Friday, July 17, 2009

The caregiver's caregiver (not)

Never let my husband take care of me if I am wounded or ill!

I love Jim. He is a man of many talents but God knew what He was doing when he made Jim the patient and me the caregiver. If the tables had been turned I would have been dead years ago.

Tonight when we came home from dinner, I was drawn to the yard like a mosquito to a plump babies leg. The July evening is so beautiful, unusually cool and pleasant, and the rain-soaked dirt beckoned me to pull weeds while the pickin' was easy. I didn't even bother to make my usual preparations: mosquito repellent, garden gloves, crocs, and work clothes. Impulsively, attempting to beat the setting sun, I flew in still dressed in crisp white bermudas, a linen blouse, jewelry and my Stuart Weitzman sandals. Bad decision or lack of .

The bed in front of our house was filled with a twenty-five year growth of man-eating ivy, strawberry vines, violets, leaves, baby trees, and various and sundry weeds. I decided several weeks ago to remove the mess and paid Corbin to do the work. He did as much as he could and left the remainder to die off.

Tonight while the ground was wet, I figured the time was right to pull up the remaining vines. I pulled viorously with both arms flying fogetting that I did not have the protection of gloves. As I grabbed a large clump of dried roots, I felt a piercing pain in my thumb. Of course, I couldn't see exactly what had happened (I didn't have on my glasses), but I could make out a piece of root nearly 2 inches long. impaling my right thumb. Granted it was a shard of root, more like a large splinter, stuck through the side of my thumb, protruding near the lower nail bed cuticle.

I rushed to the door of the screened in porch (locked from the inside) and called for Jim who was watching--what else? the Cardinals' game.

"I need your help," I yelled, trying not to alarm him. Fat chance.
He ambled to the door, looks at the branch stuck through my hand and wiggles it. Trying not to faint, I scream, "You are going to have to cut one side off before you try to pull it through."

Now this is the priceless part. We move into the kitchenwith me holding up my throbbing hand. The kitchen is rather dark (sundown). He doesn't bother to turn on the light. The next thing I know he approaches me with the pruners. This is the absolute truth. I tried to follow his reasoning: a garden injury requires a garden tool?
The object to be removed is a plant? Or maybe a hand injury calls for hand pruners?

When I realized he was serious, I stopped him in his tracks. "Are you nuts? You can't cut it with those. You need scissors."

Nonplussed he looks at the implement and says, "Hmmm. Maybe."

He finally got the job done, after I suggested he stop the bleeding, apply some alcohol, and a bandage--none of which he would have thought of on his own.

Thank God I wasn't knocked unconscious. I think I should get one of those "I've fallen and I can't get up" thingies and take my chances with the fire department.

This just in: Jim came in from pool house: "How's your finger?" (At least he asked. I never said he's not thoughtful. "It's throbbing," I said not turning away from the computer. "I just told everyone how you took care of me." He says, (really and truly, I have to laugh) "Well, it's my chance to be the caregiver to you."

Poor, poor, thing. He really is clueless. Wait til he reads the post!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Good and Humble Samaritan

I have been reading Thomas R. Hargrove's book Dragons Live Forever about his experience in Vietnam. He is an extremely good writer with a story to tell. He did not offer much about himself in our conversation at the airport--it was I who introduced the topic of writing after which he talked about his books. He didn't mention that he has a doctorate and is an expert inthe area of rice agriculture for third world countries or that he and his wife Susan offer support to families of victims kidnapped in foreign countries. His second book The Long Road to Freedom is the true story of his captivity by NARC in Columbia. There is a movie based on the story starring Meg Ryan. All in all, a very interesting and accomplished fellow. I wish I'd had more time to talk with him.