The other night, I had a strange dream. In the dream, I heard a noise, so I went to the front door. Outside, the street was lined with semitrailers. Four of them, bumper to bumper, blocking the entire street. The trailers were flatbeds, and the one directly in front of our house was loaded with brightly wrapped presents adorned with silver bows. I went outside. There was a crowd of women on the street. Women were giddy and laughing, they had shopping carts and paper bags and they were going from trailer to trailer selecting gifts. I walked down the line of trucks and saw the next trailer was filled with candles. I reached in and picked up a candle, which smelled strongly of vanilla and was decorated with butterflies. I was thinking how pretty the candle was and how nice it would be to put on our mantel when someone put their hand on my shoulder.
I turned around and saw a large burly man dressed like an old fashion police officer. White shirt, black tie, black cap. He wrenched that candle right out of my hand and I said, "Hey!"
He said, "Sorry, you're not qualified to be here."
In my dream, I sputtered something about the trucks were right in front of my house and who were all these women and why wasn't I qualified if they were? So he led me down the block to an old house, one of those dream houses that do not exist outside this dream. We went up a long narrow staircase which ended at a tiny room crammed with desks and file cabinets. There were about ten people working in this room. The police officer picks up a file folder from one of the desks and pulls out a sheaf of papers and begins to read off "the qualifications" which start out with "you must be between 25 and 45 years old." The cop has a cell phone in his pocket which starts ringing but he ignores it and keeps reading off the "qualifications" which include "you must have been a one-time resident of the local battered women's shelter" and "you must have an ex-husband with the first or last name of Ethan", and I'm thinking that cell phone is really irritating, why doesn't he answer it? And then I wake up.
But I can still hear that darn cell phone.
Then I realize it's not a cell phone, but Bob's feeding pump alarm signaling that it's finished. So I drag myself out of bed, disconnect the pump, flush it with hot water, prepare Bob's medications, syringe them into his tube, change his bed pad, boost him up in bed and get him fresh water and towels. Then I turn on the radio to Bob's favorite station, get dressed, leash up the dog and head out for our morning walk.
The minute I reach the sidewalk, the cool morning air hits my face and I remember that dream and, like a complete idiot, I break down in tears. Right there on the street.
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about physical therapy and how on earth to progress Bob past walking on the rail as we've been doing that for over six months and he seems to be sort of stuck at a standstill. The last time that Bob had an appointment with his primary care doctor, I asked him if it would be possible to get a script for Physical Therapy so that Bob could return to Outpatient Rehab and the doctor told me that "Outpatient Rehab was not set up for people with a chronic condition such as Bob's". Which I don't understand because I know of so many stroke survivors who continue to get outpatient rehab long after that first year stroke anniversary.
And I wonder if, like in my dream of the vanilla scented candle, Bob just does not qualify for help once again. Or if we've just been dealt an unlucky hand of bad doctors and even worse therapists in the past.