My days are punctuated by going to see my Darling Husband in the hospital. It's where I am now, at 3.20pm. He is pretty much asleep, curled up in apparent comfort. When I touched him gently and said his name, he murmured, 'What are you doing back here?' (That's good. He remembers I was here this morning.)
'I've come to visit you,' I said. He murmured even more softly that he was tired, so I stroked his hand and told him that was OK, I'd brought something to read. However, it's been days since I journalled and I don't want to let the practice lapse, so I'm doing this instead.
This morning he was sitting on the veranda, slumped over, but he brightened when I arrived, and I helped get some morning tea into him. The nurse said he'd been asking for me constantly; but after about an hour he got tired and suggested I'd better go. This is the usual time-span for visits. Then he seems to sleep most of the afternoons — which is not unusual at home, either.
He has antibiotics administered by canula, and his urine is still being drained by catheter, which saves a lot of messing around. This morning I took him through his arm and leg exercises and his breathing exercise. He did them all right, though the arms seem weak. It seems little enough to stave off muscle weakness, but I do it every time I'm here.
They say he's getting better, joking and giving cheek, and managing to feed himself. 'Had a busy morning,' they say. It's true, while I was here this morning, he drank his thickened liquid from the cup by himself, rather than me spooning it into him.
He asked several times this morning when he could come home with me. I kept telling him I wish with all my heart he could, I'd like nothing better, but it can't be until he's well enough.
Meanwhile both cats are off their food. Levi got the symptom first, so I took him to the vet on Friday. All tests were OK, so I've been told to feed him little and often, tempt him with his favourite food, and warm it. So far he has had only the tiniest bit even so, and Freya is now the same. I have to take Levi back to the vet tomorrow if he's still not eating by then. I think I'll be taking Freya too! I have prawns to tempt them with tonight. Will also get some little cat treats.
He woke, and I gave him his afternoon tea and a left-over banana from his lunch, spooning the thickened liquid into his mouth and breaking the food into tiny pieces.
He kept asking to come home, but he is unable even to adjust his body in the bed, and it took two nurses to make him comfortable enough to be able to sit up and have his afternoon tea. At home, recently, he was having great difficulty wriggling his body in bed to get comfortable. When he was in Heritage he complained that the bed wasn't comfortable. I wonder if it was not the bed that was the problem but his inability to make himself comfortable in any bed.
Today I stroked his head — and found a lump on the back. Did this happen when he went wandering that night? He said he had no memory of anything before coming to and finding himself lying in the road. Did he have a fall and knock himself out?
Also I am concerned that his head is usually slumped forward. Even when he straightens it, he seems unable to lie it back very far.
He knows me, and he is now mostly lucid, with very few hallucinations or moments of confusion. But he says little, and spends much time silent and staring into space, or with eyes closed even when he's awake. He seems to have to summon up strength to come back from somewhere in order to answer any questions. Then sometimes he will come out of it a moment and volunteer a remark. When I feed him, we are both fully engaged in those actions, truly living in the present moment.
But this evening when his dinner arrived, he wanted to feed himself, and he was managing OK so I left him to it. The nurses were keeping a close eye on him. Tomorrow I am seeing the doctor. It will be about me, as I haven't completely shaken the bug I had (I am told it can last for weeks, and recur) but it will also be about him and what the prognosis is now. I can see that there is some improvement, but oh, so slow and gradual! I believe I'll be cancelling his next dentist's appointment too (already cancelled one).
He is not the least interested in reading yet, but when I told him what I am reading, he asked if he could borrow it when I'm finished. He yearns towards the normal life we have had, and I don't think he recalls that just being at home had become awkward and uncomfortable of late. I tell him he will come back home soon and see the cats — which he is eager to do — and don't remind him that he will be based elsewhere and coming home only on visits. I don't know how it will go, but I hope he will be able to see it as having two homes. It doesn't appear that it will be very soon.