Thursday, August 15, 2013

No, You May NOT Make a Suggestion

My husband is a wonderful co-caregiver. We make a terrific team and it warms my heart to see Robert look at Richard with respect and admiration. I appreciate his help more than he will ever know.

But sometimes I want to strangle him.
Through thick and thin - we are a
great team!

Our morning routines are scheduled down to the minute.

Because of Richard’s back pain, he’s usually up by 4:30 a.m. (after a fitful night’s rest).

I wake up at 5:15 so I have a few minutes of me time (okay, time to go to the bathroom, pet the dogs and cat and throw on a sweater) before waking up Robert and giving him his meds at 5:30.

Richard makes breakfast for the dogs and Robert (and rarely mixes up the two).

He also packs a lunch for Robert and makes me a mocha which is greatly appreciated! Isn’t he awesome?

I strip the bed and start laundry then help Robert with his bath and hustle him to get dressed. He gets more meds at 6:00. Richard goes upstairs to shower and get dressed.

I work at wearing out the puppy and try to read a few emails.

By 6:40, Robert is heading to the dining room table for breakfast and Richard is back downstairs.

My turn to get ready for work. I run upstairs while Robert eats breakfast and reads his Jeopardy question of the day from his day calendar.

By 7:15 Robert needs to be back in the bathroom to brush his teeth and, if there’s time, shave.

Oh, yeah, there are more meds at 7:15.

The van arrives anywhere between 7:40 and 7:50.  Usually Robert is on the couch by then, dodging the puppy and working his Word Search.

There is very little wiggle-room built-in. I could wake him up earlier than 5:30 but then we run the risk of him not getting enough sleep which could increase his seizures.

On a recent morning, Robert needed to use the restroom before the van arrived. Oh boy. You have to be quick, I remind him.

I run back upstairs to finish getting ready and when I return, I know there’s a problem.

He’s still in the bathroom and it’s 7:40. This can’t be good.

I open the bathroom door and immediately know there’s a problem.  I tell Robert not to touch anything. He touches his protective brief.


I grab new briefs and shorts and hope his shirt is unscathed (it is, thank goodness).  I ask Richard to ask the van driver if he’ll wait a couple of minutes while I clean Robert and get him dressed again. 

Richard offers to instead drive Robert to Day Program. 

No, I’m sure the driver will wait a minute. I just have to get Robert cleaned up.

I get to work wiping and cleaning.  I need more wipes; Richard brings them to me.

Robert is finally all cleaned up so I help him put on his briefs. We use two briefs on Robert so he doesn’t have as much leakage and right now I’m in too much of a rush and rip the first one as I pull it up. 

Crap (pun intended). 

I grab another brief and start over.  Richard tells me the driver said he could wait.


Then he says, “May I make a suggestion?”

I have a garbage can full of messy briefs, gloves and wipes, I’ve been rushing around to finish quickly and I’m still trying to get the briefs and shorts up and Robert out the door.


My mouth says nothing.

He makes his suggestion and I think I’m going to lose my mind.

What’s funny (now that several days have passed) is every other time I help Robert get dressed, I do it the way Richard suggested (put on both briefs and shorts all at once and then pull up). I do it that way every single time.

Except this once. 

Now (since several days have passed) I can appreciate the help he did give me that morning.

Since several days have passed, I can again remember how grateful I am for him and for being the best co-caregiver I could ask for.

But, no, you may not make a suggestion.

It’s still too soon.


Jane said...


You are so funny :) I laughed about what your eyes were saying. I can so totally relate. I would have responded the same way in the same circumstance.

You and Richard are such wonderful caregivers.


Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Jane, I'm happy we made you laugh. I need to remind myself to keep my eyes quiet. :-)