I told Ken this morning, ”I’m in awe of you”.
He, of course, said, “Finally. I’ve been trying to impress you for a quarter century.” Ha! My husband… always trying to make me laugh. Seriously though, I really don’t know how he does it. Me, I’m exhausted. Plain and simple, thoroughly exhausted. Upon coming home from a week of business travel on Friday night, already exhausted and fighting a migraine, I was ready to relax. I missed my family terribly and couldn’t wait to just hold Ryan and catch up with Ken.
I was looking forward to a nice weekend. Pro football season was starting and I had a plan. Even though exhausted, I was also excited. I was planning on watching WVU on Saturday and the Redskins on Sunday. I was going to run to the store to buy some of our traditional football munchies and surprise Ken with our old gameday meal. Oh, how I loved those days. Every Redskin game, I’d make hotdogs, kielbassy & sauerkraut, nachos, baked beans, and those little wieners. Very, very fattening, yes, but the family loved it. It was family time. We’d all sit in front of the TV watching games, checking our fantasy football picks, and eating. Ryan was in his element!
And sweet, sweet Kari, she would pop in and out, grabbing a bite, stepping in front of the television to bug her brother, or asking me to drive her to a friend’s house. Ryan never understood how she couldn’t sit through a whole game! “Girls,” he would say, “they just don’t get it!” But anyway, I thought that as the season was kicking off this would be a good time to try to bring some normalcy to our lives. I couldn’t wait! I was going to let Ryan taste the food. He would love it! But, no, it wasn’t meant to be.
Back to Friday night. I walk in the door, take off my shoes, run down in the basement and bam…find out the nurse has called out. It’s not her fault, but, oh the sinking pain. I already had a migraine, but now, I’m going to be up all night with a migraine. And guess what, the nurse for Saturday also called out. What? You have to be kidding me? Ken’s been on his own all week. He has to be exhausted and now we don’t have a nurse for 72 hours!!
I wanted to sit and cry. But no time for that… we have to get the meds ready and give Ryan a shower (yes, the beautiful shower). I ask him, do you like the water? Give me a thumbs up if you like the water. And he moves his thumb. Oh, yes, now I cry. I needed that. I needed that badly. My Ryan, he knows when his mom needs a sign that all is going to be okay. We finish getting him ready for bed and I crawl up with him, just holding him tightly. It is so good to be home and I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful family. “Ding, ding”…. A new text… “I love you”. Ahhh…how do they know? It’s Kari and she just made my night. All is well. I’m up all night, but all is well.
4:30 am… I’m prepping Ryan’s 5 & 6 o’clock meds and I turn around and what? Ken is up! It’s 4:30! Seriously, how does he do it? He’s up and helping. Ryan has an incredible series of meds and shots from 5-7 and he’s there to help with them. He also helps me get him up and dressed. I’m planning on helping him get Ryan into the HBOT around 7, but I lay down on the bed for just a minute, a minute, that’s all, but…. nope, I fell asleep. I didn’t wake up until noon.
And what’s that I hear upon waking? There is noise from upstairs, multiple footsteps, what’s going on? I walk out to see Ken sipping coffee and talking to Ryan with a beautiful vase of flowers sitting next to him. He says a mystery woman dropped them off this morning. How amazing this community is! And then he tells me the noise upstairs is the ladies (Sue’s Crew). They brought muffins and are upstairs cleaning and washing clothes. They’ve been here all morning, cleaning my house. Mary, Debbie, Paula, and Miranda! What an amazing group of people.
I walk upstairs and I can’t believe my eyes. They are scrubbing and cleaning! It’s incredible! I think, Miranda, it’s Saturday, you should be out with your friends or at the mall. But, no, she wants to be here helping Ryan. After mopping my floor and pulling weeds, she sits down with Ryan to talk to him and watch the WVU game. How wonderful… I love when people take the time to sit and talk to Ryan. Because… he might not be able to communicate yet, but I feel he hears and understands. I can tell. I see the difference in his face. He longs to hear his friends voices and stories. I believe it is therapeutic and is what keeps him fighting day after day. He wants his life back.
The day goes on, Ken naps for a few hours, and I even catch a cat nap while the ladies pamper Ryan with foot and head massages. Oh, and once again, if you wonder if he can tell. Every time, Mary stopped rubbing his feet, Ryan would kick his foot. He was really enjoying his day. But once again, night was coming. The nursing agency had no luck and we were on our own again. After arguing over who was staying up, Ken suggests we take turns in two hour shifts. This seems like a fair compromise, although I felt it should have still been me up, but I agree. Ken’s tells me he going to watch some TV with Ryan so I should sleep first. I’m exhausted, so I agree. So back to the point of my text…. “how does he do it?” I wake up, and guess what? It’s not midnight, it’s 6am! 6am! Ken is up making the concoction of nutrients for Ryan’s lunch and fresh cranberry juice. He’s wide awake. He spent the night up with Ryan! How does he do it? Me, I’m still tired, but somehow, Ken just keeps on going. I am in awe!
So, I finally sent Ken to bed, or should I say, like me yesterday, he sat down on the bed to wait for Ryan to finish up in the HBOT and fell asleep. We won’t be having our gameday feast, but I’ll watch the game with Ryan and fill Ken in later when he wakes up. While our lives are far from perfect, it feels good knowing what wonderful family and friends I have. Thank you to everyone for all your support and love… we couldn’t do it without you!
And Ken, I did notice you were a good guy a decade or so ago, but didn’t want it to go to your head!
All my love…
- Ryan Should be with You, Kari. (ryansrally.org)