May 16, 2008

Life is Perfect, Even When it's Not

This is a blog entry from a few years back that I had at a different site, but it fails to open half the time so I'm relocating it here.

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At the dentist office today, I took my wheelchair bound husband, Don, to the restroom. It’s a good one with grab bars situated so that he---with my help---can stand up to pee. But first we had to get him out of his coat. Its nylon and is so slippery it would be like holding on to slime, should I have to catch him in a fall. That task accomplished, I got Don’s pants down and held his shirt out of the way while both of us stood side by side waiting for the flow to start. It didn’t. So, I’m singing game show tunes in my head---the kind they play while a contestant is trying to come up with an answer while the clock ticks away. For some reason the wait seemed longer than usual which made me think of our friend who has a ‘shy bladder.’ He can’t pee if someone else is in the room.

“Ron better hope,” I said to Don, “that he never needs help peeing.” Don got the humor in that statement which gave us both the giggles. We were giggling and laughing so hard by the time the pee stream hit the bowl, it’s a wonder it found its mark and didn’t cover our shoes instead. The restroom is just a few feet from the receptionist’s desk and heaven knows what she was thought we were doing in there. The look on her face when we came out was priceless. She wanted to ask. Oh boy, did she want to ask but her phoo-phoo manners wouldn’t let her.

As I sat in the waiting room while Don got his teeth cleaned, I picked up an old copy of Real Simple magazine. On the first page I turned to was a Ralph Lauren double-page layout for Polo Black, a men’s fragrance that featured a hot model. And I do mean sexy as in take-off-your-clothes-and-let-me-see-the-rest-of-you sexy! I looked at him, and then around the room trying to figure out if the Thought Police was present. I decided that a dentist’s waiting room was not a good place to have a virtual organism, so I quick turned the page. Thanks goodness, the next page was a double-page layout for a Chevy. Cool. Keep those cars a selling, we need their pension money. I flipped through a few more pages and came to an ad for Starbucks coffee liqueur which was exactly what I needed after lusting after the Ralph Lauren guy. I’ve never smoked but that guy had me reaching into my purse for a pack of cigarettes.

By now I was beginning to think that the Real Simple magazine was nothing but advertisements. Duh, aren’t most of them? And sure enough, the next page was a double-page layout for American Express featuring Ellen DeGeneres. She says in the ad that her life is perfect, even when it’s not. Wow, what a nice thing to be able to say about your life! I think I actually know what she means.

Finally, I came across a few articles in the magazine. ‘What’s the Craziest Thing you ever did for Love?’ was the title of one article, and there were some notable answers like: “take skydiving lesson,” “move into a log cabin built in the 1800,” and “eloped 36 days after meeting someone.” Another article was titled, ‘Portrait of a Family.’ There is humor in this, I thought about finding these two articles, because my family portrait and the craziest thing I ever did for love could be one and the same. Yup, I’m getting out the oils and easel and painting a portrait of Don and myself. We’ll be standing side by side, leaning over a toilet bowl, expectantly looking down and hoping that neither one of us ends up with pee our shoes. Love doesn’t get much crazier than that, does it?

Jean Riva ©

Postcard: Park Kiss, circa 1900
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2 comments:

EdB said...

As my wife and I are pretty much in the same predicament as you and Don (sexes being reversed), I am becoming more and more amazed on how you have kept your great sense of humor through it all, and continue to do so. It’s only been 22 months since my wife has had her stoke. Being her one and only 24/7 caregiver I have to admit it seems to be getting quite a chore at times. I admire you for doing it.

Keep writing. You have this special talent of expressing the everyday, ordinary events into something worth hearing about.

The Aphasia Decoder.... said...

Ed,

When we were 22 months out, I couldn't have found my sense of humor with the help of the CIA, the FBI or a satellite tracking system. It came back with a conscious choice to look for it again. Hang in there. It does get easier with time for most of us.

Jean