Media likes to promote the idea the intimate relationships can easily be maintained into the later years. I am of the opinion that a twenty something writing about the physical life of elders has no understanding of the logistics involved.
For example, simply sleeping close together in bed.
I am usually asleep before night owl Mr FD comes to bed. Now that it is winter, he is naturally drawn to my warmed side of the mattress. We have been married too long for me to entertain the illusion that it is anything more than the need for comfort that draws him neigh!
Now this is where the problems arise. I prefer to sleep on my left side, facing towards the edge of the bed. Mr FD draws near, but to borrow a quote he has a “belly like a bowl full of jelly” so while his top half might align well, his tummy pushes my spin out of its comfort zone. So even if asleep, I awaken and some realignment takes place to find a comfort zone.
Further issues are that my neck issues mean I need a certain amount of pillow to support my neck, the rotator cuff injury results in a limited number of positions for my right arm unless I want to experience pain. I often have to sleep with a small pillow under my right arm.
Add to this the fact that Mr FD wears a CPAP mask and we not only have to make placement for the mask, but the hissing in my ear makes me feel as though I am lying down beside Darth Vader. He also suffers from restless leg syndrome so will move randomly from moment to moment. It is not just legs though – his hand twitches, and he can have a whole body “jump” as well.
So, after ten or more minutes of grumping and annoyance we finally settle into some form of mutually acceptable comfort and settle to sleep. Mr FD usually disregards my death threats, because he is just that type of guy – senseless.
Five minutes later I am so hot from Mr FD’s extra body heat I have to throw back the blankets and order Mr FD to his side of the bed. A number of death threats have to accompany this request before Mr FD rolls to the cold side of the bed.
Right, romance all the way.
Some poor surfer guy has died after being mauled by a shark, and the usual platitude one hears “oh but at least he died doing what he loved!” has been uttered again. As if!
Do you really think he is standing outside the pearly gates, thanking the Big Whatever for cutting his life short by at least 7 decades but at least letting him go while do something he really enjoyed? Do you think he enjoyed the moment the shark ate his leg? I am not thinking his last thoughts were that he was really glad he got out of bed that morning and went down to the water.
Mr FD used to have this annoying habit when he heard some old person died he would say “Well, at least he had a good innings.” I beg your pardon? I let it go by for a decade or two, but one day I turned to Mr FD and I said that if he didn’t stop saying that pathetic and inadequate phrase that I would make sure that the day he is told his days are numbered that I was going to pat him on the hand and utter “well, you’ve had a good innings, dear” Now push off.
Then I added that I would feed him to the dog.
Now his stock comment is “Oh dear, that is too young to die.”
He is obviously hoping I don’t kill anytime soon.
Mr FD talked about making breakfast, but I made breakfast.
Mr FD talked about making dinner, but I made breakfast.
Mr FD talked about the pact we had that he would do all the cooking on Father’s Day.
I don’t remember any pact…and I am not holding my breath.
He does however, get to do the dishwasher.
Just before dawn, a sleeping Mr FD announced mournfully, “I don’t have any wings left.”
Had he used up his personal supply of wings?
Was he retailing them and had a sudden rush on wings?
Had the fairies called and found his cupboard bare?
Another one of life’s mysteries.
Mr FD found his way home on Thursday night, after a three week absence. He was so happy to be home. As I made tea for two in the kitchen I heard Mr FR declaring,”I missed you so much, you are so beautiful, so wonderful…”
Entering the room I found that he was gazing lovingly into the big brown eyes of Augie Dog, who was lapping up every second. So much so, that when Mr FD paused stroking him, Augie Dog would turn and lick what ever exposed bits of Mr FD he could reach.
I placed the mug of tea next to Mr FD and allowed them their privacy.
I don’t think I can keep this home nursing thing up. It has been two days and already I am totally exhausted by caring and being nice.
Mr FD is all very polite about it, and grateful for what I do, but all the needy stuff is really wearing out my small reserves of niceness.
Medication at this time and that time. And the pressure stockings are irritating the skin on his leg so I have to rub moisturiser into his leg. It doesn’t help to see that he has less hair on his legs that I do on mine either. Then again he has a hairy back and I don’t.
Augie Dog knows Mr FD is hurting to and is trying to be very gentle around Mr FD. He was out in his yard, peeing, (Augie, not Mr FD) and Mr FD said, “It is wonderful coming home to a dog like that. I am so glad we got him.” and I wondered if he thought the same about me and would I need to go pee in the yard to get him to say it.
I don’t pee in the yard. I could, because we have lots of trees for privacy, but no doubt a delivery man or meter reader would arrive at the door as I did. And it might kill the grass, because Augie’s pee does. I don’t think I have peed in the yard since I was a toddler, if I did even then. It was a civilised upbringing.
The pretty face wallaby waiting on the neighbouring footpath was all Mr FD needed to convince him that he had left the city behind and was finally home , two and a half weeks post knee replacement.
Son had to take Augie Dog onto the patio until Mr FD made it safely to a chair, because an excited 40 kg golden retriever dog jumping for joy around him, was not something Mr FD on crutches could cope with.
Mr FD’s “self medication” is in fact moi handing out his tablets! Each time I do so, I call out “never marry an older man, you just end up being his nurse!” (Mr FD is eight years older than I). He ignores me, Son ignores me, even Augie ignores me. I think I am very entertaining, and that is all that matters.
I repeated the comment as I pulled Mr FD’s pressure stocking up his legs this morning. This time, Mr FD apologised for all the “trouble” he was causing.
Good to have him home and suffering guilt again.