This morning I woke up panicked. What if five years from now Grandpa’s care needs have only increased? What if the mild depression that comes like weak mist each time I sit by his bed during another hospital stay becomes denser? More debilitating?
Today, I can handle Grandpa and the demands of his care. Today, I don’t shrink from Grandpa’s penis. Yesterday Grandpa’s penis definitely made me balk. Tomorrow? When the caregiver is out, and Grandpa poos in his pants? Will I be able to clean up the mess? Wipe his bottom? Even the idea of it constricts my stomach with dread. Gross and yuck and it is just too much! Especially as it is highly unlikely that Grandpa will cooperate.
There is a real probability that Grandpa will soon lose bladder and bowel control. The doctors have told us this. But that is not today. I remind myself this as my heart thump, thump, thumps in my chest.
Today, with assistance, Grandpa still uses the toilet. While the idea of wiping his bottom causes me to recoil, today I am ok with helping Grandpa to the toilet. Today I can wait by the door periodically asking how it is going, while listening to his fart noises. With kindness, I can assist with his belt buckle after, as his sour breath blows across my face. Patiently, I remind him how to turn on the tap. These are today’s facts. This is today. Today is where I will stay.
Also published on Medium.