Grabbing Bits of Beauty to Rejuvenate
“I am so sick of being sick,” Todd said. He’s having trouble kicking this bug that he’s been fighting for two weeks. His lungs keep filling with mucus, and I keep clearing them out. Just when we think he’s on the road to recovery because he has a long stretch without needing to cough, he relapses.
We both just want to get back to the old ALS normal of how he was before this cold. At least then his congestion didn’t come on suddenly, so it seemed safe for me to run to town as long as I was just 15 minutes away.
Life was hard then, but how do we keep going when the hardness of life seems unending?
I grab little bits of rejuvenation wherever I can find them.
Todd and I are working our way through the sitcom series “Frasier,” watching an episode on most days. It feels good to take a mini-break from the ALS life and laugh at the quirky characters — even if we have to pause the show for coughing or suctioning breaks.
I’m also going outside each day to walk with our dog, Comet. I’ve been posting pictures from my walks on social media. I keep my eyes open for beauty that feeds my soul in the midst of the crucible of sickness.
The moon. The trees. The flowers. The pond. A deer prancing across the field. A monarch butterfly flitting from lupine to lupine. The clouds in the sky.
I’ve shortened my walking circuit so I’m closer to our house and can get to Todd quickly if he dials my cell for help coughing.
Earlier in the week, I walked around our fields for a half hour, but then when I got back, Todd was drowning in mucus.
“You should’ve called me,” I told him.
“I was trying to let you get your walk in.”
It’s better if he calls when he needs help, and I’ll split my walk into two segments.
“Call me as soon as you feel your lungs start to fill up,” I told him last night. He called halfway through my walk, barely able to talk.
“I’ll be right there,” I said and dashed to the house. I cleared his lungs enough for him to catch his breath, and I worked on him for another 10 minutes before his lungs were clear.
I went out again, walking on a path I had mowed through a field of daisies. Comet ran into the field, and I took out my phone to snap a picture. “Sit,” I commanded, after which he bounded over to me and sat on the trail. Not the shot I wanted.
I popped a head off of a daisy and threw it in the sea of flowers. “Go get it,” I said. Eager to please, Comet ran into the field. “Sit,” I said again. It took a couple tries, but I was finally successful in capturing the picture I was after.
Even as Todd’s body is wasting away, even as he struggles to cough, even as I’m overwhelmed by the horror of ALS, little things bring joy and give me sustenance to keep going.
Note: ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of ALS News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ALS.