Friday, May 19, 2017

Her Soul

I suspect we all do it to some extent or another, viewing the past as better than the present, you know, the good old days.  For instance, when I was a kid I don’t remember the sun being so hot.  We would be outside all day long and I just don’t remember feeling the sun beating down on me like it does today.

Now I don’t really think the sun is hotter, I think that’s the simply the way I remember it because time has a funny way of tempering the temperature of our history.

The other day we were visited in our home by the Right Reverend Leslie from First Presbyterian of Waco.   I will always have a special place in my heart for the Right Rev because the first time she ever visited Marty in the hospital she walked in while Marty was alone and started feeding her spaghetti.  That’s not an easy thing to feed someone.   There are things people have done for you that make a lifelong good impression; gently helping my bride eat spaghetti is one of those.

Sorry, I digress.

The Right Rev is talking to me, talking to Marty and I’m talking to her, probably too much, I do that you know.   It’s one of those days where Marty isn’t responding very much and I start thinking, well wishing more than thinking, wishing that the Right Reverend could have known the old Marty, before the strokes robbed us of the old Marty, before the strokes gave us the new Marty.

I’m not sure, but the more I think about it the more I think that’s not a very healthy approach to the here and now.  Yeah, it’s good to have memories, it’s good to know what was, it’s okay to miss part of what was but the simple truth is, the sun was as hot back when I was a kid as it is now and what we have to live with is how the sun feels today, right here and now.

My memories of Marty before are mostly good memories but she wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t perfect, our relationship wasn’t perfect.  We fought, we cried, we felt pain, we felt anger, we hurt each other and for each other.  Yet, yet, the parts of what was are so alluring because somehow, in my revisionist memory, the sun didn’t feel as hot back then.

More importantly longing for what was robs you of what is right now and frankly what is with me, what is with Marty right now, today, is pretty damn good.  Do I wish she was back in charge, do I wish she could stand and grab me and kiss me, do I wish she would make some snide remark that would make me do a spit take, do I wish we could talk about the deeper meaning of King Arthur’s Sword, do I wish we could argue about where to park again?  You bet I do.

But I/we can never allow that longing for what was short change what we have right here and now.
The today Marty, the Marty Right Rev has met and gotten to know is worth knowing.  Marty is a woman who has fought strokes and won.  Marty is a woman who has lost the pieces of her she prized the most and she has survived countless indignities with the core of who she is intact.  Marty is a woman who has experienced the worst in life and kept living, kept living in spite of her body, in spite of what her body did to her.  

What must never be forgotten is that Marty’s core, her soul, the real Marty, the essence of the woman I knew and now know is still there.  It’s quieter, it’s more reserved, it’s suffered from catastrophic illness, but her core, her soul, that which is quintessentially Marty is still there.

It all goes back to something Marty told me, almost daily; be in the here and now, accept and embrace what is and don’t worry too much about what was or what will be.  

This is easy to say and hard to do on a daily basis.  While I relish the idea that the sun was not as hot on 12 year old shoulders as it is on 63 year old shoulders, while I need and want to remember that feeling of the 12 year old boy, I am where I am now, I am with my bride today, not yesterday and she is pretty damn fine today, who cares about the sun anyway.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Oral Dude

We, and when I say we I mean Marty, started the process of implants a couple of weeks ago.  And, when I say implants I don’t mean the soft squishy silicon kind, I mean the dental kind.

We have had a good run of health lately and it is past time to revisit the dental issue Marty has experienced most of her life.  I don’t like dental stuff, the very thought of it gives me the heebie jeebies, and when I say heeby jeeby I mean massive, light headed, creeps.

I’m not sure why I have such an aversion to the tooth and gum, but I do.  I have sat beside Marty and held her hand in a lot of medical situations in the past years but when it comes to removing teeth, I have to excuse myself lest the dental hygienist has to break out the smelling salts and that looks bad for an old man.

We have been mulling this whole ordeal for about two years.  We first visited the implant guy some many months ago and Marty said nope, nada and I just didn’t have the conviction to put her and our bank account through that assault on her mouth.  

Over the ensuing months Marty lost more teeth and more were becoming less viable.  Even Marty agreed it was time to do something and implants seemed the best option for my bride.  Marty is a fidgeter with everything and I can’t imagine dentures would ever stay in her mouth….so implants were the best solution.

The implant thing is a multi-stage process.   You have to get molded for a temporary prosthesis you will wear for months, you get teeth extracted, titanium posts inserted into the bones in your mouth and then the temporary set of teeth fitted and screwed into your mouth.  Exciting huh?  

Getting the mold done was a big nothing.  The big stage, removing teeth and screwing metal into her gums took about five hour.  Marty was not sedated except the Xanax I gave her a couple of hours before she hit the chair.  

I moved Marty into the chair and stayed until they brought the 21st century torture devices and left poor Marty to the good graces of the nurses and the oral dude.  I’m told they numbed her mouth really well and she sat there with people pulling teeth, cutting her gums, hammering and screwing posts in her for five hours.  In case it’s not clear, my wife is one tough chick.

All went as planned and we got Marty home about 4:30 and of course took her to bed, got her some ice packs, some pain meds and soup.  I’m a firm believer in pain meds, reasonably used, and they make Marty real sleepy which is clearly the way to do oral surgery.  Sleep through the recovery to the extent that you can.

The next day my bride was bruised and swollen, she looked like she had been through a street fight and lost.  We went to the dentist for them to check the temporary teeth they had screwed into her upper gums and all was good.  Marty, for her part, due to the pain meds was way high by this time.  

All was fine.  Marty’s pain was manageable, she was more than a little high from the meds (she’s a cheap drunk anymore), and the temporary teeth were doing fine.  Marty was bruised, battered and drugged, other than that, peachy keen.
The bruising got worse, the pain got better, and slowly, as the bruising turned from purple to yellow and moved around her mouth and to her left eye, the eating got better and she could have something besides soup.

Today, the yellow marks on her face are gone, the teeth look dandy and eating is just fine as long as we stay away from really chewy hard foods which we would do anyway.  We went back to the oral surgeon, he checked and she is doing well.  The oral dude recommended we start using a water pick, which should be a huge mess every time we use it, but okay, we shall do that too.

Every time we go through one of these “procedures” I am reminded of how far we have come in Marty’s recovery and what a tough, resilient person my bride is.  Do what she had done to me and I’m out for a month.  

Not Marty, she just deals with each and every new assault to her body and she quietly and simply does the next thing.  She doesn’t complain, she doesn’t moan, she doesn’t pitch or make life hard for those who care for her the most and want to help her.  

She is one tough mama and now she has a really cool set of temporary teeth just waiting for the new ones like an impending Christmas present. 
God gave me the right woman.