When you are reaching the stage of nearing sixty, you can’t help but take a quick over view of what your heart is going to do after suddenly going from resting to rolling over a two hundred and fifty pound male.
I don’t actually think Al weighs that much any longer. He feels lighter but still, the heart is quickly in action. It is among these times before I grab the draw sheet that I quickly ask God for his blessing of power and control to turn Al over.
He can’t seem to be able to lift his cup, so I quench his thirst and massage his legs and then tuck him back in. I give him a quick rub on the arm asking him if he needs me for anything else. He quietly says, ” Sorry sis, sorry to wake you up. No, I don’t need anything.”
Of course I tell this gentle giant that it’s alright. It is no problem, this is what sisters are for. Then I watch through the glow of the white Christmas lights the tears once again start to fall from his eyes.
I lay my head on his shoulder and grab his hand and tell him it’s alright dear brother. Everything is going to be fine. God is in control of everything we do. Then I stand back up and pick up his head and move it in a more comfortable position on the pillow.
I roll up a pad and place it between his legs because his legs are in contraction. This will cause great sores from skin on skin plus it makes it hell to try to spread them in order to change his brief.
He is crying and his nose is running. Between soft sobs I can make out the words of how sorry he is that he woke me up. He explains how he doesn’t want me to tell him everything is going to be alright, when he knows himself he is getting worse.
I am forced to listen to words of how he is ready to die. I don’t know if God would approve of this or not because I hold no title, but I rested my head back on his shoulder and I grabbed his hand and held it. Then I prayed with and over Al. I am sure I must have sounded like a minister of sorts. God if you don’t approve of me pretending to be a preacher, I am sorry, but I have to bring comfort to a man in great pain and need of meeting you face to face.
I waited until he drifted off to sleep for another short session and then I stood back up and quietly walked out of his room. For me, hearing the old Hospice doctor tell me Al will be here for a few more months doesn’t cut it.
As I see the changes in him in this one week, I paste my vision of my brother’s eyes looking into mine into my memory box. I am never quite as sure anymore if I will see them open or not.
I walked back into my bedroom where I got a scolding from Rhino the cat. He was telling me it is still dark outside and I am supposed to be keeping him company while his fat fur ball lays there and snores. Yes, Rhino snores.
I smoked a cigarette thinking about how much more will Al’s body contract before it is finished and I remember back to the many patients I have taken care of. What a struggle it was to try to bathe or change them. I remember fingernails contracted so bad that the palms of their hands were bleeding.
I let a silent few tears slide then I got back out of bed ignoring Rhino and got on my knees and asked, ” Dear Lord, I know it is too early to early to get up, but I am wide awake. I am asking you to hold my eye lids open for a while and let me speak to my friends on the internet. Then I will try to get a few more winks of sleep before Al calls out to me again.
I have three and a half hours before the helper arrives. When she gets here I may sneak off to my room for a nap. It will be empty of Rhino as he will be on Al’s bed guarding him for the day.