Join with me as I embark on a 31-Day Writing Challenge! Inspired by Lisa-Jo and created by the Nester, this exercise takes writers on a journey to write on one topic for 31 days straight.

Me? I’m attempting to go through our journey and countdown 31 things I used to have to do for Danny, that I don’t have to anymore. This exercise has already taken me down roads I haven’t traveled in my mind in quite some time. It has, and will allow me to be reminded just how far we really have come since August 16, 2005.

12. ENT

Ears, nose and throat.

He would look at me. In the eye.

I could only imagine what he was thinking, what he was trying to tell me, if anything at all.

I made every attempt to do things for Danny the way that I knew he would want them done.

I knew he wouldn’t want to be unclean.

This was a man that usually showered twice a day and would Q-tip his ears afterwards. He shaved daily and made sure to take care of his teeth.

Cleaning Danny’s ears wasn’t really a big deal to me, except the first time when I asked the nurses to get the blood out of them.

That kind of made me want to scream-evidence of internal brain injury. Can you just wipe that away, please?

Cleaning Danny’s nose took me a bit more practice. It’s not like he could reach his finger there or ask for a tissue.

But, goodness, can you imagine not being able to clean your nose, blow your nose or even scratch your nose? And, being that he was sick and had a lot of junk, it would build up in the nostrils. Nasty.

It was gross. Don’t get me wrong, but I guess when it’s someone you love, it does make a difference in the gag factor.

And, while the nose was gross, it wasn’t nearly as gross as his mouth.

Nothing by mouth for months. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

No swab of water, no ice chips, no toothpaste, no mouthwash, no food, no drink. Nothing.

Thrush developed. Danny’s mouth looked like a cave full of stalagmites. His tongue, throat and gums were covered in this thick, stringy white junk.

It made me want to vomit.

But, in my head, I thought about what Danny must be feeling about the condition of his mouth and the junk in there drove me crazy. I had to clean it out for him. Had to.

Unfortunately, Danny had a bite reflex. If anything went between his teeth, he would bite and lock down. Ask my finger.

So, I would use the suction plastic straw thing, to hold his teeth open enough that I could slip a dry toothbrush through them. I would have to scrap and pull, and sometimes gag Danny, to get that white junk out of his mouth.

It broke my heart.

I couldn’t even give him a clean feeling mouth. There was no way to get it all out of there. 

I wouldn’t want to talk with that stuff in my mouth either.

Having to have something help you with such simple grooming tasks must be completely humbling, and not necessarily in a good way. I am thankful that Danny was apparently unaware during that time. And, I’m happy to report I do no more ENT cleaning; he’s got that covered.

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