It’s only eight at night. Fatigue drapes across my shoulders like a weighted blanket. The house is quiet. Dishes are in the sink and a load of laundry is in the dryer — both needing attention.
I pick up toys and put them away, sweep the kitchen floor and moved some items around in the living room and bedroom. I needed a path wide enough for a walker. I study the bathtub, wondering if the narrow trough is wide enough for a shower stool, then, if I should pick up a booster for the toilet.
I go outside and shovel a slightly wider path across the deck and into the driveway. Ice melt is sprinkled to prevent risky slick spots. I return inside and assemble a casserole which could be slid into the oven the next day.
I start to second guess myself and repeat my actions. I need restorative rest. The Hubs is coming home from physical rehab and I need to prepare. I crawl into bed seeking sleep and my mind continues to race. Should I roll up the area rug in the living room? What if he trips? Should I order one of those Life Alert buttons for him to wear? How will he manage the steps? Will he need oxygen? Will he have monitors to track his vitals, what if he aspirates? So many questions mixed in with concerns about working remotely, balancing with taking care of a lively four-year-old.
Thankfully, some kind and generous souls have dropped off casseroles and hearty soups which were tucked away in the freezer. They would be godsends within the week. I fall asleep reviewing grocery needs.
At 3:17 in the morning, Sparky climbs into bed with me. He tells about a nightmare he had in which daddy didn’t come home and he is really sad. It breaks my heart hearing his sweet voice telling me of a fear which could easily have been true. He sinks back into slumber snuggled against me. I am awake visiting with events of the last month.
The helplessness of not knowing anything about his care and status the first week of hospital care for COVID-19 and all the complications that came with it. The shocked rage when informed his intensive care doctor said he was going to die and there was nothing they were going to be able to do to prevent it. The sick fear when learning his delirium was an indication of probable mortality.
The gut-wrenching decision to transfer hospitals despite the high risk because there was nothing to lose at that point. The conversation where I begged the nurse to hold his hand for a while so he wouldn’t feel so alone as he drifted in and out of consciousness. The debate as to whether or not to wash his pillowcases, wanting to preserve a memory for his son if necessary.
Then, memories of the phone call from his nurse who joyfully related he was off the ventilator (again) and was coherent. The phone call which delivered a weak and whispered “I love you,” which I thought I would never hear again. Reports of milestones, sitting on the side of the bed, taking a sip of water, brushing his teeth, standing up and dozens of other tasks that I took for granted but he had to relearn. I thought of the kindness showered upon us by so many. Prayers, food, resources, assistance, notes and phone calls with encouragement. Each priceless beyond measure.
In the morning, I will do another walk-through of the house, examining everything for preparedness. I will drop Sparky at the babysitters and run a few errands before arriving at the care facility to pick up my husband of 17 years. He has lost weight and is weak, but he is coming home. A miracle made possible by thousands of prayers and the tender care from dedicated health care workers.
The next few months will be difficult. He will be rebuilding his strength and immune system. He will be forced into eating a better diet and bullied to do his exercises. There will be conflict and frustrations. There will be healing and like the days creeping toward spring, each will be less bleak and a reminder that rebirth is possible and life, is indeed miraculous.
From the bottom of my heart, I give thanks for the blessings you have shared with our family as we struggled. We couldn’t have done it without you.
Written and submitted by Sarah Roush for The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.