Amber Hollister looking through a sculpture at Warren W. Schell Jr. Memorial Park
I broke my back

My partner

I’ve complained a lot in these posts. Most of these days have been pretty rough, and today was definitely no exception. In fact, today was one of the worst. But I’d rather focus on something good today.

Amber has been incredible to me throughout this ordeal. She has been at my side caring for me, comforting me, and running our household all by herself nonstop with some help from her mom.

She’s tired, and I sure can’t blame her. She’s helping me in and out of bed — like literally pushing to help roll all 265 pounds of me over so she can put my brace on my back.

She’s walking with me, taking care of everything I need, and taking care of all of my chores: hauling out the trash, carrying in the water bottles, carrying in all the groceries, picking and shipping books from the bookstore, and bringing things down to and up from from the basement. All of that, on top of taking care of our three kids and the normal household chores.

It’s constant bending, lifting and never getting to sit down long enough to actually rest.

As much as I have complained about my sore muscles, she probably has just about the same amount of aches and pains as me by now.

You know that annoying thing how you remember something you need right after you sit down? It’s SO much worse when you’re not the person who has to go get it.

Constantly getting up and down to get something is hard on anyone, but it’s especially hard on her with her knees.

We have this routine that probably sounds like it was ripped from the pages of an Miller-Boyett family sitcom script:

She asks me right before she’s about to sit down, “Is there anything else I can do for you?”

I think about it, and then usually say, “No, I’m good.”

Then, right as she settles into the chair or the bed, my mind remembers the thing that I desperately needed 2 minutes ago.

I try to hide the thought from my face, but she knows and says, “What is it?”

I try to pretend I’m good, but it’s always something I actually need so she makes me confess, “Yeah, would you hand me my glasses, laptop, etc?”

We’re starting to get into a pattern in this new phase of life, so the sitcom routine doesn’t happen as often as it did when I first got home. And she’s started to get a little rest here and there as things have started settling down.

She’s an introvert and hasn’t had a moment alone in the past 19 days so it’s starting to wear on her emotionally. I’m pretty sure she’s not holding it all inside though. She’s had a few outbursts.

For example, my favorite moment was one morning when I was still in the hospital and she had just taken the boys to school. I begged her to get me a Sausage Egg McMuffin. She texted me from McDonald’s: “If one day I get shot in the face in a drive through line, you will know in your bones that I drove around a giant line of idiots that refused to use the second ordering lane.”

T-74 days.

Thank you to everyone that has made this season a little easier for both of us. Knowing that we have a little cushion against the bills that are coming our way has relieved a lot of stress in an incredibly stressful time.

And everyone that has brought or ordered food for us have been absolute angels. I can see the tension in her shoulders release and relief in Amber’s eyes when folks have shown up with a meal. Thank you so much.

https://www.mealtrain.com/trains/oqrz21

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