Bugger Off

August 28, 2012 at 5:20 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

“He is packing it in and packing it up And sneaking away and buggering up And chickening out and pissing off home, Yes, bravely he is throwing in the sponge.”

Minstrel singing, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”

The calendar is blank.  A year ago my day planner had the words “Mike in” and “Mike out” sprinkled all over the little boxes.  These words designated when the husband was traveling.  Sunday to Tuesday in California, home Tuesday night then out Wednesday morning for meetings in Pittsburg and home Friday night.  That was a typical week and it was the rhythm of our lives.  I had free time galore and I filled it with book clubs, racket ball matches, buddy runs, happy hours with the girls, volunteering at the library, yoga, playing bridge, skiing in winter and hiking in warmer months, going to plays, trying out new restaurants, and tending my tiny flower bed.  Not exactly a meaningful life, but a break after years of parenting and working at the library. We downsized and moved to a college town. I was having fun while figuring out what was next and wondering if my career-driven husband would ever slow down.

I never would have guessed that what was next was solo care-giving for my 57 year old husband.  Actually that wasn’t next.  “Next” was diagnosis, treatment (or rather treatment failure) hospital stays, keeping his status on a need-to-know basis and now hospice at home.  I never missed an appointment with him.  I took notes, did research, dealt with the insurance companies, set the appointments, brought the pills, ran to the pharmacy, and ran interference.  No one was to know.  He was going to have the treatment and then life would go on as close to usual as possible.  Except it didn’t work out that way.

In my darker moments I wonder, who will take care of me when I can’t take care of myself?  Caring for someone even after the doctor visits and hospital visits are over is exhausting.  It’s not the physical challenge (thank goodness he is a small man) but the mental ones.  Be upbeat, be entertaining, be compassionate, and be all about him.  Don’t think about the future, don’t think about next week, and don’t think about tomorrow.  Tomorrow will be the same as today.  I know there are good people out there that care for a loved one for years and years and it makes me want to flog myself for selfishly wishing for my old life.

So would I pack it in? Would I “bravely” throw in the sponge? I hardly know how to answer that.  I love the ending of “Thelma and Louise” where they drive off the cliff.  I know that is Hollywood but why not just piss off home and bugger out?

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