by Gwynn Rogers
New Year’s Eve’s early morning started off with a BANG, CRASH, and THUD! I jumped out of bed and ran around the corner of our short hall directly into the living room of our tiny apartment.
There sprawled on the floor was my husband. He had passed out again. We must have looked like an episode of Oliver and Hardy, where Oliver misses a step on the ladder crashing to the ground while Hardy–me–runs around in frantic circles. As my husband lurched toward the floor he hit our oak corner table shoving it into the wall of our tiny apartment. There was a slight indentation in the wall. You can say we have made our impact on the apartment.
My mornings frequently start out this way since Christmas Eve 2015–one year ago.
My friends and I believed that after raising children our senior years would become easier . . . Golden Years. Then on Christmas Eve night in 2015, while my husband and I were lounging in bed watching TV, he turned to me and uttered: “Call 911! I can’t take the pain any longer.”
I thought: But this is Christmas Eve. We have plans to enjoy Christmas day with our son.
So, turning to John I muttered “How about if I drive you to the hospital?” thinking that we would get to the hospital, the doctor would give John some medicine to settle his tummy, and then we could come home.
My husband evidently didn’t see the confusion in my eyes. I was scared and concerned for my husband, but I wanted to enjoy Christmas with my family.
John emphatically muttered, “No! Call 911. My acid reflux is killing me.”
As it turned out, the acid reflux was killing him but it wasn’t acid reflux. John had a serious hiatal hernia that was extraordinarily large, twisted around his stomach, pushing into his lung, and turning gangrenous. To add to the fun, my husband has such extraordinarily low blood pressure that he would stand up and pass out. I was hoping the doctor and hospital aides would wrap him in bubble wrap.
Now after several surgeries and a barrage of tests the doctors still don’t know why John passes out. Consequently, at night when he gets up and attempts to use the bathroom he may walk a couple of feet along the edge of the bed, start to wobble and bounce like a small child on the bed. Sometimes he misses the bed and hits the floor. Sometimes he staggers to the end of the bed and bounces on my legs. Night after night, and during the early mornings we go through the same routine.
Over the year, John has crashed through a couple of bathroom walls, knocked wooden closet doors off their tract, and banged up his head, back, leg, and shoulder.
My morning consists of getting up before John to get his water, pills, coffee, and oatmeal ready. I watch as he marches laps up and down our short hall as he works to get the blood circulating to his brain. Now, after seven months of this morning routine, he is finally able to walk out to the mailbox to get our mail and walk down our few steps to dump our garbage and recycling.
We don’t go out for meals, to visit our grandkids, or to run errands. “We” is now “me.”
I’m still wondering: When do the Golden Years start?
After 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the fields of real estate, high-tech, and corporate travel, Gwynn moved on to the career of “Grandma.” When not spending time with her grandchildren she volunteers at Poulsbo’s Historic Maritime Museum and can often be found walking laps and enjoying the wildlife of the Poulsbo’s waterfront.