Monday, September 29, 2008

Things I Miss, 2

I miss caring for and tending to Reginald.

I miss cooking for him when he could keep some food down – always iffy, since he was on chemotherapy from last December through April, and on multiple antibiotics continuously from then on. I miss getting him cans of Ensure or Gatorade when those were the only things he could keep down.

I miss rigging up and administering IV drip medications, and changing surgical wound dressings.

I miss the rare good days in the hospital – the days when Reginald didn’t have too much pain or nausea, and I would sit reading or working on my laptop while he slept or worked on his own computer.

I miss driving him around town to doctors’ visits – over the last several months, when he wasn’t in the hospital, he saw one or another doctor almost every day.

A few days ago I was talking with someone on the phone and mentioned that there were some health care smells that I’d as soon never smell again, alcohol swabs, wound prep swabs, saline solution. That wasn’t quite right: I long to smell those smells, but while nursing him at home or being with him while nurses tend to him in the hospital. I miss the less pleasant bile and vomit smells, too, and the task of emptying and cleaning vomit basins.

To be clear: I don’t miss the bad smells and the vomit and other fluids themselves. Even less do I miss the suffering, pain, and nausea Reginald felt for so long. But much of the past year, all I could do was tend to him the best I could and show my love by doing so. I often felt miserable to not be able to do more – nursing him often felt like the least I could do when it was the most I could do – but I miss being able to at least do that.


Brad Richard said...

Robert, thank you for sharing things that mean so much, whether they come from joy or pain. It's beautiful and bracing to be reminded of the total reality of love--and very moving to know what you miss about the life you shared with Reginald.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Missing helping & being able to provide comfort ... Yes, of course.