Fairview and Laurel Place

May 5, 2002

Two good things have happened since the above low period. Peg has been receiving different medication twice a day, and this has made immeasurable difference in her peace of mind. The struggle against being handled and repositioned has almost entirely disappeared, and some brightness has returned to her face.

The other good thing is that we have found a satisfactory situation for a nursing home. With much effort by Robin in finding the nursing home and making various arrangements and helping us move, we have now moved to a combined nursing home and assisted living home. This permits me to get some rest, for I am quite run down from all the above, and Peg is a short few steps away in the adjacent nursing home -- all in one combination building.

They have a hoist with which they can transfer her from one place to another -- wheel chair, recliner, bed, etc. We feared she would resist the hoist, for some people told us it is very scary at first; but apparently Peg took it in good grace, and is now used to it. I had always feared that any nursing home would be not only depressing but that the nurses and aids would be callous. Here, some nurses are rather authoritarian and "lack the touch," but others are really nice. In general, the nurse's aids are kind and considerate, even though perhaps not quite so friendly as were some at The Arbors. Most of all, Peg really seems to be happier here and enjoying life within the limits of her condition.

Our routine is that I have my own breakfast and then go to her room where she is served breakfast later, and I help her eat it. They even put an extra cup of coffee on her tray for me. I drop back to my room for an hour or so and then return to Peg for several hours through lunch and the early afternoon. Back to my room for a couple of hours and then to Peg's and an early supper together; then, about 7:30, her usual bedtime, I return to my room for the night.

Peg has adjusted much better than we had anticipated, and seems quite satisfied -- or resigned -- to be here Her face usually lights up when I come into her room. Occasionally in the morning she is somewhat dull and listless and not in the best of spirits, but I think this is part of her chronic condition and is not subject to change

She still has the caste or stabilizer on her broken leg, so this makes it all cumbersome and at times uncomfortable, but we hope that will come off in a couple of weeks.

May 16, 2002

Six weeks ago today Peg broke her leg, and today we went back to the orthopaedic surgeon and got a disappointing report. The x-ray showed healing, but not enough to permit discarding the stabilizer (a sort of strap-on caste) or to bend her right knee. We had hoped with some confidence that the report would have been the opposite. Fortunately (?) Peg was not sufficiently aware of the bad news, and has not asked me why she still has to have her leg straight in the stabilizer, when I had practically assured her to the contrary.

June 6, 2002

To the orthopaedic surgeon again today, three weeks later. The x-rays showed some healing, which he showed us, but not enough. To be safe, he said, she should wear the stabilizer another four weeks and then come back. By that time he would be able to let her put her weight on that right foot. But at least he was favorably impressed that he could bend her knee 90 degrees without her feeling pain. So of course, I emphasized that aspect of the visit when we returned. Fortunately, once more Peg did not show any discouragement at the extension of the time, and has not in any way showed disappointment at the doctor's pronouncement. Meantime, I repeat to her the doctor's saying that he was pleased she could bend her leg to ninety degrees.

July 19, 2002

Well, after four weeks he gave Peg clearance to go without the caste and to begin to put weight on her leg. The physical therapists are working with her, but it goes slowly. They virtually have to lift her forward to get her in a cramped standing position for as much as a few seconds, and she cooperates but doesn't exactly enjoy it. Frankly, I don't know whether she will ever get to the point where she can walk a few steps with her walker; unfortunately, it is doubtful, but we shall see.

Since our move to this facility, she in Fairview and I in Laurel Place, her general quality of life has improved. Only occasionally does she get agitated when the nurse's aids take care of her. At the same time, though, she is getting to be increasingly listless and is gradually losing her ability to communicate in words. A high spot is when she greets me so lovingly in the morning when I wake her up and she gives me repeated kisses and smiles and is happy.

But she is chugging along on only half her cylinders, and it simply devastates me to think of the vivacious, creative person she was. I tell her often that she is my sweetheart, she is my treasure - this wonderful woman who has been my companion and my love ever since Heidelberg. She hears me, and smiles.

Fortunately, I, Peg's husband was not so obtuse as to fail to realize what a wonderful woman I had chosen for my life mate. I "caught on" fairly early, as indicated in the following paragraphs from a letter to her written fifty years ago from the Pacific during WW II:

You are so many-sided that once in while I just step back and admire you for a moment, as one might some beautifully integrated mural. I think it is that admiration for you as a person that makes everything about our relationship so basically satisfying to me....

As I write this, two bits of verse come to mind, both from Shakespeare. One is that very beautiful sonnet which begins "when in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes ..." and the other is either Marc Antony or Julius Caesar or Hamlet on his father, when he eulogizes and ends somewhat as follows: "that all nature could cry out, there was a man!" -- which is almost what Napoleon had said on meeting Goethe: "voilą un homme!"

Whether it is being the kind of person that one can write this sort of thing to, or telling Ada how to wean her kittens, or papering the dining room, or listening to the assembled community about Germany (and, coincidentally, being a pillar of good judgment among temporarily childish extremists), or bewitching me with your body and soul - it is all the same you, and a perfectly consistent and integrated you because you are big enough to embrace it all.

Voilą une femme!

Now, as I sit in Peg's wheelchair by her bed as she gradually drifts off to sleep, this remains my thought:

She is my Peg -- my sweetheart, my treasure!

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