The loving decision

Cherished, patient readers, you deserve an informative update. Here it is.

My dear bride Betsy was stricken with polio when she was 12, barely a year before the polio vaccine was discovered. Following a year of rehab, she moved on with her life, her right ankle surgically fused into a locked position in the shape of a golf club. Flat-heeled shoes for the rest of her life. Her left leg, unaffected by polio, became richly muscled and provided the power to propel her walking for the next several decades. But that strong left leg began to weaken in her late 70s and now her 80s.

Less than a month ago, Betsy’s physical strength had declined to the point that she could barely move one foot painfully in front of the other, an inch at a time, even when assisted by a walker or crutches. And not only her legs. She now needs someone else’s strong arms to lower her into a seated position or lift her to a standing position. She requires a wheelchair to move from place to place.

A team of strong, compassionate certified nursing assistants now come to our house daily to get her in to and out of bed, dress and bathe her, assist her in the bathroom and perform light housekeeping. They are a wonderful help when they are here. When they aren’t, I am responsible for her constant care.

Betsy, our three exceptional daughters and I agree that full-time professional care is what she needs, and we now are making arrangements for her to move into her own apartment in an assisted living community whose facility is not far from our home. You can imagine that during these past few weeks Betsy’s care and how best to manage it have dominated our lives. Choosing to move her into an assisted living environment has been a wrenching decision for a couple who for the past 56 years has lived together under the same roof, but we have come to realize that it is the right one, and it is the most loving one.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your patience and expressions of support. Please keep checking in. I expect to resume blogging more regularly now.

2 thoughts on “The loving decision

  1. I hope you know you are definitely doing the right thing for her and for you all. That said, I expect that is small comfort in the sadness you must feel about this life change. I’m keeping you, your loving wife and the rest of your family in my thoughts and prayers.


  2. also, I recently read this in connection with a WHOLE OTHER ISSUE, but it really spoke to me…I want to share with you too:
    “I was once listening to a radio program where a combat veteran was interviewed, and he said the biggest thing he learned in war was to “embrace the suck.” The phrase stuck with me. When I remember the year that I spent with my own dying mother living with us, my toddler children crawling and creating messes everywhere, our finances struggling, our marriage hanging on by a thread, it was, to put it mildly, horrendous. But if I could go back and give myself any advice, it would be that. To embrace the suck. I was trying to get it to go smoothly. I was trying to avoid discomfort or pain. And as a result, every moment of difficulty was doubly hard. It hurt and, because I was trying to get it to not hurt, it hurt that it hurt. I now realize that I was like a person standing in a monsoon trying not to get wet. …like you, I did not have a choice. So, we do the best we can. We learn to appreciate the moments that were wonderful because they were there too….”


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