It is 8a.m. the bedroom door opens, the assistant arrived, and this is how my day starts. For the assistant it is just another day of work, for me it is life. Blinds open and sun hits my eyes. Happy, my little white dog continues her sleep next to me like nothing is going on. She is used by now to my morning routine the coming and goings of the assistant does not disturb her at all. It is time to start making ourselves up for the day.
Getting ready when you can do nothing by yourself isn’t that fast nor easy, but even so, by pure determination I have kept my old habits of always looking good no matter what it takes. You could say that this is my way of fighting back, refusing to give in to depression and somberness.
Assistant is dressing me up feels now after all this time like normal, but it used to be a nightmare. Just imagine you are getting dressed up while lying down on the bed. All you can do is blink your eyes when you are being pulled from left to right, turned from one side another. Legs up! Legs down! Flat to your tummy, then back. A whole rollercoaster ride in your bed, every single morning. Breakfast in bed is certainly not recommended.
Once I was watching this TV program about a seriously ill man. This man was reading a poem that he had written just before he became ill. The one verse that caught my attention was when he said that when he becomes bedridden and is unable to move and can’t even dress himself, they can just pull the plug. This made my blood boil – what kind of a way of measuring life is this – you can’t dress yourself up, so what?!
Every day I make myself pretty. With carefully thought clothes, accessories and matching shoes, not to mention hair and make-up. And on top of it all perfume. Yes, every single day.
I give the assistants nightmares by being always such a perfectionist, especially with clothes. Most people are satisfied if the clothes just fit, but not me. For me, that is just the beginning.” Straighten those wrinkles! Pants down! Collar up! Pull the sleeves to the right spot…”
Many times I just want to scream and pull my hair when the assistant don’t understand what I ask them to do, no matter how simple I explain it. I try to keep in mind that it’s a working relationship and that I have to keep my cool.
I think that I got about 80% worse in the dressing up game after the stroke. Being pretty used to be my work, so it was the last thing I wanted to do my off days. Then I wore no make-up nor fixed hair.
There are those rare days when I am all natural. My husband, Henning loves those days. Funny, because usually men complain about how women don’t take enough care of themselves and how they look. Now you may think that I´m always fully covered with make-up, but no. Make-up is just about enhancing what you already have so, some powder, eyeliner, mascara and lip gloss in the right way will do the trick. Make-up time is another nightmare moment for me and the assistant. It drives me off the wall when they can´t get it just the way I want it. How many times have I thought to myself, “If only I could move my hands!”
A friend of mine who was working in a country where there was a war going on was telling me that between all the turbulences that were going on the women still always dressed well and nice. He was amazed by this fact, but I can totally relate. Not taking care of yourself and giving up on your feminine side is like a soldier laying his weapon down. It is like you have given up on life completely. And no, this lady is not going to give up on life.
Then it is time for my grand breakfast. A little bit of porridge (usually with a lot of cinnamon). The breakfast is followed up by day that I mainly spent at my PC. Writing, writing and writing. Of course, my days vary very much depending on what kind of day it is but if no physiotherapy, no household chores, no appointments, or hanging around in the city, then PC it is.
We, usually, eat dinner around 5p.m. At 6p.m. the assistant leaves and normal private life begins. When you don’t have so much alone time with your spouse you really appreciate those hours that you are alone together. You don’t want to waste them arguing about some stupid little thing. We never do argue; we would discuss things but never argue. One of the things I really love about Henning is that he can really talk. Many times we spend hours just talking.
The assistant comes between 10 and 11p.m. for the night shift which starts with a midnight snack with a cup of coffee. Then it is time to hit the shower that is more like a shower/happy hour event full of gossips and laughter. I should not say gossip, but information exchange.
After the stroke, for a long time it felt very STRANGE to be showered by somebody else. Picture this; (without thinking about a sexy hunk or hot chick and touching yourself, this is serious) someone washing your private parts, touching you everywhere! It is a bizarre feeling. Or this; being in the sauna, and you cannot do the simple task of pouring water on the rocks. The assistant has to stay in there with you to do this while suffering from the heat. I love my sauna the same way as I love my shower and my man, hot, hot, And HOT!
Then it is off to bed. Before sleeping we watch some TV, cuddle and talk. I love our pillow talks. They are the best foreplay for a good night rest.