That’s My Job

May 7, 2009

I’ve written before about my “mental soundtrack.”  Songs get stuck in my mind, sometimes for trivial things.  Sometimes they get stuck for momentous things in my life, and the lives of those I love.

When I was going back and forth to San Antonio so often in 2007 when my mother was sick, she’d always thank me for coming and helping.  I’d hem and haw as grown children do When Mom Says Thank You From A Hospital Bed, but often, that last year of her life, I used to think about the words in a Conway Twitty song, and I’d hum it to myself:

That’s my job
That’s what I do
Everything I do is because of you
To keep you here with me
That’s my job, you see

I’ve done this for years, actually.  Not just the mental soundtrack thing, but the “job.”  I’m the one who fixes what’s broken, who takes care of the one who hurts, who lends a listening and non-judgmental ear.  That’s my job.

These last few months I’ve been doing it more intensely than ever for Freddie.  He’s weak, unsteady, can’t stand for more than a couple moments without getting dizzy.  The other night he fell.  Walking across a big parking lot is pretty much out of the question.

We went to the doctor today, resulting in a scheduled hospitalization next week for tests, leading to who knows what.  Another one under the belt, maybe to result in “answers” or treatment, maybe more referrals and tests, or maybe palliative and adaptive measures.  Who knows what.

My money’s on Thyroid, like the name of a quarter-horse, but really, who knows what.

I’ve known all of our years together that times like this do come, but I never know where or when.  There was the day Freddie fell off the ladder at the San Diego house, and the next several months confined to an upstairs room.  There was the night in Galveston his blood glucose went down to 27 and I woke up to hear him moaning.  There were the countless hundred-mile round trips to the Houston-based doctors, and to the Houston pharmacies required by bureaucratic necessity.  And then our last move, with me preparing the house to sell while he was hospitalized again.  And here we are, today, not knowing, but still, always, knowing.

That’s my job.

That’s what I do.

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