Friday, December 28, 2018

Taking Care

I'm lying on my bed, next to Carl, who is going through his gorgeous photos -- birds flying everywhere, diving into water with perfect droplets making ripples, a whale breached in a sea of blue and my mind is lazy drifting except for one tiny fight there off in a corner, the corner of care. Care. Taking care. Sophie is getting her infusions of immunoglobulin this morning, her last treatment of the year and I've forgotten to tell Mirtha that she doesn't need to come until later because Nurse Hyo is here but they're all here and so this fight this tiny little fight in my tiny little mother mind™ commences, even as I lie in languor on my bed or because I lie in languor on my bed with birds and whales and nodding flowers. Everyone is always living their best life, I've said bitterly a few times in the last few weeks. And this is mine. The fight is small but it is mighty in that corner of my mind. Letting others take care of Sophie without feeling guilty, perhaps envious, even, of their facility. I stood next to Nurse Hyo and held Sophie's arm down, so thin that it really takes only two of my own fingers to span it, the vein so tiny yet so resistant. Two sticks and the rising bile, I turn my head away and curse the nurse in my mind, curse all of them or Them, with emphasis. Is that the smallest needle? I manage to get out through my teeth, the words float there between us, a rhetorical question that I instantly regret. The nurse is unperturbed, her face placid,  or at least I imagine her to be. She is taking care. The needle slides pokes yet the vein slips, you can see it under the skin yet the blood flows and she's in (in the body! the body of my daughter!) and deftly tapes over it, connects the bag of antibodies to it, this entry into the body, through the skin and impossible vein, the fragile body of my daughter. It's a strange confluence of the barbaric and something nearly futuristic except that it's now. I'm only now imagining the nurse's own mind filled with something other  -- her own birds and whales, maybe, the lunch she'll have later, how these people are trials to get through. How I cannot get out from under the blanket of care of my nagging dislike of its constancy of how it looms, always. A tiny fight in the corner, over there, even as I kneel in gratitude over here at the care at the gifts this life has brought or that come with. 


  1. So eloquently put, so transparent and heartfelt. I hope this treatment helps Sophie, I'm glad that you do have the Nurses to assist with what is unfortunately so necessary and yet so hard. The Mother's Heart aches for whatever our Children have to endure. Virtual Hugs... Dawn

  2. It's hard letting go, letting others take care. I take care of others but not myself. I took care of my children, still take care of Katie, I took care of my parents as they failed and died. I take care of my patients, my spouse and soon a grandchild. And the one I am hardest on is me. Are we born this way? Or made? Forced into caring? Move towards? Seek it out? I don't know. I do know it's hard, it grinds a soul down to the essential. But it hasn't smoothed off my rough edges. Or maybe that's menopause poking through my skin, leaving me covered in porcupine quills with barbs at the end. Actually I was probably always like that, prickly, handle with care.

    Why is it okay for men to get angry and shout but not women? If women told the truth about our lives the world would weep I think. Perhaps men feel the same. I'm in a mood this morning obviously and thank you for letting me vent. Take care Elizabeth and bless.

  3. The both/and quality of it, the fight and the care, most of all the love. This is beautiful writing.

  4. My mom doesn't like me being stuck and I had to get a port because of years of IVs but before I had that port a nurse came to give me IVIG however no vein would work and he tried as many times as he could ....blood ran down my arm and my dog got between the nurse and puffed up and made no sound but showed the man her teeth.
    Currently weigh in at 56 pounds, doctor now thinks that I am too frail for IVIG and my mommy takes great care of me , it was nice to have another helper but things happen. Mommys need breaks too though. I don't want my illness to break her.

  5. "How I cannot get out from under the blanket of care of my nagging dislike of its constancy of how it looms, always."

    This is a beautiful post, as painful as it must have been to feel all that you've put into it. I'm often tempted not to comment when I read some of your caregiving posts because I cannot possibly GET all that you do every day. The closest I get to understanding is your blog, for which I am thankful, and that is all I can really say.



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