Wednesday, June 16, 2010

#187: Please DON'T Keep Your Hands to Yourself

"I'm a toucher," she said as she gently patted the vein in my arm, waiting for it to rise so she could draw some blood. First it was kind of annoying. It seemed to take a long time. But then, I started to find it kind of soothing. Pat. Pat. Pat. Pat.

He had just driven the thousand miles from Colorado an hour before. My brother-in-law whose strong arms could set a telephone pole or motor a Harley to Nova Scotia from Dallas. We embraced tenderly in the living room, as if he were afraid to hurt me. Later, when I started nodding off, he placed his big hand on mine to make sure I was OK. When he left, he brushed my crew cut three or four times, cooling me in the late evening heat.

There was a time when walking down a sidewalk, holding my mother's hand would have sent me screaming for the nearest therapist. Yesterday, among my worst yet, I clung to her like a child, even if she does have to reach up to touch my hand now. She felt so small in my fingers, but never weak, and never fragile. I outweigh her by twice, but I had no doubt she would catch me if I should stumble. In the afternoon, she sat quietly by my bed. The day was hard on her, too. Our hands met, silently, naturally closing the gulf between us. My mother's hands are the softest place in the world.

She bends over me, this woman who married me. With surgical precision she flushes clear water through the PEG tube that may one day be the only way I can eat. Carefully, she hands me my pills, hundreds of dollars worth in a single dose, placing them quietly in my palm. She slips the thermometer out from my lips, reads it, and smiles. Normal again. Bending to me, she kisses what is left of my mouth and I feel her breast press against my heart. I can do this. We can do this.

He sleeps in the spot next to my right leg where he has since he was a pup. Last night, I heard the wind as the storm approached. Thunder rolled and a flash of light filled the room. After the biggest boom, I felt it, impossibly, impossibly across my ankle. Pat. Pat. Pat. He tapped me with his paw and rested his chin over my shin. "It's OK, Pappa. It's only thunder. I'll look after you."

Jake's a toucher, too. Pat. Pat. Pat. Pat.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Label Cloud

mrs p Cancer running lifting weights LIVESTRONG at the YMCA treadmill weight nutrition depression God Living Strong at the Y injury YMCA dogs mom walking radiation Weight Lifting cardio friends program theatre body fat long slow run love One for the Five aches elliptical race resistance bands stretching 5K Acting Jeff Galloway chemo doctor family mental health Church Pittsburgh Marathon bluegrass fundraising inspiration patience personal trainer recovery Flying Pig Marathon Jesus Johns Striders Race Report Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon bipolar frustration kentucky knees measurements morning promatx yoga Christmas Marathon Pennsy's Greatest Hits cats clothes heart rate hope lance armstrong life molly poetry rest side effects steelers swimming 10K Actors' Guild of Lexington Blog CT Scan Coach Carrie PET Scan cross training exercise fear feeling good groin healing ice cream livestrong nausea powerlifting run/walk/run stair climber surgery Cancer Fighter Cold Gear Hills Iron Horse Half-marathon Job LSR Mum Nike+ Shamrock Shuffle 3K achilles advent arboretum bmi bodyweight exercises changes charity circuit training cycling dad deadlift diabetes encouragement experts give up goals horses interval training jake kettlebells lean body mass new rules of lifting pacing personal best plateau prayer recumbent bike research shoes sleep strength teeth therapist toe video Blood Easter Endurance Funeral Garmin 405 Homecoming House Insurance Juicing Keeneland Legacy Night PR Pennsyltucky Pittsburgh Relapse Run This Town TRX Training Values aflac arnold ben-gay bench press chafing christian compression shorts dentist dreams faith fat fatigue foreclosure good day half marathon hospitality javarunner john's run/walk shop lou schuler new year nurse pains peg tube powercage progressive resistance. racing rain rapture reboot runners world squat sun block supplements team pennsy tired weather will rogers work #3rightThings 9-11 ACSM AIDS Aquaphor Blessings Bluegrass 10K CSN Cancer Boy Cedar Hill Charles Dickens Class of 82 Classes Colby Road College Compassion Courage Crowdrise Cystoscopy Dee Diet EFM Epiphany Fall Fartlek Fat Man Fat Sick and Nearly Dead Frankfort Gadgets Gramma Grampa Gratitude Grete Waitz Guest HITT HIV Hell Holding Hands Holy Saturday Homer Horse Capital Marathon IVP Ice bath Jacuzzi James Taylor Jesus wept Joe Cross John Izzo Joy KY LaDonna Leg Day Lent Lessons Lexington Little Pennsy Mental hospital Midsummer Night's Run Mindfulness MobileFit Negative Splits Old Frankfort Pike Pilates Podrunner Pre-race Priorities RICE Railrunner 10 Miler Random thoughts Resurrection Reunion Run Bob Run Run Report Run Review Run for the Gold 3K Running Form Running for Sabrina STUPID Shakespeare Skip Brown Speed Spinning Summer Of Speed Sunrise Supersets Tao Te Ching Thank You The Wall Three Right Things Toxic Passenger UK UK basketball Urine Urologist Victory Walk of Shame Warrior Westminster Whole Foods Wind Words Zumba ace bandages addicted agony alwyn cosgrove america anger antibiotic anxiety awake back baseball blood clots blood pressure body glide bonhoeffer books brad calories chinup colonoscopy consistency crazy cycles dentures dip dr. google dumbbells elevation facebook failure farts feet fight for life fitness forgiveness frankenpennsy fun getting started glucosamine glutes goal gremlin grenz grumpy hair hamstrings hiccups high school hot ice incarnation indian food jogging john lennon joint legacy trail liniment lunges machines maker's mark medicine ball meds mercy motivation motley fool music nature neighborhood new balance nike noah numbers pennsyltuckian periodization persistence phlebitis postmodern prison professional boundaries progress psychiatrist pullups pushups quads ramble rememberance renewal road running ronnie coleman rowing safety sauna scan-ziety sexy shopping shorts shower sick sleepless snow socks spandex star trek statistics steam room steroids stiff strained muscle strap strength training supination support surgeon survive swackett swiss balls table technology tempo terry bradshaw testicular torsion text thai food that's fit the five thighs walk breaks warm up water fitness water jogging weak wedding ring wellness wife winter workout writing yardwork