I am a lucky girl. For starters, my caregiver is not only FREE, he's also GENEROUS. He also happens to be my husband, who, for whatever reasons, apparently loves me enough to have a pretty good attitude about all this recent chaos in our lives. His tenderness toward me was manifested in these words he spoke to my doctor as we met just prior to my surgery:
"Doctor Langford, the woman laying here is the light of my world. I cannot imagine life without her, or even life without her precious and adorable foot - in perfect working order. If you harm her in any way, I will hunt you down like a werewolf hunting down dinner in the streets of London under a full moon. I have spoken."
Actually, what he said was,
"Doc, if I thought it would get her to shut up about her damn foot, I would let you cut on ME. Have at it and I sure hope it works, so we can both have some relief."
Yes, Michael is sensitive that way. But to give credit where credit is due, he DID take time off from work just to sit around and look at me - to prepare my meals, stock my little cooler each day, watch helplessly as I struggle to get around, reassure me that he loves me as I sit around like Jabba the Hut...it can't be any fun for him, and he's a man who does enjoy his fun.
We've made it through a week now, and we've managed to remain civil towards each other. But - let's be honest - it hasn't been all peaches and cream all week either. Personally, I am glad for two living areas in our house, because this allows us to get away from each other for awhile each day. And every once in awhile, he jumps up from the recliner (apparently without any external stimulation) with a semi crazed look in his eyes and announces loudly, "I'M GOING TO THE STORE DO YOU NEED ANYTHING GREAT OK BYE!" and darts out of the house. He comes back a little while later with cool things like ice cream, solar powered porch lights, cameras...I think he just has to go somewhere and wander around in the land of the living for awhile before clambering back down into our little wolf spider nest.
Meanwhile, my world has gotten very, very small. Things I never paid much attention to suddenly loom into great importance. For instance, I noticed a piece of paper on the floor - the corner of a sweetener packet. Now - how did that get there? I certainly didn't do it, now did I? No - he obviously did that. Just left a piece of paper on the floor. Like a caveman. Men are pigs.
By the time he got back from the store, this piece of paper over in the corner had morphed into a Rand McNalley roadmap of Texas. Michael wandered into the den, carrying the latest bounty like Captain Bligh carrying a breadplant before the King of England, only to be met with my eyes gleaming like rapiers.
"What?" he said, looking warily across the room.
I looked at him with a pained expression, and said softly with exxagerated politeness, "When you get a moment - at your convenience of course - and not like I'm trying to tell you what to do - but - when you can find the time, I wonder if you would mind..."
He looked at me with narrowing eyes.
"...If you wouldn't mind, taking a moment to..."
"Yes?" he growled, eyes glinting like a wolf's.
"Would you please PICK UP THAT PIECE OF TRASH LAYING ON THE FLOOR IN PLAIN VIEW, THE TRASH THAT OBVIOUSLY YOU DROPPED AND NOT ME BECAUSE HOW COULD I EVEN DROP SOMETHING ON THE FLOOR WHEN I CAN'T EVEN CARRY ANYTHING IN MY HANDS???"
To which he replied, also in a faux courteous voice, "Don't even go there. Before you is the man who has cooked every meal, washed every dish, helped you take a shower, mopped, swept and vaccuumed the entire house, washed all your panties in the delicate cycle, and bought you an expensive camera. I will leave that piece of paper on the floor until I get good and ready to pick it up, and you can just sit there and look at it - perhaps for days."
I guess my advice to caretakers would be simply this - keep up the good work. And keep going to the store.