This is a love letter to my sweetie, my amazing partner Andrew. During this trying time, while working 10-12 hour days, he has also been my full time caregiver. In addition to being loving, compassionate, and kind, he is incredibly inventive. Because of the balance issues caused by my eye surgery, knee immobilization, and crutches, I am not especially coordinated (I see everything in 2 dimensions and as if one eye is under water, so I end up feeling off balance, dizzy, and nauseous most of the time, whether my eye is open or closed.), I can’t do many things for myself at the moment. So Andrew finds solutions to help me be as independent as possible.
He got a lift for the toilet seat so I could save my good knee. He concocted a shower strategy that involved a storage tub, a pillow in a garbage bag, sleeved in a t-shirt that I can, with help, sit on in the bath. Because my favorite way to relax is to take baths (and we tried a strategy the other night that was a little scary), he went to the store and purchased a precisely cut oak plank to sit across the back of the tub so I could more easily and safely lift myself in and out of the water. It was genius.
He helps me get dressed. He brings me what I need to wash my face, brush my teeth, get ready for my day or for bed. He prepares my office chair or the couch (doubling seat cushions so I sit higher and can more easily get up and down) so I don’t have to spend all my time in bed.
He also cooks almost all our meals, from 3 meat tacos to Fattoush salad to hummus, veggies and zatar chips, he regularly makes creative and delicious dishes that feed my soul and my body. He brings me Starbucks beverages, chocolate, and flowers to lift my spirits.
I’m getting more mobile, or at least more used to viewing the world in 2 dimensions. My knee hurts less (a sign that I may have strained or pulled rather than seriously damaging things – fingers crossed). I’ve been able to sleep a bit more. The first two weeks pain woke me (and as a result, Andrew, every 2 hours). Last night I slept 5 hours, then 3 more. Andrew got 7 hours total. Two days in the last week, I got up by myself, washed my face and brushed my teeth.
I have to be honest, I have not always handled this situation with the grace I’d like. I cry regularly. I am bored and sometimes frustrated. But through it all, I am grateful.
Ten years ago Andrew was Stefan’s backup when I broke both my wrists in a dancing accident. I was unable to do anything for 3 months, then had to learn how to use my hands again and rebuild my strength. With love and compassion, Andrew helped care for me. He made me feel safe to need care and support. He nurtured and protected me. Now, 10 years later, Andrew is my full time caregiver as I get through this strange moment. I could not ask for a better, more loving partner. I am grateful for you. I am grateful to you, my love!