My dear husband is hanging on to his independence tooth and nail. He reminded me the other day that he can still do the banking. I wanted to help him, but he insisted I wait for him in the car. I respected his wishes and watched him through the window slowly make his way into the bank. After some time, I was just about ready to go in to see if he needed any help, but then he came out...with a smile on his face that said, “Banking accomplished.”
When I see him struggle with something, I jump in to help, only to hear him say, “I can do it.” There are certain things he graciously allows me to do for him now, simply because his 'half handicap' limits him. For instance, it’s difficult for him to take off his sweaty socks after a bike ride, so I peel them off (yuck…I'm talking soaked), but I don’t mind…same with the sweaty t-shirts. Sometimes I help him on with his pants, sweat shirts and his jacket. I am constantly asking if he needs a snack, a drink, a sweater, a massage. I ask if he is too warm, too cold, tired, hungry etc. I’m sure I bug him sometimes, but I can’t stand the thought of him not being comfortable and not asking for help if he needs it.
I know it bothers him that he can’t help bring in the groceries or change the 18L water jug on the water cooler any more. He used to like washing the kitchen floor, knowing I loved to come home to see it glisten. The things most people complain about, like washing dishes, Mike misses being able to do. He would give anything to do a load of laundry, or change a light bulb, or clip his finger nails, but those things are things of the past. Mike is a fighter though, and he will fight to maintain the little independence he has left…and the one liners are still coming on strong.
I continue to watch Mike in amazement; his bravery, his humility, his patience and his determination. Sometimes, I just stare at him. I examine the toll ALS has taken on his body, but his face is the same to me: the variety of wonderful expressions, the warmth of his smile and the sparkle in his eyes.
There is something else that hasn’t change as well; his amazing attitude! Still not one complaint…not one!