Pay back

The wheelchair and walker have left the house. The disappearing cane forces me to hobble around searching for it. Back on my feet and walking,­ well, okay, limping ­ I definitely have reached the end of my intense, initial phase of healing after a complex fracture of my leg.
I still enjoyed a few at home privileges of “the invalid” until Saturday morning when my husband woke up with the worst cramp ever. His crippling pain declared my healing time had finished. It was payback time. The pain worsened as the day progressed. Double doses of over the counter medications did not help. As the moon rose, so did his pain. Rolling in pain and misery he needed relief in order to sleep.
We found my misplaced cane for him to use. This time I drove to the emergency room. Bent over the cane he hobbled to the door. The male nurse took one look and offered him a wheelchair to the examination room. Hubby collapsed into the chair with a sigh of relief I well knew.
Tests, exams and a shot of morphine relieved the pain. “If it was pain at a level of 10 when I came in, it is now at a level of three,” he declared to the ER doctor. With midnight approaching, we left with a sheaf of papers and prescriptions for stronger medicines.
Following his day of pain, bed never looked so good, until he tried to lay down and the pain returned with a vengeance.
“Go sleep in the lounge chair,” I demanded. “You need it.” I ought to know, I spent many hours in it after I fell in April.
He took charge of the lounge chair before I could retrieve my piles of books and entertainment stored around the lounge chair.
For months I had owned the remote control. That weekend I lost it to the new invalid, and the TV blared with football announcers for hours instead of my favorite shows.
By necessity, I began to reclaim the kitchen as he called, “Would you get me a hamburger? Hand me my medicines. Would you please bring me a glass of water?”
I hardly could say, “Do it yourself.” His pain seared away his usual energy. What could I say, but, “sure.” After all he really had willingly complied with my requests from the lounge chair through the spring and early summer. He washed dishes, cleaned house, made meals and reheated leftovers while I exercised, slept, read and watched television.
I owed him big time.
So I paid, as long as I could. As the weekend wore out, my still rebuilding muscles demanded rest. Flopping onto the couch, I looked across the room him in lounge chair and laughed. “We are a couple of old codgers today, aren’t we?”
He laughed and nodded. We just wanted to get through the day and the pain.
A couple days of pain and exhaustion restricting both our movements and suddenly I understand how the elderly accumulate a stash of pills, magazines, water glasses and snacks on the table beside their favorite chair. It just takes way too much effort to put everything away only to take it out again a couple hours later. With two of us groaning at the thought of walking to the kitchen to get a glass of water, the routine of housekeeping took backseat for the weekend. Later, when we feel better I will deal with all that.
Meanwhile, I am quite happy to relinquish the lounge chair to him, and I relish the freedom of walking and driving again.