Hard to look up

He’s on the floor in his bathroom, the pain in his leg excruciating after a fall off the toilet onto the hard tile. His wife sits in the bedroom, staring blankly. He begs her to call 911, to get some help moving. She continues to stare. Eventually the people from the assisted living facility do their rounds and find him. He’s in tough shape, been down for hours. Still, she stares. He’s supposed to take care of her, that’s the way it works when one of you gets Alzheimer’s Disease, and the ‘for better or worse’ part of the deal kicks in. At ninety years old, though, taking care of somebody else is a daunting task on your best days, impossible when you’re on the floor unable to get up.

imagesWe arrive, and talk to him, and roll him onto his side, and secure him to the board, and put a collar around his neck, then put him onto the stretcher and wheel him out of what has been their home for the last fourteen years. She barely notices, and if she does she doesn’t show it. He tries to look at her as he rolls away, but his head is secured to the backboard and he can only look up.

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