|Finished Christmas Day cast-on socks|
The first thing to say: thank you so much for commenting with details of dog-fostering services which might cover my area – I had no idea they existed. Amazing!
However, since asking the question, I have done some serious thinking and came to the conclusion that I need the “excuse” of the dog to get away from the hospice at night.
That sounds terrible!
Let me explain…
I have got into something of a routine. I get up around 7am, breakfast and shower, gather together anything I need to take to the hospice, then feed and walk Hero. I take him out on the lead, and let him run free on the way back. He knows he will get a doggy treat when he gets home, so there is an incentive not to wander off on the return journey :)
Then I drive into the city to see FL.
Visitors are welcome from 10am and I am usually there shortly after that.
I sit in a chair next to FL’s bedside with my knitting. If he is asleep, I listen to a podcast on my phone.
At noon, visitors are expected to leave patients to have their lunch in peace. However, as FL has not been eating, I have not been leaving him for long: maybe fifteen minutes, while I get a mug of tea or coffee in the reception area.
I return to my seat and stay there until around 4pm, when I head home to beat the rush hour and with the intention to let Hero out again before it is dark.
My journey takes about 3/4 of an hour each way, depending on the traffic.
I get home, feed and walk Hero and then feed myself. By that time I will not have eaten for almost 12 hours. The hospital MacMillan nurse has already remarked that I have lost weight. It is not intentional! It has been difficult to look after myself when all my energy has been going on looking after FL.
Today FL was asleep for most of my visit.
He had a bad night of pain after his fall, and the doctor had allowed him to have painkillers on demand. As a result, he had taken about 20mg of Hydromorphone: far more than he has ever had before. I don’t think the doctor had expected him to ask for so much and is keen to wean him off it again as soon as possible.
FL did not ask for painkillers all day.
He woke at 1pm and went to the toilet with his zimmer frame and assistance from a nurse.
He tried to sit up for a little while, but was too uncomfortable, so was soon back in bed again and fast asleep.
I offered him water each time he stirred. He took a few sips.
And as I was sitting there, reading the comments about dog-care services on my phone, it dawned on me that if I stayed overnight, I would continue to behave like this. I would spend the night watching over him, listening to him breathe and reacting to every murmur with an offer of help.
And that is not sustainable behaviour.
If were to stay there 24/7, I would be a wreck within a day or so.
I need to get away, to gather my strength, to eat and to sleep.
I need to keep a semblance of my own life going, readying myself for a future that is not entirely dedicated to my darling FL.
He has been the sun around which I have orbited for so very many years. Sometimes my orbit has swung quite a long way out, but I have always been drawn back in. Right now I am in danger of going into freefall if I don’t keep a little distance, if I don’t remember that I am my own person and that I have to go on living after he has gone.
So I will take care of his daft old dog for him.
I have bought a grooming brush, and Hero was shocked to find himself being de-fluffed for the first time in his life. If he’s not careful, he might find himself in the bath one of these days!
Some of you suggested me taking Hero to visit the hospice.
There is a sign saying that dogs are allowed in on a lead, and I suppose I could open the French windows to let him into the garden to chase the squirrels… but he is not a socialised dog. I actually think it would be very stressful for all of us: FL, Hero and me.
Better that we continue as we are while we can.
I have the local gamekeeper on standby to let the dog out and feed him in an emergency.
I believe that is the best thing, for everyone’s sake.
Tomorrow I will have a new project to work on. I am test-knitting the Starman shawl for Helen of The Wool Kitchen, using her gorgeous Ziggy colourway.
Because David Bowie and my darling have something other than a cancer diagnosis in common: one brown eye and one blue :)