Valentine’s Day Buzzkill

Valentine’s Day should be super-romantic for us.  It’s the two day running start to the anniversary of our engagement, February 16th.   (The engagement is a great story, but has nothing to do with care giving so you miss out on this blog.)

So you would think that we would spend the better part of a week on flowers, champagne, oysters and lust.  And we could.  We’re aging, not expired.


We have in our house a just-about-to-turn-19-year-old autistic kid.  If he needs us, he simply jars open the door and walks into our room.  Any time.2012-12-22_09-13-56_966

Sometimes, it is to push the “on” button on our TV because he likes the glow it casts in the hallway when he’s in bed.

Sometimes, it’s because he got up to play on the computer and it isn’t doing what he wants.

Sometimes, he wants to carry on a conversation about a movie company logo he saw in a video preview.

Sometimes, he can’t get the bottle of juice open for a midnight drink.  (He expects us to cover just about any fine motor action.)

Sometimes, it’s “clean up on aisle 5” conditions with which I won’t sicken you right now.

He can come busting in any ol’ time, and we’ve become masters at positioning sheets and blankets, and keeping bits of fast-on clothing within reach.

It’s another of those things, like helping him with his bath, that should have been a few months of inconvenience when he was a toddler.  But here it is, still with us after almost two decades.

And we should count ourselves among the lucky.  There are plenty of couples in which a healthy spouse is taking care of a seriously ill spouse, and romance isn’t even on the menu.  Here’s one wife describing the last months of caring for her husband:

“Michael’s illness was just plain hard. I’m not complaining; it could have been a thousand times worse and I know that. Yet from the day he got sick in late November until he died on April 5, he never again had even one good day. His life became throwing up in a bucket or trying to sit perfectly still so he wouldn’t throw up. My life became driving him to medical appointments in the dead of winter through rain and sleet and snow and fog and sometimes all of the above. I’ll condense the story for your reading enjoyment. Michael got worse. Life got harder. Then he died.”


Can’t imagine their February 14th that year.  So I guess I should cease my whining here and just keep my shirt on.  Literally.


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