Saturday, November 6, 2010

Small Gifts

I once wrote that we gauged how good or bad our weeks were by the number of times we visited the offices of Great and Wise. By this measure, and by almost any other measure that makes sense for a chronically ill woman, we are doing great. I hesitate to trumpet this too much lest I be guilty of moving past the living day-to-day thing, but all-in-all, Marty is doing well, consequently Marty’s husband is doing well.

Since May Marty has been medically ill enough for antibiotics just once and I suspect that illness was a virus because she gave it to me, bless her heart. I, who have the good health and constitution of wonderful ancestors, have been on antibiotics more than Marty over the last few weeks due to my little tookus issue last month. Given Marty’s history of infections this is wonderful territory for us.

This is not to say we haven’t had some issues which led to a couple of fascinating doctor visits. A swelling face due to blocked salivary ducts and shooting blood out of your eye like a horned toad will lead to some teachable moments. Neither of these issues was serious, in retrospect, they were both a bit titillating to the uninitiated.

As the months of favorable health have moved on (yes, its six months and I’m counting) we have been able to do more things, see more people and experience more life in general. As the months of feeling good pile up its clear Marty feels better and is somehow just a little bit stronger, a little more attentive to her surroundings and a lot more communicative.

Yesterday as I read her our last post, about me trying to understand what she is thinking and feeling, she listened intently as I read. The last line of the post read, “Just once though I would like to really be able to see behind those clear blue eyes and know and really understand what it really feels like for Marty.”

I looked at Marty and asked the obvious, “What do you think? Is that okay?”

She looked at me for second and said, “No you don’t.”

“No I don’t what?” I asked.

“Want to know what it’s like inside my head.”

“Why not?”

“Because the inside of my head is awful, it sucks, and it just doesn’t work right” she replied, looking straight at me.

There wasn’t much for me to say as we looked at each other. Aside from the birth of our two children Marty was always most proud of her intelligence, her communication skill and her ability to understand her surroundings. The strokes took what she thought was the best part of her.

I think the strokes have proven that her perseverance and spirit are and have always been the best part of her.

It was time for lunch and I asked her if she wanted to go supervise me as I made her world famous, minimalist tuna salad. Equal parts of Miracle Whip, sweet pickle relish and solid white tuna is all that’s required (I know, way too sweet for most of you). She wanted to go oversee my cooking.

I got up, turned her around and pushed her into our kitchen and started making the tuna salad while making small talk and asking her if I was using the right proportions. She was pretty comfortable with my technique but threw in an occasional hint.

I picked up the bowl, moved over to the other counter, set the bowl down and looked at Marty to ask if she wanted me to toast her bread. Before I could ask her she looked at me and said very simply, “I love you.”

I like it when she feels good even though the improved cognition can sometimes magnify her losses. I like it because she sometimes surprises me with small gifts.

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