Well, it's been one fucker of a week. I've decided not to write any more about my husband's health issues, partly because I feel as though it's private and partly because just dealing with it at this time is emotionally draining. What I will say is that I'm learning on the fly, and have incredible respect for others who have become caregivers of a loved one with Alzheimers. I will say that the situation effects me 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I am fortunate that I have two good friends who are both nurses, and one sister who is very supportive. My sons and daughter, her husband and his family, plus my mother help me more than they know. That being said, it's like walking on a tightrope, knowing there is a net that will eventually break. Everyone tells me now is the hardest part. Everyone says enjoy the good moments, and I do. That's not the problem. The problem is suddenly I must be in charge of things I've never done before and am not good at. Taxes. All of the odd jobs that come with house repair, both inside and out.
It helped that the crazy heat wave turned into cooler days and even cooler nights.
I forced myself to go out and weed the garden, which in turn led me to paint a canvas umbrella and then bring strings of colorful paper cranes to hang beneath it, above the table. We had dinner outside that night, even had fresh leaf lettuce straight from the garden. It was a lovely night, the cicadas singing along with the birds, "who wants sex? who wants leg rubbing? who wants to make love for one night?"
Today my mother and I went to the Veterans' Hospital Greenhouse to buy plants; a cheerful young man greeted us with open arms and the magic words, "Everything is half-price!" I was in heaven, as I pointed to patio tomatoes, nasturtiums, Thai sage, windowbox trailing plants that will have snowy white blossoms, a huge hanging basket of deep purple and white petunias, variegated maroon and lime yellow coleus, and four different kinds of peppers. The man helping me talked me into begonias, which I've never really liked and a mixed planting of several succulents, which he said he grew on his windowsill. It took a little while for the other worker to check out my purchases, using a new scanner and computer. I didn't care and neither did my mother as she flirted with an elderly gentleman who started out by announcing he was 75 per cent off.
After we paid and filled the car with all the plants, we headed over to the Foxhole Cafe, another program run by veterans who live there. The head guy always remembers me and gives me samplings of his latest experiments. For eight dollars, I had smoked pulled chicken, potato salad, and cheesecake with real cherries, all lovingly made by this guy named Fred. Even though it was cloudy and cool, we ate outside with some of the patients and Fred. Everyone smokes cigarettes, even though they're not supposed to, and it's the one place I don't care. A groundhog ran across the courtyard and there were jokes about who could have shot it first, but no one had a gun.
I told Fred about playing tennis after 30 years and he laughed. He said he was left-handed and hadn't played in years, wasn't sure if he could remember. He flipped a few burgers, then asked if I played golf. "No", I said, "my Dad tried to teach me at least once but I didn't have the knack for it." He said, "Well, we're moving the Cafe down to the driving range on Monday. You could practice there." I thought about it less than a second and said, "Yeah, that's an excellent idea."