To the Twentysomething Aide...
... who is giving my husband the side-eye, stink-eye and rolling of the eyes:
I have some stuff to write in your direction.
I'm know it may be difficult to come to work where the person you help take care of sometimes can be grumpy. Sometimes raises his voice. Sometimes loses his patience. Sometimes is angry. And, really, sometimes the wife can be a little controlling and nosy too.
I'm sorry it's not pleasant all of the time, every day you come to work.
When I come in to talk to my husband, I can see the looks of annoyance upon your face and it helps me to realize that this is just a job for you. A place to report to. A place get in and out as soon as possible. A quick paycheck. And, really that's okay. It's just a little more for us.
It makes me thankful for our caretakers who do get it. Who can forgive and look past and cultivate an environment that helps Jimmy be less angry, grumpy and upset. Who are nurturing. Who are better at hiding their looks of annoyance on the inside, if in fact, that look exists.
You see, Young Aide: Jimmy wakes up each day to the realization that it's not just a bad dream. That he can't just get out of bed. He can't do anything without assistance. He wakes up that everyday. And some days it's easier to deal than others.
We let caretakers into our home to help us with this huge task of helping this particular human function - because he needs help. We need help. Plain and simple.
He lets two caretakers come into his bedroom every morning, his worst time of day. He is in pain usually, from laying the same way for the last five or so hours. He's stiff. He's sore. He probably hasn't slept much at all. That's a safe bet.
He's not looking forward to you moving him in every which way, rolling, pulling, stretching, yanking - virtually sucking all the energy he could have had throughout his day. He knows it must be done, however. He wants to get out of bed and get dressed each day. It's something. Even if he can do much else all day. He gets up and gets dressed.
Jimmy faces some serious fatigue. This injury kicks his ass, most days.
He's tired, Young Aide. He's tired physically and mentally. He just wants to go back to sleep. He wants to wake up as he used to, three and a half years ago with his feet hitting the floor each and every morning. He doesn't ever say it... I can just see it.
His realization with the rising of each new sun is that it's not gonna happen.
Sure we've come a long way in grieving and acceptance. We dealt. We've adjusted. We've acclimated. But understand, Young Aide, that while we're grateful for your help, we're clawing and gasping trying to make it through each day, well after you leave.
We're facing daily challenges that we couldn't have imagine we'd once be facing. Two incredibly happy, clueless newlyweds...
The wedding pictures you walk past each morning you work, those people were so happy and naive. Even working in the brutal biz that is the news biz. There's a sense of, "It can't happen to you. You're the ones who report on all of the bad things happening. You're on the other side of it."
Can I just be weepy and whiny and say that it's so hard? This summer will mark four years since The Flying Tire. It's still can be so hard.
I feel like if you knew, you'd understand and maybe you'd have a warm ember in your heart for what Jimmy deals with each day.
We're doing it, Young Aide. Most days we make it look easy to outsiders.
But in reacting the way you do, you teach us that the world doesn't revolve around our injury, although we get sucked into feeling that way sometimes. Life goes on. Not everyone has the embery feelings regarding our injury and our situation. And, really, that's okay. It thickens our injured skin.
So maybe we're teaching each other a little something.