I can’t. I can’t do this anymore, I say to myself, my mantra, my cantra, the same thing I said when he first needed a wheelchair, when he first became incontinent.

When we married, I was thirty-six and Jerry, a vital, seemingly healthy fifty-two. Before our first anniversary, he needed an angioplasty. Thirty-five years later, we’ve been together through more heart stents, femoral artery stents, a rare salmonella infection that lodged in his groin, spine surgeries, hand surgeries, sinus surgery, and the repeated foot wounds and amputations resulting from his diabetes. His hands are clawed by nerve damage making it difficult for him to hold utensils and vascular dementia limits his ability to understand his condition or make decisions about his care.

Read more on Memoirland.

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