A few days ago, I mentioned that Susan’s hands have steadied; she felt like she could try making jewelry again.
On Saturday, she actually got to work. (First, though, I had to go to Home Depot and buy some Butane for her torch, because I had left the tank empty conducting my recent Very Important Scientific Experiments.)
We were both a little bit apprehensive, though neither of us ‘fessed up to this fact until afterward. Worried that her hands would start shaking, worried she wouldn’t have had the strength, worried that the part of her brain that lets her hands make what she pictures in her mind wouldn’t work anymore.
So, as insurance, I asked some Jennifer and Jeff to come over. Jeff and I have been friends since we were Freshmen in college; Jennifer and Susan both got interested in jewelry at about the same time (even though we lived in different states at the time).
I figured that if there were things Susan wasn’t up for, Jennifer could pick up the slack.
It turns out, though, that Susan got comfortable making jewelry right away.
So Jeff and I got busy with the chainbreaking tools, degreasing and dismantling a bike chain for Susan to use in the bracelets she’s making.
And then — while the women still worked — Jeff and I fired up the Playstation and played Rock Band. To everyone’s great disappointment, the microphone was not working, which meant I wouldn’t get to do my awesome Geddy Lee impression.
I sound just like him. Really, I do. At least, in my own head I do.
After Jeff and Jennifer left, Susan commented that it had been the happiest day she’d had in a long time. She’d been participating, doing what she loves to do, and felt like we’d had visitors, which is way way different from being visited. Specifically, it’s the difference between having friends over to your house and having people coming to see you at the hospital (whether you’re in the hospital or not).
Normal is exquisite. Those of you who have ever been sick for a long, long time know what I’m talking about.
Lately, I’ve started taking a lot of pride in my ability to take care of my job, my kids, my wife, and my house, singlehandedly for at least short stretches at a time.
I’ve become pretty efficient.
Then today I got a good reminder that sometimes efficiency isn’t always all that great of a thing.
I was helping Susan move from the living room — which we’ve got converted into a mini-bedroom for the two of us, since it’s on the main floor — into the family room.
The first step of this is to have Susan grip my right forearm with both her hands, while I take her feet with my left hand. In one swinging pivoting motion she pulls herself into a sitting position while I swing her around so she’s sitting on the edge of the bed.
Once there, she usually needs a minute to catch her breath and to get her feet to be ready for the stand-pivot-sit motion of getting into the wheelchair.
Today, like usual, I just stood there, giving her the time she needed. I don’t like to take too long, though, because I know Susan gets uncomfortable pretty soon if she doesn’t have her oxygen compressor going.
But this time she needed a few extra minutes; her back was sore from laying down all day.
So I sat on the bed and started scratching her back. No big deal.
And then she started crying. It was so nice, she said, to have me sitting beside her again. And I realized she’s right — I’ve been focusing so hard on trying to be a good, efficient nurse that I haven’t been spending the time I should on being a good husband.
It was good to sit beside each other, me scratching her back, her resting her head on my shoulder. For a few minutes, it was better and more necessary than air.
Really, it was just a normal moment. And I’m a huge fan of normal.
PS: Team Fatty has now raised more than $80,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation this year. We’ve got a good start toward that $1,000,000.