What Am I Becoming?

Dearest Rachel –

I don’t know how you did it, honey.

And I don’t know how I’m going to be able to continue doing this. Or for how much longer.

It may well be simply because this is a night when I need to wake up early; I’ve got to shower, change and be out the door by 730, so I’ve set my alarm for 6:30. I probably shouldn’t have bothered, as he woke me up some time before four. After taking him outside to do his business, and letting him go until he whined, I brought him inside, hoping that would be the end of it.

It was nothing of the sort. Barely another fifteen minutes later, which is starting to be par for the course, he was whining yet again. try as I may to ignore it, I also have Kevin and Daniel on the other side of the house, and I don’t wanna wake them.

So, I am left having to tend to him yet again. Outside to pee, whine, inside to sleep… only, no yet again. He’s still not happy.

I offer him water, only to have him reposition himself in his usual jerky way, which proceeds to knock the bowl completely over.

At this point, and I’m not proud of this at all, I had had it. I don’t want to have to take him out yet again, as I’ve already learned that doesn’t seem to accomplish anything. Oh, he may pee again, sure, but what difference does it make if he immediately whines to come back inside, and then immediately wants to go outside again? It’s all a colossal waste of time, and in the meantime I’m becoming more and more consumed with sleep deprivation and sheer frustration.

And yet he keeps whining… and barking. And I. Don’t. Know. What. To. Do.

Finally, at around five, I give up yet again. This third time, I am (as they say on Twitter all the time) ‘literally shaking’ with fury. I’m ashamed to say that he’s like a ragdoll in my left hand. Although in my defense, you must know that I’m carrying his harness and wheelchair in my right hand, along with trying to open the door in order to get us outside where he wants to be so desperately.

So desperately, in fact, that he squirms his way out of my grasp as we get outside, and tumbles to the concrete. For all that I’m angry with him, this was not an outcome I wanted. At least he tucked and rolled into the fall, and I bent over to try (unsuccessfully) prevent him from falling, so he doesn’t seem damaged by it. I pick him up, and fasten him into his wheelchair harness.

I should mention that I have the wheelchair canted to a 20° angle, such that he should lean to the right. It isn’t effective; as much as I try, as soon as he strapped in, he turns sharply to the left, and all but falls over in that direction. This has been a constant for weeks, I should point out (the fact that I’ve adjusted the wheelchair accordingly it should be indicative of that). Just one more source of frustration, as he topples over into his own puddles.

Three more puddles, in fact, at which point he’s whining again to go back inside. I try to refuse, as he never seems to be truly finished, but once he starts barking, well… I lug him back inside.

So now I’m sitting in the chair in your corner of the room, watching over him. I don’t dare get back into bed, or turn off the lights, because it’s going to start all over again, and I’m not going to get any sleep anyway, thanks to him. I don’t know if he was ever this bad for you – you rarely ever had any appointments early in the morning, so you could generally sleep in (although you did insist on shampooing your hair before I would get up on Sunday mornings, so there was that). I’m pretty sure he’s a considerable way downhill from where he was when you left him – and us.

The thing is, honey, I find myself screaming at him in frustration, “what is it you want?” Because no matter what I do for him, it’s not what he wants, and if I do manage to give him what he actually wants, that ceases to be so in very short order.

I’m afraid of what I’m becoming; I think that, in my frustrated and sleep deprived state, I’m turning abusive towards him. And by prefacing that last statement with my description of myself as frustrated and sleep deprived, I’m blaming him for my actions toward him. I’m sure he’s terrified to be in the same room with me, but I can’t imagine Daniel or Kevin being too receptive to his complaints either. I’m the only one who will react and give him what he might need.

The only problem is, my reaction is too volatile for either of us.

I keep talking about how frustrating his behavior is. But I know he can’t help himself; bathroom needs are not something he can control, anymore than a human at a comparable age could do. I have no right to get upset.

Only, I never asked for this job. I never wanted a pet, and he really isn’t a pet so much as he is just a bundle of responsibilities (not that I wouldn’t have viewed any animal in the house as such). You loved him; I couldn’t, and can’t. And the situation seems to decay even as his health does.

There’s a verse I would quote, if I could look it up, about how even the kindnesses of the wicked or cruel. I worry that I am becoming the wicked man that the Proverbs warn against. And I don’t know what to do about it. Is it possible that, at this point, living with me as his caretaker is a fate worse than death for Chompers? I don’t know, and I’m not sure I want to know.

I may have more answers come next Saturday, though.

But until then, maybe I can get myself another hour of sleep. Wish me luck, honey.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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