tired to keep chasing a risky and energy-consuming idea at the moment. The sadness I felt wasn’t just because Vernon wouldn’t be getting a new kidney and that his heavy dialysis schedule would continue but that I knew I was going to have to detach from trying to ‘make him better.’ I’d run out of active hope.

It just so happened that the very next day, I was informed that Maki’s neighborhood carpool had disbanded. We’d been beyond lucky this whole school year that neighbors picked him up to and from the high school. But it turns out that it isn’t too much harder to get both kids up and ready earlier and this way, I get a little more time to chat with our strong, silent Maki.  My mother tells me that the drive home was often the most important part of the day with her children, it’s when we actually shared what was going on in our worlds. It feels like good timing with him, I’m ready for it. It already makes me feel like I’m doing what parents are supposed to do.

The same week, Justine lost her first tooth. She has yet another wiggler already. When someone told her that the first teeth start coming out at six years old, she clung to the concept and has suddenly been acting a little older, more poised, on slightly (dare I say it) better behavior.  The hair she has been growing out for ages is suddenly long enough for pigtails, which is very exciting. And to me, she just LOOKS like a big girl, a six-year old. It’s as if with her first tooth, the baby look is gone. She also learned to whistle, which she has been doing non-stop, one-note. Tonight she gave me a letter she had phonetically figured out—very few vowels, but the progress is clear. She is having a notable growth spurt on every level at once. I’m so glad not to miss it.

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I still will spend my Thursdays and Sundays at Mesa Verde. I will still go up to dialysis every day that Vernon doesn’t have anyone else signed up to sit with him. But I felt an emotional shift last week. I am still his wife, but as sweet as Vernon can be, he is just a shell of the man I called my husband all those years we were at home together. I love him dearly, and I want the best for him, but its different now. I need to give the children my emotional focus maybe more than him now.  They are alive and well and growing and changing. I don’t want to miss out on any more of their lives just because I’m chasing after a pipe dream for Vernon. He may get better, but if he does, it will be after a long time…and I can’t think of anything new to help him at the moment.  Emotional energy is precious…and I want to make sure I have enough for the kids, who need me too.

PS After several days of aggressive and confused behavior from Vernon, I’ve called the doctor tonight to ask him to cut back on the Depakote perscription. We saw good signs after he was first put on it, but after an increase, he seems to have gotten worse. Could be something else entirely. I’m making notes here so I can remember later on…

 

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Shelf Lives
50 Years