Rich made it home safely. We spent yesterday talking and getting some ground rules set up for the upcoming weeks.
I was about to go out the door to do chores. He was in the other room.
As I put on my coveralls I asked him when he was going to 'flush' his PEG tube, or as we call 'her' now Peggy.
He was still very sore from the surgery and it was hard for him to move to bend over and get things.
I'd helped him get his clothes on and put on his shoes when he got up. We both knew that he'd feel better in a few days, but for now it was something that needed being done.
And well, I was beginning to understand a bit of the upcoming role I'd play in the next few months.
So his answer to my question was very vague...he pretty much didn't say yes or no and then mumbled something about he "might need some help with Peggy".
So I asked him directly if he wanted my help and needed my help before I went out and started to do the chores.
He said yes. I told him that he needed to be direct from this point in. IF he needed help, he needed to ask that of me directly because I couldn't decipher what he needed when he was vague. If he wanted assistance for something to say so and not just assume that I would figure it out.
He laughed and said, "OK, I WANT you here right now, this instant!"
We both chuckled at the humor. "Not quite that way," I directed him.
We flushed Peggy and when I got in from chores we'd change the dressing together.
During the time I was outside he made multiple phone calls to the VA trying to get some other items taken care of.
As I made my rounds of taking care of hounds, mules, donkeys, and the Dexter Cattle, I thought how quickly our lives had changed in 5 short weeks.
My mind then went into the chores and enjoyed the noises of the outdoors. Robins, Redwing Black Birds, House Sparrows, braying mules and donkeys all took over and my worries were put on the back burner while I worked.
It took about an hour to get everything done my way. Rich does chores his way, I do them my way. Mine takes longer because I am always doing them so I don't have to come back in an hour or so and do watering.
I puttered around and took my time.
When I got back inside Rich was ready to change his dressing on Peggy.
We worked together, he could do it himself, but I think he just wanted me there as his back up.
He explained what he was doing and we reviewed his swallowing exercises as well as 'how he would feed himself' when it got to the point where he wouldn't be able to swallow even pureed foods.
"The nurses said that I am going to get pretty sick," Rich said.
I nodded, I already knew that.
"I wonder if there is anyone around that I can hire to help with chores. I can't have you trying to do it all."
"Thank you for thinking that," I said. "I won't be able to do it all. Not at all."
Baby steps. A few feet forward a few steps back. We were starting to learn a new way to live life together with a new method of communication.
We both agreed that it wasn't going to be easy and we wouldn't always be polite with each other.
We'd have crappy days and we'd be nasty with each other.
And then we would have better days also.