It seems that I always have a little blue-day after a getaway, especially when I hit the ground running. In this case, I was only gone a few days, so I didn’t really expect it. Well, I didn’t know what to expect, actually…I never do with Vernon.
When I went to see him this morning, his eyes were clamped shut and he kept moaning that he was ill…that he wanted “to be killed,” that he didn’t want to live anymore. It took me by surprise as I haven’t heard this kind of talk from him yet (thankfully!) and I didn’t know how to respond. While the technicians were setting him up for Dialysis, I called my mom and cried. That’s my default, often.
He kept saying the same sort of thing to the nurses who were helping him, and he tossed and turned, obviously uncomfortable. Setbacks still hit me hard, even though I should be used to them by now. For all I know it was a hard night last night in which he didn’t get any sleep, and he’ll be better tomorrow. But when I haven’t been around for a few days, I can’t tell anything for sure. I have to remember not to get so emotional over small changes. He hasn’t had a mat treatment for over a week though, so its my assumption that he needs to be charged up again soon. We’ll try to get him that this week.
While I was gone though, I did have some wonderful people step up to help out. Nancy, Joe, and Mary went up on Friday during dialysis and spent time talking about fonts. I ran into Mary at Costco today and she told me all about it. She did say he had improved a lot since the last time she had been up—always encouraging! Nathan (an old friend I used to work with before leaving for the UK with Vernon) contacted me a few months ago, asking if he could help in any way. Though I still haven’t seen him since then, he and his bandmate drove up on Sunday to play music in the courtyard for whomever was around to listen. Elizabeth, a friend from college, whom I also haven’t seen in years and years, offered to sit with Vernon on Saturday, even though she lives in Los Angeles. She sent me a detailed letter of their time together (and a photo too!)
I am so blessed to know that unexpected people will show up to serve, sometimes out of the blue. I think of a classic battlefield, with rows of soldiers in the front…replaced by a new row when the first is fatigued. Vernon has a lot of people who care about him, I wonder if he understands at all? I’d like to think so…if only a little bit.
As for my personal life, I rely on my soldier-friends too.
My dear friend Nicole (whom I’ve known since I was 20) and I drove up to Berkeley to visit Lucy (whom I’ve known since I was 15) last weekend. We’ve all spent time together over the years and it was great to be together yet again. Lucy had just moved to Berkeley from Seattle, and I was so happy to finally be in the same state with her again that I had to go up and “warm the house.” But spending time with old friends is golden. No one knows you the same way that old friends do…and for me, it was a time of sharing dreams and insecurities. It turns out that both of my dear friends have experience with hospital and hospice care for loved ones of their own. It’s something we talked about a lot: the value of caring for others in difficult times, and exploring one’s identity apart from (or because of) that. I came back, well-fed and refreshed for the next chapter.
(Trying to obey the signs.)