Recently, I watched a Forensic Files II show on TV, and the only clue investigators had that a crime had even been committed was a shoe on a bed. Nothing else had been disturbed, but they knew something bad had happened because they couldn’t find the other shoe.
Too often lately, I’ve felt like I’m waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop. Just when things started looking up, we came across that slippery slope of “gotcha.”
Monday, I packed up my ukulele, my bag, and fixed my ice water in preparation to (at last!) play music at a nursing home. I bartered with the doctor’s office to delay a visit until after the performance. Then, I showered, dressed, and applied my makeup including pink lipstick for “Lipstick on Your Collar.”
I was just reviewing my songs before heading out the door when my mom called. “We’ve been cancelled due to Covid.” Crap. All dressed up and nowhere to go, well, except for the doctor’s office.
I really feel like I’ve done my time at doctor’s offices. I spent countless hours with Jim during the multi-year diagnostic process. I enrolled him in a drug study so that involved more visits. After the initial screening, most of Jim’s appointments were out of town, so visits included travel time as well.
Occasionally, I would try to make it a fun trip. I stopped at the mall once, but when I turned my back on Jim, he wandered off. When security and I couldn’t find him, I went to the parking lot to check the car. He wasn’t there either. Security had just picked up the phone to call the police department when he came wandering down the hall.
Hospitalizations made doctor’s visits seem downright pleasant. In the hospital someone had to stay awake to make sure Jim kept his clothes on and didn’t pull out the IV. I was a physical and emotional wreck each hospital stay.
When I went for my annual doctor visit, which turned out to be bi-annual, my doctor and I were talking about how rough the past year and a-half has been. I told her we had lost several friends and family members for all kinds of health reasons, not just Covid-19. She said part of the reason was that people didn’t keep up with their health maintenance. She didn’t say, like me, but I have to admit, I was one of the guilty ones.
Caregivers have this health ignore symptom going on. I know that by the time I took Jim to all his appointments, I had no desire to spend any additional time in a physician’s waiting room. I always thought that was the ideal environment to catch a cold or get the flu. I’m still dealing with the after-effects of my neglect. I struggle with issues that might never have happened if I’d not neglected my own health during the stressful days of caregiving.
Waiting for the other shoe to drop means you are waiting for the inevitable. I knew what the inevitable was for Jim. I was living with anticipatory grief although I tried to convince myself and, everyone around me, that I wasn’t. I was in the purgatory of waiting for the other shoe to drop.
The other shoe may have been the only evidence that something terrible had happened. Outwardly, I looked and acted the same, as if nothing bad had happened at all.
Copyright © July 2021 by L.S. Fisher