When Care is Given, Much is Received

You may recall the incident this past February between my then-boyfriend (now fiancé) Matt and a very sharp table saw. It wasn’t a pretty sight, and the accident happened, of all days, mere hours before his surprise thirtieth birthday party.

I honed my caregiver skills in the weeks following Matt’s accident and subsequent seven-hour surgery, and learned that while I am a tidy person who can kind of cook, the true test comes in the many hours spent at home. Matt needed help in those first few weeks, and we learned a lot about the dedication and patience necessary to find the humor in our situation and not pull each other’s heads off.

I say this in jest, but it’s true.

We temporarily suspended our routine and roles as Matt ventured ever so gingerly on the lengthy road to recovery. And some four months later, I am pleased to report that Matt’s injured hand is doing much better.

But his back? His back is another story.

In September of last year, long before the infamous table saw accident, Matt was involved in a car accident. It wasn’t his fault, but that doesn’t mean Matt walked away unscathed. His Jeep suffered sizable damage, as did his back. And after wading through a world of hurt since then, Matt finally underwent back surgery just last week.

He is recovering at home yet again, and we have found ourselves in similar territory. Matt is in a sizable amount of pain. Walking is nearly impossible, although he is getting stronger and more mobile every day. He has spent his recovery in our man-cave of a basement, which means zipping up and down the steps to grab more snacks, meals, and beverages from the kitchen is now my job.

At times it has been exhausting work; I won’t lie or sugarcoat that for a second. And while I know Matt’s recovery will be slow and steady, I also know that his rehabilitation – heck, even his initial injury last year – could have been much more worse.

While pushing Matt in a wheelchair last week through a rather empty shopping mall, our eyes landed upon many of the injured and disabled adults and, heartbreakingly, children who are in much worse shape. Never before did I notice the discomfort and struggle of such individuals, especially as we took the elevator up and down a few times. We know Matt will get better, but some of the faces we saw are those who will be disabled for quite some time – perhaps for the rest of their lives.

It’s something I have remembered vividly and reflected on while carrying an armful of dirty dishes up the stairs and into the kitchen for what seemed like the hundredth time. Of course we are all handed our share of hardships and bad luck, but the most beneficial aspect comes in the gratitude of the opportunities and good luck that comes our way.

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