Wednesday, September 08, 2010
A Small Quotient of Happiness
I helped her get from the wheelchair to the edge of the bed and my assistant lifted her legs as we boosted her frail body into a comfortable position. She asked for a pain pill while I adjusted the oxygen flow on her bedside unit. We had just met with her husband who wanted her moved to a rehab unit where she would have more intensive therapy so she could walk on her own again. She had been quiet during the discussion and now that we were alone I asked her where she would like to be.
“Home,” she said without hesitation.
So I wasn’t the only person who knew she did not have the potential for independence.
“Why didn’t you say that when everyone was here?” I asked.
“I have been happily married for 10 years,” she said.
I looked with surprise at her aged face and asked how long she had been married.
“Fifty-seven years,” she said flatly. “We only celebrated three anniversaries together in our marriage. He was always busy and our lives were very separate. Now he has to care for me all the time and it is very wearing for both of us. He is pushing me to be independent so he can resume his own life. He doesn’t want to spend the money for the extra care I need.”
“Do you have any children?” I asked.
“Two,” she said, “and they are almost perfect.”
I didn’t want to know what she meant by that.