Some mornings I still wake up confused because I'm alone.
When I left for the week in Oregon, a few people thought it was because I was burnt out. Since returning my husband has told me that a few souls told him I shouldn't be allowed to spend so much time at the nursing home, for my sanity's sake. And it's true; I spend a huge amount of time at the nursing home. But the idea of being barred from being there all day gets me panicky. When we first arrived it seemed right to follow the aide's suit and jump in taking care of my husband like they do. It's been two and a half months. I know where all the bedding, clothing, towels, wipes, briefs, and garbage bags are kept and I help myself as needed. I know all the aides and nurses on a first name basis, and several of the residents too. The physical therapists are my pals, and I help where I can during my husband's sessions. On good days Mr. PNU and I go for walks, read together, blog, watch movies, make love, play in the shower, talk, hang with friends who come to visit, and sometimes we even share takeout.
Everyone welcomed me back heartily last Friday night, and because I was so exhausted from travel I managed to sleep over for the first time. It didn't feel right being back just because I woke up holding my husband's hand. I felt like I was back around family.
I'm learning what all the years I thought I was being open and loving by smiling at people in wheelchairs feels like from the other side.