Some of my long-time readers know that I originally wrote a lot of stories about what it was like to live with a person with Down Syndrome, and some have even commented that they really miss my “Walker Stories”. Well, life settled down to a fairly predictable boredom over the past several years, so I branched out and rattled on about anything and everything.
My recent surgery, however, precipitated some ripples at home, and I’m back to my primary concern…living with Walker.
After two knee replacements and a few out of town trips, Walker had gotten used to coping with his predictable world being a little less so for short periods of time. I usually make sure that his needs are covered and have plans in place to make sure he will be safe and well cared for. I noticed a difference in Walker just before our last trip, a short one to Montgomery a few weeks ago. The night before we left he questioned me repeatedly about what he would have on hand to eat, who would be covering for me, etc. I realized that I probably hadn’t left enough microwave ready food that would appeal to him, so found myself flipping burgers to leave in the fridge at bedtime the night before we left. After I showed him his choices, he seemed to relax about everything but breakfast, which has become a bit of an issue in the past year.
For a long, long time, Walker’s preferred breakfast was two Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits which he microwaved for himself and went off to work with something in his tummy that would last till his rather late lunch break. Then one day he noticed that the package described the biscuits as “snack size”. They were the same biscuits, just as greasy and cholesterol filled as before, but now they were declared not to be suitable as breakfast. We reached a truce about my being a short order breakfast cook, and I agreed to fix him something two or three days a week while we looked for a suitable breakfast that he could fix for himself. (Cereal does not suit him…so don’t even suggest that one.)
Then I ended up having kidney surgery last week, and being kind of under the weather even after I got home. He has questioned me daily about what I might feel like cooking, which was actually not very much, but I did put some blueberry muffins in yesterday, and there were enough left over for today. Not acceptable…he really was craving waffles. He settled for a couple of Pop Tarts. It wasn’t a work day, and he’ll eat lunch at a normal time, so I kind of forgot about it.
A little later he came down and asked, “Which knee is it?” perhaps trying to figure out if I’d grown a third leg. I told him it wasn’t my knee this time, but that I had a kidney cancer removed, and it left my tummy pretty sore. “Cancer?’ he commented, looking a bit alarmed.
“Yeah, but it’s all gone now, and I’ll be fine. I just need some time to get better.” With a shrug he was gone again.
All this has led me back to being concerned for his welfare when the time finally comes that I don’t dodge the bullet. How do I prepare him for the likelihood that I might not always be around to fix his breakfast without scaring him to death. We’ll figure it out, I’m sure, but I realized that my boy-man still needs his mama right now. Maybe I’ll make those waffles tomorrow. I feel privileged to be able to do it for now.