Saturday, August 28, 2010

Behind the Veil

The last 48 hours around here haven't been so peachy. Of course one could make the argument that the last eleven years haven't been so great either. Evidently the lifting of the veil that revealed the reality of our lives was not unlike ripping the scab off a healing wound except our wound isn't getting any better. In fact it is infected, festering with depression, regret, anger, and most important, abandonment. There I said it. Can I go to sleep now? Will the stomach pain and diarrhea finally dissipate? Can I stop taking the anti-anxiety meds and anti-depressants yet? Maybe I have been asleep and this has actually been some awful bad dream that just won't end?

Maybe all these sobs and tears the last two days mean something? We actually have slept off and on lately only to feel exhausted shortly after waking. Food has no taste. Today brought a cool change in the weather inviting us to finally get some much needed yard work done. Instead Joan and I have taken turns napping while the other waits for the Imodium to kick in.
I do know that something has changed and it can't be good. Joan has always been our rock. I'm the one who is the usual emotional train wreck, who wears emotions on my sleeve, who curses God in some bi-polar rant only to realize in the end that to the rest of the world I look like 3-year-old pitching a tantrum. Joan? She is the calm, cool, collected thinker holding her cards close to the vest. Even when things are darkest - and trust me, there have been some Black Holes we've somehow maneuvered around - she forms the game plan and quietly orchestrates our way through that special-needs minefield with few tears and complaints.

Last night I saw something much different in my wife's face. Any couple whose been married for almost two decades can sense these things much less having one of the spouses trained to observe things as an artist. I recognized a sadness only witnessed one time before - the weekend of my father's untimely passing. The look radiated hopelessness, fatigue, misery, and despair. The thought of it still shakes me to the core.

So do you really want to know the worst part of all? The embarrassment of having to ask for help while finally admitting we can't fix "it." Have we failed? Most of you will kindly say no because you are kind people but that doesn't change how we feel. And then there's the blame game. Other than pointing the finger at God all we have left is ourselves.

I want my wife back. We want our lives back. We want the ultimate goal any parent wants and that is to provide the best for both of our kids. Life has not been a bowl of cherries for us and I mentioned two days ago that our marriage has been teetering on the brink of demise for a while. But I do love my wife more than she will ever know. Even though I made a promise before a God that I don't understand nor trust now, I made a lifelong promise to the woman who is truly my soul-mate. In my world a promise is something you keep no matter how difficult the circumstances. I just want her to be happy again.

Because some of you asked...

This is the (former) formal foyer into our home and the main access for Ben into the house. As you can see the floor is warped most likely due to moisture in the foundation combined with the unusual weight that daily makes its way across in some variety or form (wheelchair, lift, oxygen tanks, etc.).

This is the entry to Ben's bedroom which happens to be one of the smallest rooms in the house. Originally the room was our office. There is a coat closet in there without any lighting. The doorway happens to be right next the second floor stairway.

Turning to my right while standing on the warped floor we have our former living room which you will see is now half of The Ben Wing. Note the huge liquid oxygen tank on the left - one big reason why the floor is undulates.

Now standing just inside the living room doorway and looking toward the rear of the house. This used to be our dining room. We think this could eventually be Ben's actual bedroom or possibly some combination of therapy/living area for him. Note the lift on the left hand side - if you can't tell you will see another angle shortly. BTW, the television works - we just can't afford to hook it up.

Looking now toward the front of the house from our former dining room. The lift is now on the far right. It freaking weighs a ton! Here's the biggest issue within this area: carpet. That lift is a bitch to push on it. Plus it is stained like you wouldn't believe. Think about caring for a toddler for a decade on this floor. 

Here's a peak at the damage the carpenter bees have done to our windows. All of them at the front of our home are or have been infested. What you are seeing is the sawdust left from the little bastards boring into exposed wood.

The same goes for the railing around the front porch. The brown patches are actually rust stains seeping up from old nails in the wood. Of course you will notice that the rail foundations are rotting now too.

Yeah, we've never seen vinyl siding buckle like this either. It started about three years ago and continues to get worse. Here's a hint: don't ever trust a Sherwin-Williams rep to suggest a paint applied upon a residential surface. As a former paint contractor I have a great deal of disdain for SW but this is personal. To be honest though we can't 100 percent blame the paint because...

...we have this old attic vent. When we replaced the roof due to hail damage a few years ago we had the opportunity to cut a ridge vent and get rid of this out-dated contraption. We couldn't afford it. We then had a choice to either replace the motor (which has rusted out) or the thermostat. We chose the motor since it was cheaper and of course the thermostat would be worthless without the motor. Evidently the motor once again died leaving a tremendous amount of heat that exited via the vinyl siding.

Here is the front door that we use to bring Ben into the house. His bedroom window is on the left and our old living room area is on the right. Sophie, Ben's feline friend is front and center. This is where we need the wheelchair ramp.

Back in the foyer, here is the downstairs "powder room." I am standing next to the stairway looking toward the rear of the house. The old living room is on the other side of the smallest room in the house.

As you can see there is hardly any room to add a handicapped accessible shower right now. Even though this is the logical place to put a bathroom we are talking HUGE money to change this from a powder room to a Ben-sized bathroom.

This is me with my boy on the way to bed! Yes, we know that he is huge, heavy, and beginning to become a health concern for me and Joan. But we love this child! He exudes love and we dare you tell us that we should change his course in life. 


Nurse Betty L. Boop said...

Bennie, Joan, Jessie, and Ben...I love you guys! I wish I had the $ to help out in a major way, but all I have is the man hours to do what I am able. I am ready and willing when the time comes to put hammers to nails, paint to brushes, and Ben snuggles to laps ;-)

Gretchen said...

That's a good idea Lisa!

Elizabeth said...

WOW! That is fabulous idea! Thanks for the share lisa.