Yesterday marked three weeks since the day Skip was taken off to the hospital in an ambulance. Since then, I've been living here at home with no other humans, just the two pups to keep me company.
It's weird being here alone. And, it really is alone as the parade of people coming and going from the house has all but stopped since they were all here (save one) because of her health and care needs.
At first the dogs were very unsettled. They seemed pensive, as if waiting for Skip to reappear. The first few nights at bedtime they displayed the most confusion. Sally normally sleeps on Skip's legs, so she was really discombobulated, Ruby eventually settled into her normal spot at the head of the bed, between my pillows and Skip's.
I buy almost no food; I hardly ever cooked when Skip was here, now I have even less reason to do so. I need coffee, milk and cereal for the morning. I have been making vegie rollups for a late lunch. For dinner, it's either takeout coming home from the hospital or a snack when I get home.
The house is really, really quiet. In addition to the lack of people coming and going, there TV is hardly ever on. Skip always has the TV on, but I love to have it off. I've been watching football. And, I started watching a TV series called Criminal Minds that we'd never seen before. Other than that, nice and quiet.
I have few conflicts between caregiving demands and the rest of life here at home. I make a few calls to follow up on things with the rehab providers and to speak with Skip. Other than that, I never have to find a way to shoehorn everything into the day.
I'm not taking Ibuprofen anymore. Even though we have a lift system in the bedroom and bathroom that keeps me from having to lift Skip for transfers, I realize I still do a lot of moving Skip around when she's here. You know, for all those tasks of daily living where she needs my assistance. Not doing any of that now, of course, so my creaky shoulders aren't barking at me throughout the day. Now, they only remind me that they're screwed up when I get dressed.
The biggest difference of all is the time out of the house. Working from home, with Skip here, I was leaving the house only 2-3 times a week. It was primarily to run errands or go to Cape Cod to visit my parents every other week. Now, I have to put on clothes suitable for going out, put the pups in their crate and head out to Skip's hospital every day. Of all the changes prompted from Skip's stay in rehab, this is the best one for me. I was becoming a bit of a hermit, preferring not to leave the house if at all possible. It's good to be back out in the world more.
When Skip comes home (currently projected for January 14th), the dogs will first bark when they see her come out of the garage door on her way towards the house. Then, they will whine and jump all over her. They will be ecstatic to have her home. I will need to stock up on groceries. The TV will go on and the negotiations over what to watch will begin. I will again be balancing all the demands on me to satisfy all the needs of work, Skip and maintaining a household. After a few days, the Ibuprofen bottle will be back out on the bathroom counter. I can't wait!
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