Friday, December 14, 2012

re-defining normal

A few days ago, James and I had a full day without any hospital appointments. Weekends aside, it is rare for James and I have to time together that doesn't revolve around the hospitals (and post-hospital fatigue). We decided to take the risk of going out to the museum with hopes of avoiding crowds by visiting in the middle of the day. We constantly wash our hands and take all the necessary precautions to avoid potential infection, but it is also important for James and I to feel as though we have a quality of life together. I pushed James in his wheelchair through the crowded streets of downtown Toronto. This is an experience of its own kind. He also insisted on trying to walk to give me a break (with the back of the wheelchair as support), but found it exceptionally difficult. It is painful to watch James struggle to breathe. We took long breaks, but even still, it was impossible for him to take more than a couple steps. I felt the tears stream down my face with the cold as an excuse. I knew that James was trying to me, and that too, is a different form of hurt. We are both trying to protect each other. We both worry about each other. James, even at his weakest, is still trying to take care of me. I know I say this with a bias, but I truly admire the part of him that cares so very deeply for others, including myself, of course. 

We both loved the museum exhibition. We felt a reassurance that some degree of normalcy can still exist within our lives. We are always re-defining our "normal". I am trying to focus on the positive, but it is a conscious effort on my part. It does not always come naturally to me. There are days that I feel the weight of my exhaustion building into a seemingly insurmountable fatigue, but I continue to move forward. It is a strange feeling to watch the world continue to move around you, and to feel separate; that is, to be moving at a very different pace. My world is on hold. Our world is on hold. We are slowed to living within each and every moment, and rarely, beyond that present. I am grateful for the perspective, but I still struggle to make sense of the speed of the world around me. We are in a state of constant crisis, but there is a stillness that I struggle to define. It is an isolating feeling to no longer relate to the world at large. 

I love to be able to share this little space in the company of James. It has been more than a couple weeks since James' last hospitalization. There is a lot of be said about nearness. I am grateful to be able to help him to take care of himself. I am grateful to be part of his journey; a journey that now belongs to both of us. James is still very sick, and I feel as though I only really allow myself to grasp that reality on a certain cognitive level. I don't allow myself the emotional freedom recognize the severity of James' condition. A few weeks ago, I felt as though I would never find a sense of hope again. Now, I am only imagining a future together. I have been able to shift from simple acceptance to a place of hopeful resolve. It is more than wanting to believe that James' transplant will come in time. James' transplant needs to come in time. It will come in time. I refuse to imagine a future without him (at least not at this point).

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