I feel like I’m leading a double life ever since Mitchell’s car crash last month.
I spend most days and nights at Cardinal Hill Rehabilita-tion Hospital in Lexington, keeping him company, monitoring medicines, noting procedures, observing exercises and doing what I can to engage him in activities during the long lulls between therapies, meals and bedtime.
Mason manages the other three kids’ busy lives during my extended absence and relieves me for a welcome respite at home occasionally.
It’s a little strange when I first walk in the door, though. I have to play catch up in my own house. I’ve always been the one who knows where things are. I was the “go to” person because I’m the only one who ever picks things up and puts them away. Now, I have to do the asking.
“Where’s all the mail?” I quiz them.
I’m not that curious since most are medical bills these days. But it’s a bad idea to ignore the bills because they won’t simply go away. So I dig through a stack of newspapers, school papers and miscellaneous stuff heaped on my counter and uncover the official looking business envelopes. I transfer them to the green plastic tray that I’d carefully marked “bills,” for my family’s benefit and my convenience. We’ll have a refresher course about that fine detail before I leave.
What I really want to do when I’m home is forget chores and just play outside with the kids.
We get out Bocci Ball and challenge ourselves not only to hit the tiny white ceramic ball with the bigger ones, but to find it in the tall grass in our weed-infested yard.
Or, Ruby, Ingrid and I take on Marlowe in a game of driveway basketball. It’s not really fair, three against one. In fact, I’d like to recruit a few more players to our side to even the odds against Marlowe and his killer three-point shot.
Things seem so normal again after I’m home for a few hours.
I find myself more satisfied with average, everyday things. Eating at favorite restaurants. Shopping at familiar stores. Walking around nearby neighborhoods. Seeing people I recognize. There’s something truly comforting about that.
When I return to Cardinal Hill, there’s an entirely different rhythm to life. It took a while to familiarize myself with the care providers, note their roles, figure out who to call for which problems and adjust to their schedule.
We’ve gotten past most of the nightly visits of taking vital signs, administering medicines and who knows what else they wake you up every 30 minutes to do.
It’s also a big help that Mitchell has rapidly progressed from answering questions with a thumbs up or down, to writing thoughts on a dry erase board, to now telling us what he wants in a hoarse whisper that gets stronger every day. That certainly takes the guess work out of making decisions.
Some of his written messages were heartwarming — “I think it’s going to be a great day” — to humorous. He asked for a drink of water once when the doctor hadn’t authorized it yet. When we told him “no,” he wrote: “But water is the source of life.”
Mitchell has three hours of therapy each day, mixing work with pleasure. A recent physical therapy session was spent in the recreation room, playing ping pong and foosball.
Eventually he’ll get to work out in the swimming pool. I’m so envious since I haven’t suited up in over a month.
Mitchell surprised his speech therapist with his good study habits. She read him a paragraph about different topics, then asked questions to see how much he remembered. He had a dry erase board next to him, so he took notes. He had all the answers to her questions written down.
As time marches by, we won’t need to stay around the clock with Mitchell. But for now, no matter how caring and competent the staff might be, I believe a family presence is our contribution to his therapies. Even if I’m just a gofer, going for ice water. Bringing an extra blanket. Supplying clean clothes.
Still, I hope it’s reassuring to have a familiar face around. Someone to play cards with. Watch TV together. Gather information about what’s on tap for the day at Cardinal Hill and in Richmond.
And soon, I’ll be ending my double life when he moves back home in a few more weeks.
I feel like I’m leading a double life ever since Mitchell’s car crash last month.
- Lifestyles & Community
Boost your energy without caffeine
When your energy level starts nose-diving in mid-afternoon, do you reach for a cup of java or that canned energy drink for help?
If so, you’re like a growing number of American men and women. In one recent USDA report, women in their 30s consume about 165 milligrams of caffeine each day, but by age 50, the daily average climbs to 225 milligrams.
While the cup of daily coffee isn’t bad ― the antioxidants in java are good for you ― a half dozen cups a day can be. Not only that, it’s like putting a bandage on the problem. Instead, combat your fatigue with these energy boosters.
Dream becomes reality only when you persevere
A young boy grew up in Berea, in a family that was blessed with a variety of musical talents.
His mother was a member of a female group who performed onstage regularly at Renfro Valley, in Rockcastle County.
This young man would routinely attend shows to watch his mother, and other artists, perform on stage. He was eager to learn from them every chance he could. He knew from a young age he wanted to pursue a career in the music industry and was willing to seek advice and mentoring from those who were experienced in the industry.
’Tis the season for giving
There is a feeling of pride that wells up in all parents when they see their children giving something of theirs to another person. It is all the more poignant when children are giving something that they greatly value and reflects a significant sacrifice on their part.
Young children are often looking for ways to contribute and help others’ out. The trick for parents is to have children continue their giving behaviors as they get older.
Moving to Richmond was the right decision
I was just thinking the other day about a decision I made 30 years ago that was definitely right.
I answered the call of First Baptist Church in Richmond to serve as its minister of music. My first Sunday in that position was Nov. 27, 1983.
The shopping frenzy cuts into Thanksgiving
Anyone who was out this weekend, whether to join in the bargain hunt or out of necessity, met with heavy traffic and people on a mission. Some in a great holiday mood and some frustrated with it all.
I heard a lot of talk about the days when the “blue law” that kept businesses closed on Sunday was in effect. This law came about in colonial times to keep a “rigid religious standard.” But as time progressed, it was shown that those not necessarily religious liked the idea, too, as a family day and day of rest from a busy world.
Does first Thanksgiving compare our observance?
I have done some research on what our forefathers actually ate on the first Thanksgiving in America. This is probably what happened.
Prepare your home for the holiday
Reading “The Night Before Christmas” has always been one of my favorite holiday traditions. In the poem the family has prepared for a visit from St. Nicholas with stockings hung by the chimney with care. The chimney must have been clean because Santa came down it with no trouble, just a little ashes and soot on his fur.
Difficult ordeal made easier by caring friends
I was just thinking the other day about a number of things related to my broken hip and that were happy experiences rather than difficult ones.
Resistance to change prevents opportunities
“I heard we may be getting a new computer system installed” a co-worker shares with you. “I heard the changes to the system may be pretty big. I don’t know if I can learn a whole new system again. It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that we had to upgrade to this one.”
St. Mark Christmas Bazaar Dec. 7
St. Mark's Christmas Bazaar will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. One of the favorite items, the Cookie Trays, a glass plate filled with delicious homemade cookies and decorated with holiday flair will again be available as will tables of other baked goods including pies, cakes, coffeecakes, fruitbreads, candy, and homemade bread. Jams, jellies and pickles will add to the goodies that will tempt your palate. There will also be craft items and a silent auction of two wooden angels, nearly life-size and handcrafted by parishioner Don Fourre, that will be a bargain. What would be a better time than now to purchase them to decorate the front of your home.
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