Caregiver? Caretaker? Part 3.

Final Instalment of a continuous narrative by Gemma Tammas.

While we are regularly visiting his doctors, two more inflections added to his failing health. Hearing loss, and cataracts. Many times, I have to shout at him because his hearing aid is not in its place.

Only yesterday, he was telling me about a woman, who was interviewed on the news, saying she traveled to San Diego to learn about a diet. Tom told me that woman became a nun.

“That’s what she said,” he insisted and it was no point to dissuade him otherwise. It wouldn’t have changed his mind anyway.

I help him to read as his eyes get tired and every phone call fell on my shoulders as Tom’s voice became scratchy, mumbling his words.

Losing his health big time along with his driver’s license, still he is asking “How can I help you?”

When I give in and tell him what to do, he forgets it and I have to control myself not to tell him off.

His memory is failing but he still remembers our phone number in Hungary fifty years ago.

When we are going shopping, he gets out of the car and starts shuffling in a different direction. I have to run after him grabbing his hand.

My life, our life, changed.  We had to give up small pleasures like walking in the field for an hour with our dog, Heidi, going to the seashore for a stroll.

Heidi, our ten year old Rottweiler, recently became paralyzed from her waist down, unable to take only a few steps before she collapses, then I have to lift her up and put her on her feet.

Some days I question myself. Why, why me who is burdened to do all these things. Then I look at Tom, and I see in his eyes the suffering, the hopelessness, but still a tremendous willpower to live.

Then I pat Heidi’s head and I feel her energy passing through my body, and even in her crippled condition, she gives me strength to go on, to take every day as it comes and enjoy it to the fullest.

My heart aches, when I see both in reclining health, but still, I feel fortunate to able to take care of them.

Caretaker? Caregiver? I rather call myself a wife and mother.

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