It’s been crazy at Shady Acres. Ever since Christmas, there’s been coughing and sneezing and fevers and bronchitis and most recently, strep and The Flu! And this Delaware Grammy has pretty much had it all. Within the last two weeks, Cecilia, OGN and I have had strep and flu with the lingering cough that just doesn’t want to go away.
To make matters worse, last Wednesday morning, Valentines Day and all, right when I was feeling my worst, I picked up OGN’s breakfast medications and gave them to Cecilia. I spooned them into her mouth with her usual mashed banana and never noticed a thing. After she had left for center, OGN, who was sick as a dog, came out, looked over the carefully prepared breakfast sitting at her usual spot and said in her most accusing voice, “Mare-Ann! You gotta’ get my pills!”
I was sick. I was tired. I was fuzzy in my head. And I was cross. “I already have them out for you,” I said shortly, and went to get them from the medication area. They weren’t there. I looked over and saw that her morning pill box was sitting on the table, empty. I could not remember setting them over for her, but I said, “Didn’t you already take yours?”
OGN was sick, too, and she wasn’t wanting to listen. She just wanted her pills! Wearily, I turned back to the cupboard. I picked up the latched box that held Cecilia’s breakfast pill, and realized with terror what had happened.
Well! That huge mistake set into motion a big old investigation, and reports and documentations, and so many things that I hardly felt I had time for and knew I didn’t have the energy for. There are some interesting dynamics in this situation, but they are too complicated for me to go into them here. Suffice it to say that this Delaware Grammy has had to miss out on a lot of things between being sick as all get out and sitting at at my desk, or in my chair, sorting through lots of records, and making reports and getting all the medications organized so that we can go to a pharmacy generated multiple dosing system within the next week. It has been a mess, a big job, but there are “glory stories” written all over this past week, and I DO NOT WANT TO LOSES SIGHT OF THE GOOD STUFF!!!
So I’ve tried to keep my ears turned towards the eternal – listening for ways that I could help my husband, and to see what he needed ahead of time. Most of the time things were going okay in, and it seemed like, if I watched really closely, I could anticipate what he might need, or if not, I could ask him. Most of the time, he would let me get something if he knew I was in the area anyhow, but often he would protest that he was fine, and he didn’t want me to worry about him. So the last ten days have passed without too much angst between us.
Today has been especially busy on the medications front. I worked on emails and logs and forms and copying medication cards all day. Around 6:30 tonight, I realized that I wasn’t going to make it into the pharmacy with my carefully organized medications, and that I was also not going to be able to go to calling hours for Dr. Crabb. I stood at the kitchen sink and felt like crying. I knew I could go to the funeral tomorrow (probably!) but I wanted to go tonight and talk to the family and just be with them for a bit for old time’s sake. But I still had ladies to feed, my cough had gotten more ticklish as the day wore on, and I didn’t have my reports completed.
Certain Man came in from doing chores and decided to rustle up a salad for his supper. I offered to fix him something, but he waved me off. “You take care of the ladies,” he said. “I got this.” So, I made OGN and Cecilia their supper, got Cecilia into her jammies and back on her chair, then went back to my desk to work on some more reports. About ten minutes into my work of entering the extra prescriptions that I’ve had this month for OGN, I thought I heard him rustling around in the kitchen. I knew he had finished his salad, and I couldn’t figure out what he needed now.
“Sweetheart, ” I called from the study, “is there something I can get for you?” (Sometimes after he has eaten his meal, he decides he wants something else, but it isn’t as predictable as to what that might be since he has been trying to 1’cut back.”)
“Nope,” he answered cheerfully. “I’m just gonna’ make some sweet tea.” Oh, that’s right! The pitcher was empty after supper.
“I can make that for you,” I say, as I get up from my desk chair and come back out to the kitchen. “I’ll be glad to make that for you!”
“Nah,” he said, pulling the Tupperware container down from the cupboard where we keep our family sized tea bags. “I can make it. I gotta’ learn how sometime. You aren’t gonna’ live for– -gonna’ always be around to make the tea, and I need to know how.” He avoided looking at me as he dug the three teabags out and searched for the 4-cup pyrex measuring container that we use to make a gallon of sweet tea.
“Huh,” I said to him, “It’s true that I’m not going to live forever. I think there’s pretty much evidence to indicate that none of us live forever. But my question is, ‘What makes you think I’m going anywhere first???'” And I scrunched up my face at him.
And he didn’t even answer that question, at least not that I can remember, but he had the sense to laugh. I washed the pitcher, measured in the sugar, he brought the hot, steeping teabags and dumped them in the pitcher and I stirred while he poured in the ice. It turned out perfect in every way. He could have done it by himself, it’s true. He honestly does know how. That little observation about the reason he should be “learning to make sweet tea” was completely uncalled for.
And now, I’m going to go put ladies to bed and then try to finish some more charting while he watches his beloved Ohio State play basketball. It’s a quiet night at Shady Acres.