Sam had a bit of a raw deal when he married me as regards the sickness bit – on and off for the last 12 years he’s had to help me through much unpleasant treatment for thyroid cancer, which he has done willingly and with a good heart. He has sat up with me all night in hospital, dressed my wounds, has done his share of bedpan duty, and has even tried to replicate the scene in ‘Out of Africa’ several times when Robert Redford washed Meryl Streep’s hair, although we weren’t on safari at the time and he’s somewhat lacking in quotes from the ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’.
Now it’s my turn. Sam works at home as Tech Support for an American company, and they have a week in July where all the employees get together in the US for Sales Week. When he arrived there this year, the first Sunday was set aside as a team-building day. Sam ran around like a 16 year old, playing what sounded to me like a game of ‘Rounders’. When he stepped up the pace to reach the last post he felt something ‘snap’ in his leg, and had to hobble off the field. He thought at first he had pulled a calf muscle, but the injury did not heal. The GP diagnosed a ruptured Achilles tendon a fortnight ago, and now he has to have a general anaesthetic, two hours of surgery and a muscle graft to correct the damage. His ankle and lower leg will be in a plaster cast for at least 6 weeks, and he’ll have to get about on crutches.
Sam revels in being the strong one, and he hates being dependent upon anybody. He’s already apologising for the fact that I’m going to be driving him to the hospital and sitting with him until he’s stopped circling the airport. I try and tell him that I want to do it and it’s the least I can do, to pay him back for all he’s done for me. However, I can tell he’s not happy. Oh dear – he’s going to be a miserable patient! He’s already sighing because he won’t be able to climb a ladder in order to turn the garden into a fairy grotto this Christmas.
When he broke his arm back in 1979 he wasn’t able to work. Apparently he wandered around the streets in his cast while I was at work, looking dolefully into shop windows. At least this time he can work to take his mind off the situation, sitting at his desk at home and talking to customers on Skype, although not travelling out to them. I tentatively mentioned getting Dot’s old wheelchair down from the loft in case it’s needed for the first few days, but the look on his face tells me that it’s never going to happen.
Any advice on how to deal with somebody who has never had a thing wrong with them in 60 years apart from a broken arm and the odd cold or sore throat, but who is going to be somewhat incapacitated until at least Christmas? As we get older, the ‘in sickness and in health bit’ is now starting to bite just a little bit. Any suggestions would be gratefully received!