I went to visit Ken in hospital yesterday like I do every day. He’s been in hospital for almost three months now, and every day I have spent two hours on the bus and train to see him. My children say that I don’t need to visit him every day and that he doesn’t even know that I’m there anymore. But he does know, I’m sure of it. I don’t want to spend one minute without him. Whilst he’s still with us, I will sit by his side every day.
He doesn’t talk much anymore, but I know he likes my company. Yesterday we watched television together. There was an ad promoting bathtub solutions for elderly people in the Sydney CBD that reminded me of the life we should still be having together. I made all these modifications to our home to help make life easier for him, and he’s barely got to use them. It makes me sad.
Once visiting hours ended yesterday, I got up to say goodbye. I gave him a kiss like I do every night before I leave and I heard something. He usually doesn’t acknowledge my entrance or exit, but yesterday I could have sworn I heard him say ‘I love you Elizabeth.’
Elizabeth is my real name and he hasn’t called me that since he met me. He’ll usually call me Joan, Slim, Mum, Lizzy or anything he can conjure up at the time. I wish my memory wasn’t fading and that I could be sure he said it. If he did say it, I’m going to hold onto it forever.
I’ve started showering in his bathroom because we need to get value for the cost of the bathtub remodel. Money is tight, it always has been, which means we need to make sure anything we buy gets used. I will continue to use the bathtub or shower, whatever it’s called now, forever.
I know it’s looking unlikely, but I hope one day Ken will be able to use the bathtub we have at home, too.