When Wayne lost his kidney function we adjusted to having him on dialysis, but when he had a stroke, then a perforated bowel and peritonitis on top of it, I cried loud and long...then I prayed until I couldn’t find any more words. When I came to terms with the problems that I was forced to face, a calm took over and I was able to look at the situation with a new perspective. It is hard to detach yourself when your beloved husband is lying on a sterile bed, looking so vulnerable, but if you must make plans for the future and the care of this person, you must know how to become detached.
When Wayne recovered a little bit from the stroke and the perforated bowel, I noted that his condition left him with memory loss and difficulty summoning the proper words when he was talking. He was confused at times, but it wasn’t too extreme and we could have dealt with that problem, but with the peritonitis complicating his condition we almost lost him.
At first when I realized the seriousness of his illness, it was hard to control my emotions. I started tearing up for no apparent reason. In fact, my emotions were often near the surface and I couldn’t push them down anymore. Of course, I was always full of questions and worry about Wayne’s condition. What am I going to do? When will I get to take him home, or to the apartment? What is his prognosis? Is he going to be a vegetable for the rest of his life? I knew that I would rather see him die than vegetate. But then I didn’t want to be without him either. It seemed like I was going crazy with all these questions.
I mourned the loss of our future. What happened to our dreams of traveling? We’d planned on living in Arizona in the winter with all our friends and spending the summers in Hermiston with our family. Our parents stole our dream when we had to care for them instead of being free to travel. Then Wane began to fail and his health problems ended all our plans, for the moment anyway. Sometimes I felt cursed---it had been one problem after another. It makes you ask why? Why are we the only ones who would care for our parents? Why couldn’t the other siblings take their turn? That’s an easy one to answer. With my mother, she refused to travel to Los Angeles to visit our family. She was afraid of flying and Southern California is so far away that if she wanted to come home, it would take too long. Mother has always been fearful. She was afraid of flying, driving too far from home, traveling with a group, and all the things she could do to enjoy life, she wouldn’t even consider. With Wayne’s mom and dad, we were close. His brother lived in Tucson, Arizona and visited very little with his parents.