Caregiver as the Caregivee

So here it is, 0300 in the morning again… and I am wide awake. The cold that I have had has manifested into laryngitis. I literally can’t speak more than a whisper.

My spouse got very worried when the aroma of chicken soup awoke him yesterday morning, and he came into the kitchen at 0430, quite incredulous that I was casually reading the newspaper while a pot of soup was simmering on the stove.

The soup was just about done, so I whispered as loudly as my voice would permit, “want to join me?”

My spouse’s reaction was classic:

Spouse: “are you out of your mind? I thought you were ‘sleep cooking!’ You’re sick! Why are you up and out of bed and cooking at this hour???”

I kinda mumbled (as best I could), hummed and hawed, and admitted, “jet lag or meds or both… I can’t sleep. I thought I would do something productive.”

My spouse would have none of it. He ordered me to go back to bed “this instant!” About 10 minutes later, he brought me a steaming hot bowl of my soup. Yum! And it was so good, it put me back to sleep. I slept another four hours. Unheard of!

Then Mr. Spouse came in to the bedroom and said, “get dressed. I made an appointment with the doctor, and you’re going to see him. Today. One hour. Be ready.”

Yes, sir. “But it’s ‘only’ a cold,” I kept saying.

“Yeah, well, so it’s ‘only’ a cold, but see the doc and get treated for it before it becomes ‘only’ pneumonia!”

Honestly, I have never seen my spouse take such control. Usually, I am the one giving the medical orders around here. But you know, I kinda like seeing him care for me this way.

Went to see the doc who confirmed what I thought — bronchitis manifested by exposure to vog in Hawaii and no sleep on the return trip. He prescribed a powerful antibiotic, bed rest, and liquids.

I drove us back home (my spouse still cannot drive due to his severe illness and ongoing recovery.) When I got back home, I wondered aloud, “when will the antibiotic be ready? Should I remain dressed so I can go pick it up?”

Spouse took care of that — he ordered me to go to bed “NOW!” and leave the rest to him. He checked the computer and saw an email from the pharmacy that the antibiotic was ready. He called one of my “more mobile” senior pals who went to the pharmacy and brought me the prescription right away, along with more juice.

During my resting time, I heard the phone ring several different times. Because I can’t talk, I did not answer. That was hard for me “not” to do! However, it was even more difficult for the Spouse, because he hates the phone and rarely answers it — usually letting it go to voice mail. (99% of the calls to our house are for me, anyway.)

During the afternoon and early evening, my spouse checked on me regularly and brought me healthy snacks, lots of juice, and frequent updates. “That was your friend M on the phone” or “G called and wanted to know how you were.” My senior pal legion must have spread the message on the grapevine that I was sick, and they all were calling to check in on me.

Then my big sister called, and another sister, then a brother, then some nieces and nephews. Man, you’d think I was admitted to the hospital or something!

Really, I AM OKAY! And with this level of caregiving and attention, I will be dancing at the next Firemen’s Ball tomorrow. Well, not quite that… I can’t dance and there is no Fireman’s ball tomorrow. But really, I am feeling better. With all this attention, my recovery will be quick and I will return to being the caregiver instead of the “caregivee.”

Life is short: appreciate the love and be humble in accepting it.

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About BHD

I am an average middle-aged biker who lives in the greater suburban sprawl of the Maryland suburbs north and west of Washington, DC, USA.