Any Landing

Lark

Any Landing

Lark
I worked at a military base for 29 years. They repaired military aircraft. One of the sayings I heard was, "Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing."

I was reminded of that saying today as I guided my husband to the part of the couch where he sits to take his meals. When I prop him up with pillows so that he can reach his tray to eat he often begins to lean to his right. Slowly but surely he is eating from an awkward angle, doesn't say a word, just keeps on trying to eat. After months and months of doing this same thing over and over I finally came to the bright idea that if he sat in the right hand corner of the sofa the problem would be fixed. Voila! Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. Once more I saw the wisdom of accepting circumstances and being blind to obvious solutions and finding it hilariously funny once recognized. Then I wonder how many other processes I am complicating when a simple "move to a corner" will fix the problem.

Navigating a wheelchair offers ample opportunities to use the landing saying. Most offices have wheelchairs and all doorways are wide enough to negotiate but the darn entrance is raised up just enough to catch the wheelchair in mid-roll. My poor husband has been shaken, jostled, and frightened by those moments. I do so well with helping him out of the car and getting him into the wheel chair. I learned to pull the wheelchair backwards over obvious obstacles. I did not learn how to get up enough steam to make it over some of the higher obstacles. Therefore I begin with a high degree of confidence and end snagged on the door jamb. Robert experiences being flung around in a wheelchair, being pulled backwards with all the energy I can muster and then snagging with a jolt on the darn golden colored door thingy. Robert loses his cool. It could be the sheer terror of almost being thrown out of the wheelchair.  Every time someone eventually comes and helps pull my husband over the door jam.  It is rarely graceful and often embarrassing but we make it.  I think about the landing we just walked away from. How scary it must feel to be moving backwards with your seat beginning to tilt you backwards and suddenly realizing the person pulling you is out of control. I don't bring up the "any landing..." saying at those times. I stay quiet. I got smarts real good.

I am clumsy. I trip over a shadow. It is an inherited family trait. There is no clear reason why I do not fall at least once every day. I am exhausted from caregiving and exhausted from thinking and I move like a character in an old black and white picture show. I trip, stumble, catch my foot on a towel or a shoestring or a blank space on the floor that looked like something to me. This goes on all day. The two of us undoubtedly were meant to be together. Robert watches me from the corner of his eyes. I wonder what he is thinking. I never know because he has perfected the phrase, "Oh nothing, dear!" He has smarts real good too.

Most of our days now we are flying by the seat of our pants. We have never been this path before. Each day begins with a look around and questions about how he feels and how I feel and what's for breakfast. Each change in symptoms has a meaning but we do not know what kind of a meaning. So we go along as best we can with the day ahead and our minds half in the  drama and half on the t.v. We rarely discuss the future. Heck, we do not have a clue about the future. What, when, where and how are speculations that hang in the air. They annoy us. There is no rhyme nor reason to the pattern of symptoms or to the remarkably good days when it seems all is well. We fly along together dodging first one thing and then the other. I daydream and he sits staring ahead with the FTD stare. His face is in a grimace. He seems in pain but he is not in pain. We land. I help him get up and out and he goes off to take a nap. He stumbles. I gasp. He is in bed. I trip over a shoe while grabbing a chair to stay upright. Whew, I think as I narrowly escape a cat barreling by me chasing one of the "unseen" things in our house. The cats see them. I try to get out of the way. All of us, the entire family are just grateful to be here and to keep it simple. Real simple. "Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing."

Flying the friendly skies of FTD. It is not for the faint of heart!