Ch.12. We Are Still a Team.
I’m writing this passage on the coldest day in decades here in rural Western Wisconsin: minus 34 degrees Fahrenheit actual, minus 60 windchill are predicted tonight and the highest temperature today was minus 16 Fahrenheit. And we have one big, cold quarter horse who hates staying in his garage stall no matter what the temperature. Our job was to find a way to keep him there despite a broken door that wouldn’t shut tight. Pat talked with Lakota and fed him while I pounded fence staples into the wall and attached ropes to them to secure the door and hold our reluctant beast inside. When I got stuck on the geometry of it all Pat suggested the best way to arrange the ropes.
That’s about when a second crisis developed. I had opened all the faucets in our home just enough for water to trickle out – in order to keep our water pipes from freezing. Unfortunately, I neglected to make sure the drains were open. I discovered that even a trickle eventually creates a flood when a couple hours later I checked on the downstairs sink. Once again Pat and I considered ideas and she made the winning suggestion: tear out the (old) rug and liner to prevent floor damage and mold. I supplied most, but not all the labor, partly because Pat is struggling with episodes of dizziness this week.
I wonder how many times over the last 53 years we’ve teamed up this way to solve problems like how to handle the kids’ fights, what to say to a difficult client, how to save for retirement, and what to make for supper.
I feel like shouting to Lewy Body that We are still a team. Do not underestimate us. I’m not just Pat’s caregiver and she’s not just my care receiver. We are partners. We do things together. We solve problems together. We are a team. In fact, we are still a good team.
Added Note: Jan. 8, 2020. Sometimes being a team means we share an emotional experience as well as a task. Two days ago, that meant saying goodbye to our Chow Chow Franklin, whom we had to euthanize after he collapsed because of lung cancer. Franklin lived 11 ½ years, 11 of them on three legs after an automobile accident. He was loved and loving. Pat held me as I cried. I held her. During this time Lewy body faded into the background. We were just two mourners holding each other up.
That same evening I discovered I had completely bungled a professional trip, buying airplane tickets to Santa Barbara, CA when the actual talk I was to give will be in Pomona, about 3 hours away. I felt horrible and began calling myself names. Pat intervened to help me calm down as she will mention below.
Pat’s comments on being a team: Ron is right. We are a team, and we always manage to find a good way to do that.
Added Note: Jan.8, 2020. Ron was very sad and angry with himself and he continued to talk about how he was screwing up and not doing what he wanted to do and I did the best I could to tell him I see him as being a very good person. When he chews himself out I feel he’s lost himself and I remind him of the good things he does daily and weekly for all of us and I say things to help him calm down. It is important I do that rather than cry myself. I refuse to get agitated and I stay calm even if I don’t feel calm inside and I remind Ron of how wonderful he is and I love him. I tell him when he is evaluating himself that way that he is wrong. I want him to care for himself and respect himself too.