Let me say upfront that it’s nearly impossible to rile my husband. He’s calm, steady, seeks for understanding, he’s my rock. So I can’t imagine that he was anything but matter-of-fact in his statement. Me, on the other hand, I think I struggle a little harder at staying charitable when someone hits me right where I live. Literally. Even if we tell them they don’t know, they can’t possibly know, we remind ourselves, only those who live it can.
Although, the doctors and nurses at Stanford Hospital certainly do a good job of it. Good people. Yeah… That, “Oh I remember you!”
Our ward shares its church building with another ward and at the beginning of every year we flip which one has mornings and which the afternoons, whose toddlers get their nap time, who gets to sleep in.
There is an elderly woman in the other ward who–and this is the first year she’s done this–has decided she didn’t want to make that switch so she would just join ours. She probably has her favorite seat that her ward knows all about and she always goes there unless someone beats her to it, and that’s fine. We do too, going for where I’m most likely to hear, assuming no one else is there yet.
Two weeks ago she sat down right behind us (we always get there a little early, she, a little late) and started coughing hard. I apologized but got up and moved as far away as I reasonably could without making a scene (scoot down that bench…) Our ward knows. She had no idea, so we explained after the meeting was over and hoped that was that.
Last week someone beat her there–he was from out of town, visiting his grandkids. Directly behind us, clearly sick, coughing deeply. Given how fast and how hard that same cough would hit me a few days later, I can understand why getting ready for church he’d probably thought it wasn’t much. And I can certainly understand wanting to spend every minute with your grandkids you can (this being why I’ve been wearing face masks to church since Madison was born–I don’t want to be limited in when we can go see ours. But last week I forgot to bring one and there you go.)
The brainstem lupus had me fainting in the shower this morning, saved by the shower chair a dear friend dropped off last night when she heard. The tyranny of the ileostomy is that it does not care that you’re too sick to deal with changing the dressing every third day, you absolutely must and you must do every step right because one four-month staph infection is enough.
Hopefully all of this will be very short-term. I prefer my Crohn’s flares being in the past tense–and for the most part, they are, this is nothing compared to those two big ones: when my life was saved by an experimental med, when my life was saved by major surgery.
Michelle’s idea is that we should ask permission to place a box of face masks at the entryway for all who might need one to help themselves to. I think I should have one and a spare in my purse as it is.
Richard went off to church this morning. That same elderly lady sat down behind him after he got there.
And again she was coughing. A lot. While asking after me.
A short and sweet, “My wife is very ill. Someone was coughing right behind her last week.”
We bought plane tickets before all this started to go see our grandkids and to celebrate a birthday. Assuming we’re healthy.
P.S. Rereading this I’m thinking, can you tell I’m ready to be done with this? And remembering the nurse I once apologized to at Stanford who comforted me with, and I’ll never forget the kindness of her words, “It’s okay to be grumpy: when our patients feel well enough to be grumpy it means they’re getting better and they want to go home.”
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