One of the husband's other nieces works for VNS, Susan phoned her first thing in the morning to discuss getting at-home hydration for her increasingly dehydrated husband. Susan was asked if she needed assistance with bathing, dressing or toileting him. Susan answered that she did not, she & the husband were managing just fine with all that.
She noticed earlier that the husband had a smidgen of diarrhea, she only mentions this very personal detail because she knows it will dehydrate him further, add another thing to manage and give her something else to worry about. His dehydration was already making him so tired he didn't want to get up out of bed, and he didn't make any sense when he talked.
Susan was due to leave the house at 12:30 pm to pick her daughter up at school, then her little sister, for their trip to get Dr. Wong's herbs. Susan was getting a little frazzled. She had to deposit money into the college wrestler's account so that he could purchase his ferry ticket later on that day and come home for Thanksgiving. It's a ten minute task, but Susan felt overwhelmed & kind of freaked out in front of her mom.
She got in to the car, her heart pounding like she was having a heart attack, and noticed that she was actually an hour ahead of schedule. It was 11:30 am. She laughed out loud and went in to double check the time then apologize to her mom for losing control. She was not happy about leaving her husband behind all day because she knew he would just sleep until she got home. She was also worried about the bathroom situation. But she had to get the herbs.
The trip to Chinatown was uneventful. It was raining. They found a parking spot directly across the street from their destination. It was kind of like a Chinese health food store but everything looked like shriveled fingers or toe nails and they were all stored in glass jars. It had a distinct fragrance, sort of like a salty humidor, which was not unpleasant. Only one of the three people in the store spoke any semblance of English, but they knew who she was & emerged from the back with a large grocery bag filled to capacity with little plastic pouches covered in Chinese characters and containing a brown liquid, still warm. Susan thanked them, paid her tab and left.
Susan knew that she would not be able to care for her husband at home for much longer.
She brought him out to the living room to see everyone and start on the herbs. The husband wasn't having any of it. Susan tasted it and discovered why; it was like liquefied asparagus. Susan was tired, scared and not in the mood for his stubbornness. She spoke to him loudly, like he was a bad boy who wouldn't drink his asparagus tea. The daughter interceded and got her father to drink, sip by sip, the unpleasant liquid, just by being encouraging and sweet.
It was lovely to watch.
Shortly thereafter, the daughter suggested that Susan not use yelling as a motivational tool, but try something more gentle and reasonable. Susan felt like an assh*le.
During this time Susan's little sister and mother left for the ferry to pick up the college wrestler. He had not seen his dad in a month and Susan was afraid that he would be shocked.
Susan was just afraid.
Meanwhile, the husband just wanted to go back to bed. He made this request every moment he sat in the bosom of his family. Susan explained that he had been in bed all day and wasn't this nice to sit with everyone and watch TV and chat. They all took turns sitting and talking with the husband until he eventually fell asleep where he sat. Susan put him to bed. He was very restless. She climbed in bed next to him and texted his eldest daughter. They agreed that if he didn't settle down shortly Susan would take him to the emergency room. If he fell asleep she'd wait till the next morning.
He fell asleep.