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Despite Ronnie’s right side hemiplegia, he is able to mow the yard using our riding mower. My regular readers know that Ronnie experienced some medical issues this summer with a couple of surgeries and infections. These medical problems curtailed Ronnie’s mowing for several weeks. I was surprised when he didn’t put up a fuss that first time I mowed in his place. He knew his body needed the rest.
Thankfully, Ronnie is well enough now to mow again. One day last week after work, I got Ronnie on the mower then went inside to finish painting our bathroom. I’m painting away, listening for the mower, and peeking out the window every 20 minutes or so to make sure he’s ok.
As the evening wore on, I got so involved in the painting I lost track of time, until thunder rattled the windows. I looked out and at first thought I’d painted into the night. When I got outside I realized a horrible thunder storm was overhead. Lightening all around. Swirling black, angry clouds that looked ready to dump a hail storm at any second. And what was Ronnie Foster doing? Finishing the yard, no matter what. I rushed toward him. When he saw me coming and pointing toward the house, he kept on mowing. I had to run up to the mower and shout, “Get home,” like I was reprimanding a naughty puppy.
What was he thinking? He could’ve been struck by lightning, pounded by a hail storm, sucked into the vortex of those twisting and twirling clouds.
After he was inside and safe and after I had calmed down a bit, I reminded myself that mowing is a post-stroke passion for Ronnie. It gets him outside, allows him to operate a piece of machinery, provides the opportunity for productive work. Some think I shouldn’t let Ronnie mow, that it’s too dangerous. But this work must be preserved for as long as Ronnie is able, for it provides much purpose and satisfaction. Ronnie may not know when to come out of the storm, but he does know when his body can’t withstand the job.
We must walk a fine line in our role as caregivers as we attempt to balance safety with living life to the fullest extent possible. I believe it’s vital to support Ronnie in his desire for productive work, but sometimes I need to remind myself that Ronnie may not worry with the storm brewing overhead — That’s my job.