We were having company on Saturday. The boys were coming over to do the yard, bringing the grandkids that I haven’t seen in a few weeks (and miss them madly) and my best friend and her husband and kids were coming over to visit. They also brought me a cake and balloons to celebrate my book being available on Amazon for pre-order.

The weather was gorgeous and my son Nick (25) and I went outside to work for a while. My daughter Gina (15) worked with Nick while I worked on the food.

Michael seemed angry and agitated. He was also forgetting what I would say about two minutes after I said it. I was trying to concentrate on the food preparation and going outside to help Nick every now and again.

I gave Michael his noon pills (chemotherapy) and he yelled at me that I was happy to be shoving pills down his throat. In the almost 12 years we’ve been married he has never snapped at me like that. It reminded me of my grandfather in his final days yelling at my grandmother over nothing. I didn’t say anything but walked away to work on the food and the yard.

My best friend came over with her kids and the little boys soon came. My friend’s son is 10 and entertained CJ and Derek (4 and 2). They had a blast raking leaves and running up and down the hill. It was beautiful.

Inside Michael wasn’t making a lot of sense and was somewhat combative. It’s the tumor, the radiation and the steroids. He isn’t always like this but I think that noise levels make him tense. And he wanted everyone to come over…he loves my best friend’s husband in a way he likes few people….but the house was filling up and even though I know he loves everyone that was here, he was surly most of the time. Very un-Michael like.

He also talked non-stop and over everyone else. When my friend wanted to do a toast to me, for the book, before cutting the cake, he broke in with, “Wait until I write my book! Then we’ll have something to celebrate!” Everyone looked uncomfortable. No one knew what to say. He has never stolen my thunder and he was just talking nonstop. She stopped for a minute and started again and again he broke in and started talking about the kind of book he would write. They hurried up the toast. My friend said, “An incredible accomplishment” and my oldest son said, “Incredible but not unexpected.” That made me smile.

We were all talking in the kitchen and Michael wandered into the living room. As we would talk he would raise the volume on the televison so that we could not hear ourselves. I would go in and gently ask him to lower it. He would but would raise it again in the next minute. It was fairly frustrating.

When it was time for bed he wouldn’t go and after having a house full of company all day and working outside, I had to leave him on the couch. I simply did not have the energy to argue with him. If he “went dead” like he does, pretending not to hear me and not responding, I had no energy for it. So i just went up to bed and hoped he would be okay.

In the morning he seemed a bit better and even came upstairs to the office. He has not been on the computer since he’s been home and I thought that was a welcome improvement. Perhaps things were looking up.

I was on my computer and he was on his. It hasn’t been this way in a while and I was enjoying it immensely for all of 10 minutes. Then I turned around and looked at the bottom of his feet. They were smeared with something. I got up and looked closer. Whatever it was, was all over the rug.

It was feces. He had somehow had diarrhea and had it all over and apparently stepped in it. It was everywhere.

I brought him downstairs, where there are no rugs, and tried to get him into the downstairs bathroom and there was diarrhea everywhere. On the floors, on the walls, on the toilet, on the sink. I put a wet towel down and tried to get him to wash off his feet while I cleaned up the bathroom but I kept running outside to gag.

I have a weak stomach and this was really a lot of “stuff.” I didn’t want to gag in front of Michael so I would rush out of the room and onto the deck. When Nick realized what was going on, he ran into the bathroom to help me.

He gently told Michael to hold still and helped him clean up. Nick cleaned his feet and his legs and helped him wash up other parts while I cleaned some more. Then Nick took a mop and Pinesol and went over all the floors downstairs (it was all over all the floors) as I went up to clean up the rug upstairs.

I brought Michael into the living room to situate him on the couch and he started crying. He’s a strong, proud, independent man and he started crying. “I don’t want my kids cleaning me up…not like this, not like this.” he said.

“It’s okay,” I said gently, “We’re all here for you.”

He’s a Vietnam Vet and the only other time I’ve seen him cry was our trips to the Wall in DC but he was clearly suffering humiliation.

“And pay him for doing the yard work.” I said I was not paying him. Nick knew Michael was upset and tried to tell him it was okay and that he has always been there for all of us and now we are there for him. Nick is adamant that Michael is his father. Michael was one who taught him to fish and drive and took him to camp and was there for him. He means the world to my boys and Nick assured him that it was all okay.

But Michael took it very hard.

He was quiet the rest of the day and did not argue when I said it was time for bed. He went up and even though this is easier than his combativeness, he seemed beaten, almost. After he fell asleep, I cried for a good long time.

Today he has been cooperative and friendly but almost needy…he doesn’t want me to leave the room.

But he’s back to his loving and friendly self. I cooked a few of his favorite foods today and he enjoyed and appreciated it. We sat in the living room, side by side, watching television and eating. He kept complimenting the food and the company.

At one point in the afternoon, he looked at me and said, “You know I really love you.”

Yes, I know. And I you. No matter how difficult it is….and I, you.

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