Wednesday, February 19, 2014

MY LOVE STORY - Ed and Mariam

It has been a long 2 years, 1 month, 3 weeks, 3 days and 5 hours, it has been a short 2 years, 1 month, 3 weeks, 3 days and 5 hours since the up and down road began.

Christmas 2011.  My sweetheart had to give up his “yob.”   He considered washing dishes to be his part of the kitchen work and he handled the cleaning with more efficiency and joy than I ever did.   On Christmas Day his feet would no longer hold him.

With his power chair, and he took pride in turning it in an almost staying in the spot swivel, we still went to the in-house lunchroom.  For a while.  Gradually the getting ready, dressed with the neatness that he required, took its toll and we applied for home delivered meals.

He no longer left the apartment, only once in over a year, for a flu shot.  He joined the society of Hospice, another story of great people. We had our Activities, our Events.  Ballgames made the number one hit list.  With DVR we taped Nova, the History, Travel and this turned into a good life for us.

Breathing became more difficult and gradually his mode of travel was our steno chair from bed to living-room Lazy Boy.  Then the day came when he could not lift himself to the bedside commode.  The urinal waited for such a day and Ed fought it.  “Let me get up,” came in angry tones.  “Please, you can’t, you’ll fall.”  Fall he did, a tangle of tubing, legs and potty chair.  I made calls to our wonderful Fire Department and Hospice with lots of help coming quickly.

The next couple of days turned out to be an experiment in finding out what I could do and what I couldn’t do.  Despite his pleas, I continued to explain “Sweet man, I can not lift you.”  His anger said, “Then I will do it by myself.” 

His talking became one word that I had to decipher.  Two exceptions, both at his side after a short nap. 

“Don’t take me too soon” and “Give me an hour.”

By Tuesday morning,  I knew that I had to have help.  I called son Fred and made arrangements for Fred and my special daughter-in-law Magaly, to come.  I called Cornerstone Hospice and made arrangement for our wonderful Service Coordinator Theresa to come.   

Theresa put her skills to work and found a very good nursing home with an available bed.  Hospice would take care of all expense for a few days then he would go for long term care, using as much money as Ed had, then to a different plan.

All settled.  The transport would pick Ed and Mariam up between seven and eight in the evening, Fred and Magaly would meet us there to take me back to their home.

I got all necessary to take with me for both Ed and Mariam.  I put on clean clothes wearing Ed’s favorite blouse.  We had an hour left.  I laid on the bed with our heads together, our arms together, our hands together.  Ed’s words were mumblings and I could not understand.  Our bond was still strong, I knew what he was saying.  I talked some and we played hand teasing games some and I rubbed his neck some.  We were home on our bed with each other.  For this moment, we wanted nothing more.

Mix-up came about on the transportation.  The man showed up with a wheelchair instead of a gurney.  I took him in to Ed’s bed and explained that a gurney would be necessary.  Ed acknowledged the man’s greeting, appeared to be aware of what was going on.

A little more confusion and I had to call the Fire Department in order to move Ed downstairs.  As the firemen were coming down the hall I went back into the bedroom.  Ed had just left.

My sweet man had fooled us all.  He planned on dying at home and his timing was perfect. 

I know and my sister Nancy knows that my brother-in-law John waited for Ed.  They had the same delightful low key humor and now together they enjoy the trick that Ed had pulled.  He wasn’t going to a nursing home, he wasn’t going to spend his hard-saved dollars on what he considered unnecessary care.  He had used his last hour in the kind of happiness he wanted.

One last blessing.  After all the necessary people and equipment had left, I went out on the porch to talk to God.  There have been many such talks in the years since we have been in this apartment. 

I said,  “Thank you, God.  Thank you for letting him leave from his home.  Thank you for letting him go with so much peacefulness.  Thank you for answering my pleas.” 

As I stood there, the full moon, the full moon that Ed put up there for me every month, came out from behind the clouds.  I knew that Ed was on his way in peace and carrying my love with him.

This is for you, Ed, my sweetie pie, my sweet man.

Wednesday February 19, 2014 6:00 pm