Wednesday, I did it again.
Tim had learned to use the cane well since the “swat,” stood up taller, walked more steadily, paid more attention, had more confidence.
The PT said he still needed a walker outside and they delivered one for him. But as long as Tim had the cane he wouldn’t use the walker. He was a horse suspicious of the bridle and saddle. He had no concept of safe or unsafe. He didn’t recognize risks, though I pleaded with him to avoid them, said worrying about him was causing me nightmares (when I could sleep at all) and flashbacks of taking care of Dad and my first husband when they were falling and having seizures.
He couldn’t care less what effect his cavalier attitude toward danger was having on me. (He told the PT “I don’t want to look funny.” The PT said, “Think how funny you’d look lying on the ground with a broken hip.” It didn’t faze him.)
So I hid the cane. When he looked around, asked around, and couldn’t find it, surprisingly, he transitioned smoothly to the walker.
Until we were in a pharmacy with him and he bought himself another cane.
We would have been happy to have him use the cane when a cane was sufficient, if he’d use the walker when it wasn’t. But he wouldn’t. He’d let us fold the walker up and bring it with us but he wouldn’t use it. Once, absurdly, he agreed to use the walker to go into his AA meeting as long as we let him lay the cane across the top of it (where it caught on railings and things). Of course afterwards he came out without it.
On this past (infamous) Wednesday a friend came to pick him up for Kaballah. I should have stayed out of it. I shouldn’t have said anything. I should have gone upstairs and let her handle it. She’s calming with him. He takes things from her he won’t from his little sister.
Tim picked up the cane and started to follow her to the car. She reminded him to bring his walker. He mumbled something about not needing it. I was right behind him, wheeling it out, and I said something like “You DO need it, Tim!”
Suddenly he deafened me with “JESUS CHRIST, Jessica! DAMN it! DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” The cane flew so high I thought it was going to catch on the telephone wires and dangle there out of reach. I was still wondering how we would retrieve it when it landed on the grass. By the time I’d picked it up, Tim, friend, and walker were in the car and disappearing around the corner.
Long after he would have been home that evening, his friend called apologetically to tell us at his request she had dropped him off at his apartment. He wanted nothing to do with the walker so she still had it in her car.
And we still had the cane. It was 11:00 at night, he was across town but without the cane he was helpless. I knew what we had to do.