I am not in need of an alarm clock. Every morning at eight a.m. the assistant in turn arrives, and this is how I wake up and my day starts. For the assistant, it is just another day of work, for me it is life.
Blinds opens and the sun hits my eyes. My dog, 'Happy' continues her sleep next to me like nothing is going on. She is used by now to my morning routine, the coming and goings of the assistant do not disturb her at all.
It takes some time to get ready for the day. The first thing I do is decide what I am going to wear. Every day I make myself beautiful. With carefully thought clothes, accessories, and matching shoes, not to mention hair and a bit of make-up. It is my way to fight possible depression and the somberness of the situation.
After the decision is made the assistant start with the normal washing my face and then the rest of my body. Assistant is dressing me up feels now after all this time like normal, but it used to be a nightmare. Just imagine you are getting dressed up while lying down on the bed. All you can do is blink your eyes when you are being pulled from left to right, turned from one side another. "Legs up! Legs down! Flat to your tummy, then back". A whole rollercoaster ride in your bed, every single morning.
Once, I was watching a TV program about a gravely ill man. This man was reading a poem that he had written just before he got sick. The one verse that caught my attention was when he said that when he becomes bedridden and is unable to move and can't even dress himself up, they can just pull the plug. It made my blood boil - what kind of a way of measuring life is this - you can't dress yourself up, so what?!
I am a perfectionist, and that doesn't make it easy for new assistants. But, it becomes easier once we get to know each other better. I can only imagine what goes through their heads when they need to fix the clothes on my body. "Straighten those wrinkles! Pants down! Collar up! Pull the sleeves to the right spot, etc., etc.". However, good habits wear off. I often saw how after working with me they start to take better care of themselves and by doing so, their self-esteem grows.
I have become more conscious about the way I dress and look after the stroke. Being pretty used to be work, and it was the last thing I wanted to do my free days. I would not dress up or even fix my hair on such days; now I fix myself up every single day as if it was the last.
A friend of mine who was working in a country where there was a war going on was telling me that between all the turbulences that were going on the women still always dressed well and looked beautiful. He was amazed by this fact, but I can totally relate. Not taking care of yourself and giving up on your feminine side is like a soldier laying down his weapon. It is like you have given up on life completely and this lady is not going to give up on life.
After I am all dressed and ready, I have my sumptuous breakfast. A half (small) bowl of porridge (usually with a lot of cinnamon). When I am done with breakfast, I start my daily activities. My days vary a little depending on if I physiotherapy, household chores, appointments and so on. Nevertheless, sooner or later I will go to my computer where I spend most of the time working, writing, interacting with friends, etc. I spend a lot of time at the computer every day because only at the computer I am totally free and are not in need of any assistance.
We usually, eat dinner between 5 and 6 p.m. After that, the assistant leaves and my husband and I are alone at last. When you don't have so much alone time with your spouse, you really appreciate those hours that you are alone together. You don't want to waste them arguing about some stupid little things. We do not argue much and even when we do it is for a very short time. We address the issues, discuss the problems and talk them out. One of the things I really love about Henning is that he does listen and have a two-way conversation. Sometimes we spend hours talking.
The assistant comes between 10 and 11 p.m. for the night shift which consists of before bed snack followed by the shower (which is more like a happy hour event full of gossips and laughter) and then of to bed.
Before sleeping, we watch some television, cuddle, and talk a little. I love our pillow talks; they are the best foreplay for a good night rest.Suggest a correction