Those little things I missed


Yesterday my husband fell and hurt his back. Couple that with the fact that he is in the middle stage of Alzheimer’s Disease and I have to ask and answer all the questions in the emergency room. In a sense, I have to play the mother role. The nurse insisted he needed a tentanus shot and quickly mumbled something about pain and possible fever, you know, just like with your children and grandchildren. And I thought, wait, I don’t know, but then we were moving on to other things, like how to tend the big scrape on Fred’s knee and how to handle the pain medication. I desperately hoped someone was writing it all down somewhere. People just assume that if you’re my age and married, you’re a mother and grandmother. Therefore you know all about wound care and shots and such.

The other challenge, since Fred couldn’t bend, was undressing and dressing him. My main experience in that area was with dolls and they didn’t yelp if you moved them the wrong way. It is truly difficult to put on socks and tie shoes from the opposite direction. Ditto for buttoning shirts. I guess moms get so much practice they can do it without thinking, and I suppose in the coming months and years as Fred’s illness progresses, I’ll get plenty of practice, too. But kneeling on the floor in my brand new pants, trying three times to get the shoe strings tight enough showed me I have a lot to learn.

How did he fall? While I was out running errands, he was running after the dogs, who escaped while he was cleaning up the back yard. He tripped on a jagged spot on the sidewalk and went flying. I pulled into the driveway to find Annie zooming by in whoosh of blonde fur and Fred hobbling to the car in tears, saying, “I’m hurt.” So add fixing that sidewalk, getting the dogs better trained to come when they’re called, and putting leashes near the door to my to-do list. A fisherman down the road had tried to lasso the pups with boat rope. Fred got Chico home, but Annie slipped out of the rope. Luckily she came straight to me when I got out of the car and I hauled her into the house. And yes, I need to think about whether it’s safe to leave Fred home alone for even an hour.

The good news: Fred is already feeling better, and he’s a lot of fun on vicodin.

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