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Absence makes getting by harder

Darling Husband is back. He had to go to Switzerland to take care of necessary stuff connected with having property there. We were both going to go, but the doctors told me not to try it. So I stayed here, and he had to do the journey alone. We discovered how much we depend upon each other. • He came back with a harrowing tale of having lost his wedding ring on the plane. Luckily a sharp-eyed, very young passenger found it under a seat. The problem was that D.H. had practically not eaten while he was there and he lost weight, even in his fingers; hence, the ring fell off.

It reinforced my conviction that if I don't feed him, he doesn't eat. (He always says I mustn't cook just for him, and I explain he's just getting my leftovers.) I have always thought of southern Switzerland as a culinary mecca. I can't imagine being there and not eating.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, in the burning desert, I experienced a whole lot of solitude. Summertime in the Valley of the Sun is not time to go outside and play unless you are very young or a desert-dwelling reptile. No one around here goes out during the heat of the day. Locally, they tout the idea that "it's a dry heat." Not muggy like Florida. But 120 degrees is a valid setting on my oven, and I would not voluntarily sit in my oven.

D.H. endured a journey of more than 50 hours and arrived in Switzerland fairly wiped out. And there is the nine-hour time difference. D.H. is not a young person, but he's tough. There were boxes full of mail to deal with, so he waded in. And he sent me e-mails updating his progress.

One of his chores was to pack up some stuff from the house there to be shipped to our kids here. Considering the location of our house there, getting all that stuff down to street level was a huge task. Fortunately, a neighbor who is much younger helped him. On this end, I worried.

Here in the desert, I came to realize that many simple things were beyond my capabilities. I had promised D.H. that while he was away I would use the four-wheeled walker, which I did. It's awkward. I have trouble getting in and out the door with it, but a promise is a promise. There was no way I could get rid of the trash. The walker takes two hands, and the trash would take a third hand. There is a large, heavy gate to get through, which I simply couldn't handle alone.

D.H. struggled on, foodless, exhausted, but determined. (Did I mention pretty much sleepless?) His internal clock would have him sleep during the day. (That pesky time change, plus jet lag.) Unfortunately he had to function during the daylight hours yawning and dragging. So I got e-mails from him written at 3 a.m. He was awake then.

With the help of one of my daughters on the phone, I made it through a supermarket website and ordered groceries online for delivery the next day. Miraculously, they arrived on time. The process still seems (to me) to be akin to alchemy. One wrong key pressed and disaster ensues. Back to square one.

I am more and more impressed by D.H.'s ability to go to all sorts of websites and plod through all the steps to accomplish . . . whatever.

I also discovered it's possible to get cabin fever even when the sun is shining. I did get out of the house once, for a medical test. Whoopee.

A Good Samaritan from a local volunteer agency came and picked me up, delivered me and brought me home again. He is definitely one of the good guys.

E-mails from D.H. began to take on a desperate tone. Then one fine day one of my daughters called to see if I had read the latest e-mail. I usually check every other day, so no, I hadn't. She said, "I have a message that D.H. is on his way home. Is that possible?" Yes, indeed, he was homeward bound.

So he's back. I am so glad! It's pretty clear he is, too. He's enjoying my "leftovers," and has gained enough weight to keep his wedding ring on. And he takes out the trash. He's a saint and I love him.

Sheila Stoll is happy to hear from readers but cannot respond to individual queries. Write to her at PMB No. 309, 7904 E Chaparral Road, No. 110, Scottsdale, AZ 85250.

Absence makes getting by harder 09/27/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 9:04pm]
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