Sleep deprivation can really make you think about all the things that scare you to death. When you are fighting a man who is out of his mind, you wonder why God doesn’t just end his life and be done with it? Why put him through such misery? I know that I could never take a person’s life, but the thought ran through my mind more than once. My frustration at not being able to calm him made me crazy too.
I know that Wayne had no control over what was happening to him, but twenty-four hours without any sleep will do strange things to your mind and body. There were many nights that I stayed awake all night and those were the nights that I wrote all night long. When I was really tired, I would sit by the side of his bed in a chair with a pillow leaning on the bars of his hospital bed, trying desperately to grab a few minutes of sleep. I would hold onto his hand, trying to calm him down, but to no avail. I tried to nap during the day when he was sleeping, to give me the strength to stay awake all night. This routine would last for about two weeks, then he might sleep through the night for a couple of days, and then he’d become restless all night again. It was like having a sick baby, only I was too old to handle it like I could when I was young.
Of course, I got through those trying times, even though I didn’t like them very much. That’s what I took on when I asked to take care of him myself. His doctor made me promise that if the burden got to be too much, I would talk with him about it. Caring for Wayne was more than I had bargained for. But I believe that it was better than a cold, heartless nursing home, where they would have sedated him to keep him quiet.
I knew that while he was in the nursing home he was never really awake. I believe that he must have been sedated all the time. I know that if I had had a strong sedative those nights when he was wrestling with demons, I would have used it many times just to get some sleep. Instead I drank a lot of coffee at night---strong coffee, and I don’t even like it. We are lucky in one way; he didn’t remember any of the first six months we spent in Portland. Of course, with him not remembering any of this, it was difficult to explain everything that had happened to him. That would start the questions.
It isn’t easy to find answers to these questions. I tried to explain his complicated medical problems. I told him that his doctor calls him his miracle patient. They didn’t think he had a chance to survive--but he did. So, I simply ask him to count his blessings. He has a wife who would do anything for him, two daughters who love him dearly and don’t want to lose him, two darling grandchildren who visit him often and bring cheer to his day, a niece who visits regularly, and our wonderful neighbors, who are about the best.
There are times when he becomes depressed about his condition, when he wishes he had died. He says that we would all have been better off. But that is the pain talking, plus not being able to play his favorite game of golf anymore. We still have the goal that he will regain the strength in his legs, so that golf will again be his entertainment, not just watching from the sidelines. After all, one miracle happened when he survived his ordeal. Perhaps another is just around the corner.
Readers: If this is helpful to you, please write and let me know.