Friday, August 19, 2011


PEOPLE IN THE KNOW, those who have been through a partner's illness, keep warning me to be sure to take care of myself. I've only been vaguely aware of what that means.......surely, getting enough sleep, eating correctly, all that sort of thing. But once again I received a warning when, following last Tuesday's bingo hour, Betty called across the room, "You look tired. You need to take care of the caretaker". The next day she extended the warning by telling me that she was admitted to the hospital the night before her husband died and that she knew all too well the pressures put upon those who attend to the ill.

In our case, the problem seems to lie in the patient not wanting to be cared for. Mr. Bob didn't want to be curtailed from pumping gas when his oxygen level fell to 79%. (Later a therapist said that at that reading, 911 should be called.) My insistence on postponing the task made him absolutely apoplectic and words were uttered that would best have been left unsaid, hurtful enough to halt my blogging abilities for days on end. Yet another time he became furious when I called for a backup tank of oxygen the day before he was scheduled for his seven hour chemotherapy treatment. There was another melt-down earlier this week when I tried to practice taking care. He has dismissed me as his advocate. Instead of feeling relief, it feels like rejection.

So yesterday, I decided to give myself some respite care and I went to town, town being our old stomping grounds of Montrose.
Getting an early start to meet a dental hygienist's appointment at 8:20, I managed to stay away and give Mr. Bob nearly 10 Jane-free hours and indeed he seemed quite chipper when I reappeared.

That many paned window to the right used to be my second floor office when the bookshop was on the corner.

Yesterday morning I ate breakfast here.

Maureen and her daughter were having breakfast at the Black Cow so we had a chat about the folly of running a bookshop. Once Upon a Time will be 45 years old in October.....the oldest children's bookstore in the nation.

Later, no interest was shown in what my ten hours held.
Not that there's anything wrong in that.
Note to self: Get used to it.


  1. Not being a professional, my guess is he is fighting to the death to remain in charge of himself - and his personhood, and revelance in the world and may not even know that's at the root of it. Everywhere people are telling him what to do. But you, being close at hand get his backlash not the other folks.

    So more outings for you. Let's hope he doesn't do harm with his insistance on his way. Very hard knot to unravel!


  2. Thank you Jane...I agree with the above post.....Take care of you. bob is on a path of which he knows not the journey in entirety.....Tough times and many desired to do on his own....You r loved by all your readers and way beyond too.

  3. I am sure your readers know that under your appreciated candor is great love. To honestly tell the day to day story blesses each of us with greater compassion and knowledge. So, I am glad to be reading your blog again and hope it continues. You write too well to stop! Through the blog we all walk with you and Mr. Bob.

    I also find that one of the most grown up things you can do when facing stressful situations in life is RUN AWAY!!!!!! Do continue those healthy little getaways---they are good for BOTH of you! I can personally recommend mediocre, tearjerker movies----popcorn and cry in the dark can do WONDERS for your soul!!!!! (So says Lisa Lou)

  4. I also really agree with all of these posted comments. I imagine it's probably very scary for him, and he's probably worrying, too, that he is a burden to you. Plus, who knows how all the chemo affects a person, on top of the horrible discomfort he must feel. You were smart to take some time off--I'm sure you need that here and there, and it's good for both of you. It helps to put things into perspective. I so admire how you both are dealing with such an excruciatingly difficult time. Love to both of you...xoxo

  5. Yes- I agree with all of the above.
    Bob is fighting the fight. And you need to make sure that you take good care of yourself! Don't take it personally when he lashes out at you.

    I loved seeing the pics of Montrose!

  6. Great posting Jane. All are right ! In order to help others you must help yourself first!
    Ted helps me a lot and I appreciate that. He does go off and do things by himself and with friends. he is there for me when I need him. LaVona A Non Y MOuse

  7. Jane,

    Hang onto that first post. And what in the world has become of your knitting??! My way of running away when I really have to stick around.

    We love you, Jane!


  8. Which first post Erika? (the one holding up the Montrose sigh?)

    LaVona....... In theory, I know it's true, but it feels so much as though I'm shirking my duty when I go off and leave a sick man, although the Manor is a good place to be for that.

    MJ...... again, I know that in theory, but it's hard not to take it personally when your name is attached to the attack.

    Kathy.... you're a stalwart reader and commenter (commentator?)

    Sue...... I don't think we're handling it at all admirably. At least Mr. Bob has a damned good excuse.

    Lisa Lou ..... that's what tomorrow's post will be about...movies and the dark.

    Kathy G.... I appreciate that you're such a stalwart reader and commenter or should that be commentator?

    #409.... There's truth to what you say and since you're our next door neighbor, there's every chance that you're privy to some of those back-lashings.

  9. Jane, I feel your pain and would love to meet you in Montrose anywhere, anytime. 818-000----- or cell 818-000-----

  10. about sometime week after next? Would love that.

  11. Jane,
    Just a quick note to say that I understand ~ I haven’t had the number of years with my JimNelson that you have had with Mr. Bob, although I can tell you of my routine in the hopes that you will not feel alone.
    JimNelson was in the hospital for much of his chemo treatments. He was on his chemo for 7 days, off for 21 and back for another 7. This seemed to bring his body to near death, more times than I could ever realize while going through it.
    I would cry, sob, cuss up the five flights of stairs to get to his room. I would rest at the fourth floor to compose myself. Sometimes I would talk to Momason/Janet on the phone, stopping to sit in a heap of silent tears before making that last floor, getting myself together and pushing into the hall of the Oncology floor of the hospital.

    None of this will really help you. Not sure why I thought this would be helpful. It is not.
    10 hours of Jane-time is necessary, it is necessary at least once a week. Make a date for yourself. Perhaps take Monday next week, Tuesday the following, you can do this. And Mr. Bob loves you dearly although all his energy (if he is anything like JimNelson and others I know who have gone through chemo) is going to be spent just getting through the poison. He will not have interest in your time, your tears, your struggles. Unfortunate.

    People do love you, care for you, want you to be happy and healthy. The guilt that surrounds being kind to yourself while your partner is in such a place is not healthy. Natural, although not healthy.

    As my friend, Judy, from Kodiak, says (her partner having 46 hours of chemo every other week here in Anchorage) “all I want is some Judy Time … “ She will be here soon and we will go have that time.

    Do wish we could jump in the car, be at your front door an hour later and scoop you up to take a bit of Jane Time.

    Love you!

  12. Jill.....More thanks than I can express for letting me know of your experiences. It's hard to imagine until one is going through it. I joined a needlework class which meets 3 Saturday mornings a month. I hum "We Shall Overcome" a lot these days.

  13. i wish i could sit with you, over a pot of tea, and whilst knitting, discuss which books should be read and which should be passed over. in other words, about little things that bring joy. you have a whole lot of what brings pain and sadness. i am sorry i can not whisk you away for a day of little things.

    denise in c'ville, va

  14. I've been known to complain about how needy Gary is when he's ailing. Don't think I'll be complaining about that anynmore as you've put things into perspective for me.

    I admire that you're willing to be so candid with your followers.

    Love and best wishes to you both.


  15. We are - all of us - in "Assisted Living" and have been since Day One. Your words - and your willingness to share these words - are gifts to caregivers and those who need the care as well.

    Always have been. Always will be.

    I love you SeeJaneBuy!