His Pleasure - Her Pain
“It`s really bad today Simon” she said to me.
“I know, I know,” I replied, gently lifting her out of bed and into her wheelchair. I got her comfortable, and then went off to the bathroom to empty the bowl of water I had just used to give her a bed bath with. It was almost a year now since she had had a proper bath, and I knew that fact really hurt her – getting into the bath was now just too painful for her.
When I had emptied the bowl, washed it, rinsed the sink, and returned the bowl to its usual place under the sink so I could find it again, I returned to the bedroom to collect her.
She looked ashen. Her face was drawn, she was pale and weak, and I could see the pain wracking her body.
“Let`s get you down stairs and get your pills.”
She nodded weakly. “Not that they do much good,” She said.
“Don`t be like that. You have to remain positive. We have an appointment with Dr. Ruben later today. We`ll see what he says. Come on – let`s get you to the chair lift.”
So I pushed the chair towards the top of the stairs. She can`t work the chair herself any more – her hands are now permanently screwed into claws, and she tells me the pain throughout her arms, hands and legs is intense. So I have to do almost everything for her – which affords her little dignity or independence.
I lifted her into the chair lift at the top of the stairs, and she managed to operate the controls to start it on its descent. I walked down slowly, keeping pace with her, watching her, and at the bottom I transferred her into the second wheelchair we keep on the ground floor.
“Are you cooking something?” She asked me.
“Of course! I`m always cooking – you know that.”
She smiled weakly again. Cooking was now one of my very, very few pleasures.
“What are you making?”
“Something for you – as always! Now let me get you into the lounge and put the telly on. I will fix us some breakfast.”
“Will you sit with me?”
“Yes, I`ll sit with you. But just for a while. I have stuff in the oven, ok?”
It`s not that I don`t want to sit with her you understand. Of course I do. But she enjoys television, and I hate it. When she puts it on, as she has all our married life, I am ignored. So why does she want me there? I have never understood. But I compromise. I sit and watch her.
The things in the oven were done. I took the tray out and set it aside to cool. She never came into the kitchen. It was too dangerous. She was all but immobile without my help, and if I had hot pans in my hand… well, you get the picture. Safer she never came in here.
I took the pills to her.
“It`s bad Simon. Can I have more than 2… Please?”
“Come on – we`ve been through this. The doc said to be very careful!”
She swallowed them with some water, and I left to make breakfast.
I made us scrambled eggs, toast and bacon, placed it all on trays (hers on her special tray of course, so that it would fit safely on her chair), and took it through. Some crap daytime breakfast show was on – a couple of talent-less wankers pretending to be knowledgeable about current affairs, blabbering on about the headlines in the papers – doing no more than READING the headlines really!
So we sat there with this crap on and ate. She was riveted. I ate silently and watched as she struggled to do one of the few things she was still capable of – feeding herself.
When she had finished I began to clear up. I had long since finished mine. As I began to carry the trays out, she told me she needed the toilet. I put the trays down, wheeled her out to the stair lift, transferred her, walked up, put her in the other chair, and took her to the toilet. I waited outside until she has finished, helped her clean up, then took her back downstairs again. Then I finished cleaning up the breakfast stuff.
Later on we went out for a walk. I pushed her into town, and we slowly wandered along through the streets. People are always somewhat surprised to see disabled people I think. They get a little annoyed that they might have to move out of the way, or hold a door open for us. We went to a pub for a drink, and struggled to find somewhere to place her while I went for drinks. She hates being left alone, but what can I do??
We got to the doctors surgery early. I placed an old magazine in her hands so she could have a look. She could only just manage to very clumsily flip through it. After an age, Dr. Ruben was ready to see us.
“How have you been?” He asked, despite being able to tell at a glance, I am sure, that she was far from any better than the last time he had seen her.
The weak smile again. “I`ve been better doc. Simon here has been wonderful though.”
The doctor checked her over, but I could see he was perturbed. “We will have to increase the dosage again I`m afraid. I really wish the specialist appointment would hurry up though!” He turned to me. “Are you coping ok? Are you getting enough help, enough rest? I know you want to try and cope alone, but you will need some help at some point Simon!”
“I`m fine. She`s my wife.”
He gave us the prescription and we left, headed to the pharmacy, and got her the higher strength pills. Then we set off for home.
The days are pretty much all like this. I cooked tea, and we ate, watching some other crap on telly. I watched her struggle though the pain as she ate. Then I washed and cleared up.
Into the chair lift, up the stairs, into the chair at the top, into bed for a bed bath.
“It`s time for my pills again!”
“I know. They are down stairs. I`ll go and get them.”
I went down and found the new bottle of pills. Then I emptied them into the bin, and topped the bottle up with the coloured plain flour ones I had baked this morning.
“Here you go,” I said as I gave her two. “These will take the pain away.”