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A Gourmet Treat?



Have you missed me, dear Diary? I have not written for a week. The nights have been terrible with hubby… manic. He does not sleep, demands attention in the wee hours of the night with a brain that is overactive and exhausted at the same time. With or without his aide, Violet, it is totally draining. I keep saying that “my brains are fried”.

Out of desperation, I have engaged a private geriatrician to help me survive the abyss. (We will call him Dr. S.) He came last to our home last night at 9 PM to assess hubby and see what we can do to help him in the nights, and by extension, help both Violet and myself, to survive our current nightmare. Dr. S. spent two hours examining Hubby, analyzing many different issues. He also concluded that I am suffering from “caregiver fatigue” and prescribed a vacation for me… which sounds right on target. If I can get Hubby to a point where he can sleep through the night, I may be able to help myself as well. Examples of the toll these nights have taken on me are worth sharing (although a normal person would be embarrassed to do so). I am currently and clearly nowhere near normal.

Finally, a long-awaited appointment at a hospital, the last in a series of check-ups to be sure my recent eye surgery was as successful as I believe it to have been. This additional appointment required much preparation, documentation and prepayment for an additional test not covered by my medical group. It took a precious two hours in the hospital to finally get the test after the bureaucracy of processing and waiting time. I realized afterwards that perhaps I should also be seeing the doctor who performed the surgery, thus I went to his secretary to ask.

“Yes”, she said “Please give me your papers and the doctor will see you.”

I do not have any papers, they took them when I went for the test. 

“Not those papers, the separate prepayment receipt for the doctor”

Isn’t all this covered by the payment for the test? I asked.

“No… you need to go to the cashier on the main floor to pay and then return and wait for the doctor.”

The last time I did this, I had to wait three hours in the clinic. The tears welled up in my eyes. It was the straw breaking the camel’s back. I am the camel. I told the secretary:

“I have a sick husband at home. I cannot do this. Forget the appointment. I have to leave.”

I found my way to the hospital exit, hailed a taxi and tears flowed. I was no longer able to function. Sleep deprivation is no joke.

That was last week. Even with the suggestions of Dr. S., last night was terrible for us all. I really don’t want to go into the specifics. This entry is all about me

Today is Monday and the day of the week when I set up Hubby’s pills. It requires total concentration. I think I did it correctly. When finished, I put the excess stock of pills into his small suitcase. (We each have separate medication suitcases, ain’t life grand?) At 1 PM, I needed to take the two pills which I take for stress. I picked up the silver foil packet from the table, and took the first one. Something strange caught my attention – there should have been eight pills in the packet, but there were five. I looked on the back of the strip only to discover that I had just taken one of Hubby’s pills, not my own. The pill I had just ingested is one which we give him four times a day to keep him calm. It is a medication that we put him on gradually. I had just taken 10 mg with nothing gradual about it. I decided not to make matters worse by taking my own tablets as well. It was the right move. An hour later his medication kicked in and I felt a bit like I had been hit by a truck. I knew that my afternoon plans to go out of the house were foiled. I felt faint. I needed to stick close to home base.

Dr. S. suggested that we need more help at home. On the nights when Violet is not here, I need someone with Hubby. The doctor was right. We have found one of her friends to work for us tonight from 9 PM to 6:30 AM. This does not guarantee that I will be able to sleep, but “hope springs eternal in the human breast.”

Dr. S. kindly wrote me a text message this morning to see how we did in the night. He wrote me at 9:30 but I was still asleep. I have written back to him multiple times. He is working and has not seen my messages. As I look at them, I am sure he must think that I am the “Mad Hatter” – (an allusion to “Alice in Wonderland”, a classic which I hope will not have been forgotten by the time my diary is actually published in book form.)

We need to come up with another “cocktail” for Hubby’s medication at night. I know that Dr. S. will not abandon us, and that gives me comfort.

Hubby is laughing. We are at the lunch table as I am writing. He sees how fast my fingers are moving on the keyboard and he is fascinated. He says my fingers are “dancing.” He is right. They are the only part of my body which can move at the moment!

While I was trying to rest as Hubby’s medication overwhelmed me, I considered a title for this entry. I thought of ‘Fried Brains.” Surely this is a delicacy somewhere I the world? I went to Mr. Google and discovered all kinds of gourmet recipes for fried lamb or cow brains. My totally weird sense of humor while on this medication has me wondering whether I should eventually donate my own brains, not to science, but to a gourmet institute. Le Cordon Bleu peut-etre? Is this too macabre to share with you?

I am hoping that I do not crash from Hubby’s pill which is attacking my own brain even as I am writing now. The brain is not something to be toyed with. I have always avoided mind-altering drugs. Offered them in my college days, I instinctively knew that I was basically a coward, and declined. Apparently, it was the right decision!


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Barbara Diamond is a journalist living in Jerusalem, Israel. She has been a political activist on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people for over fifty years, having participated in political and humanitarian missions to Ethiopia, the former Soviet Union, China, and Europe to meet with world leaders on matters of concern. She has written over 100 articles for the Jerusalem Post and on her blog at The Times of Israel, hosted an English radio talk show in Jerusalem and continues mentoring others to pass on the torch of responsibility. You can reach her at [email protected] and visit her site at