Michael went for his MRI on Monday. It was torture for me to see how difficult the trip was for him. My son Michael and his new caregiver lifted him into the truck and he sat next to me as I drove and held my hand. It was a long time to wait for the test and, never one to complain, his agitation was evident in his leg shaking up and down. The nurse couldn’t find a vein and had to put the IV in his wrist. She said it’s painful going in there but he didn’t complain.

As we sat in the waiting room I thought that it was just about a year ago that I was stricken with kidney stones and Michael brought me into the ER and stayed with me and held my hand. He kept humoring me as I had to drink that awful stuff for the CT scan. I almost burst into tears sitting there but my son was regaling the other patients with description of my book (some people asked me to write down the title). But I kept thinking about Michael with me a year before. At one point he went to get me some water and on the way back he had stepped into the wrong room and handed some strange lady my water. We both thought that pretty funny. I can’t imagine many people being able to make me laugh while I was suffering with kidney stones. But he did.

Sitting there on Monday thinking about it, I kept feeling tears sting my eyes and I would pull them back. But the memories were funny and painful at the same time.

We finally got into the MRI and the tech said he couldn’t take it because of Michael’s shaking. I said he was agitated because of the long wait but would calm down (though I had no idea if that was true or not) and I couldn’t put him through this again. I asked if we could restrain his legs and we did but he kept shaking. We waited a while and he fell asleep and settled down. I simply didnt’ want to leave there and have to go through it again. We waited and he did calm down. He asked, at the end, if he could please go home. Yes honey we will be going soon. I couldn’t get him in to the car fast enough.

I drove home as fast as I could because Michael kept saying he couldn’t get comfortable. That’s Michael speak for “I’m in excruciating pain.”

We got him home, fed him and he went out like a light. I felt guilty that I put him through that just so I could “know” what is going on and where we are. But if there are other things I should be doing for him, I want to know.

I read a comment on the GPYP blog yesterday about someone who is dealing with a chronically ill parent. The person said “I’m watching someone disappear.”

I realized that was what was going on with Michael. He’s been slowly disappearing. I thought about the person who was with me in the hospital last April and the person who I am with this March. My Michael is still in there…but is slowly seeping away from me. My son Michael lifted Michael in to the car and out of the car. One time when my honey lopped off the top of his finger with a tool, he put a bandaid on it and went back to doing whatever he was doing. My son Michael said, “This is the toughest man on the face of the planet.” For a young teenager, as Michael was, this was impressive. For me he was just being who he was. It was his place (according to him, not to us) to be strong and healthy for everyone. The rest of us could break down and go to hospitals and take to our sick beds, but he was never sick and never injured (even when he was sick and injured) and just interested in being there for everyone else. I could talk Michael into and out of a lot of things (most anything) but I couldn’t talk him into letting anyone know that he was sick or hurting in anyway. Even though the love of my life disappears before my eyes, my love for him only gets stronger and I feel more and more protective of him. I know there’s only so much I can do. For the most part he’s not in any pain and he’s well taken care of (now that I’ve hired a class A person) and loved.

But it is up to me to know he is hurting. When he says he is slightly uncomfortable, I only want to make him comfortable. I want to make his every day as comfortable as possible.

The way he’s made my life the past 12 years.