Last weekend, just after I wrote my Six Word Saturday piece (at my SnakyPoet blog) Himself came to me and said, ‘I think I need to go to the hospital.’ He had been cold all night — a very warm night — and was still cold although the temperature in the house was 28ºC. He had what he described as ‘tightness’ in his chest. He was very pale.
I took him to Emergency. They agreed he should be there and hooked him up to monitors. The chest pain came and went intermittently. Eventually they sent him to the High Dependency Unit, where he continued to be monitored constantly.
Our local hospital is only ten minutes away by car, so I popped in twice a day to see him. I took the weekend papers and we sat and read them together, companionably, and chatted. At first he liked the new food and all the attention, and the comfortable room with a lovely view. But then he began to get bored and cranky. A good sign, I thought.
Sure enough, the tests indicated nothing wrong with his heart after all, so they sent him home on Monday. They don’t know what caused his symptoms, but suggested maybe it was a gastric problem.
There have been no further symptoms. Nonetheless it confronted us all over again with the probability that he will die before me. Recently we had documents drawn up to give me power of attorney for him if and when need arises, plus enduring guardianship for such decisions as health matters. Now I’ve left a copy of the latter with our doctor, and I have one to take with me next time he needs to go to hospital (which he has needed several times in the last two years, usually with more serious symptoms). Good to have it on file in both places, I think.
I tend to feel mildly guilty that I often stay up later than him, particularly as it is frequently the only time I can get decent internet access. I think I SHOULD be spending the time with him, as I won’t have him forever, and when he goes I’ll regret all the togetherness we missed out on — though in fact we have an unusually large amount of togetherness, and my greatest need is ‘me time’. The other evening, as he said good night and went happily off to embrace sleep while I got stuck into emails and facebook, it dawned on me that perhaps it’s a good thing that we spend some time apart. (Well, I am always looking to see what are the benefits in our atrocious internet situation!) It occurred to me that, given the approaching separation — not only through inevitable death but perhaps through his increasing dementia, which oftentimes has me feeling lonely even in his company — perhaps the Universe is kindly providing a little advance practice in detachment?