What do you do?
I’m a visiting nurse. I’ve taken care of this man for two and a half years. I’ve helped him transition from walking to a wheelchair to bed bound. I’ve made his breakfast, helped him eat and now completely feed him. I’ve helped him to the bathroom, put him on the toilet and now completely change his diapers. I’ve taken him to the foot doctor, the dentist, the g.p. I’ve been with him through three hospitalizations for pneumonia (twice) and gall bladder surgery. I’ve been his barber, trimming his hair on his head, eyebrows and even up his nose. I’ve been his chef (how many times did he take one bite and say, “Put it in the garbage.”) I’ve been his chauffeur, his valet, his company. We used to sit outside together on sunny days. His wife still says she sometimes expects to see us sitting there when she gets home from the grocery store.
He used to tell people I was his girlfriend. When I would say good bye at night he would say, “You’re leaving? Aw shit!” Now he can hardly grunt. But I still get kisses. I still get smiles. He still seems to know me, even if I’m not his girlfriend anymore.
I’ll miss him. I’ll miss his wife. They’re part of my family now.