10 Oct Footing and Foundation – and Caregiving
The footing for our new house was very well done, and the foundation frost wall went in without a hitch. It was my husband whose old soccer injury to his knee flared up that knocked him off his own footing and turned me into a caregiver for a while.
Wetting the footing concrete
We learned after the concrete for the footing was poured that, given the hot day, it would be a good idea to wet down the concrete. It is stronger if it cures more slowly. So I passed my husband buckets of water down in the pit and he dutifully went around wetting the concrete.
But I had to go to a meeting, so he started clambering in and out of the pit to get more buckets of water. Then he walked several blocks to mow someone’s challenging lawn as a favour. On top of that, a few weeks before, he had done a couple of other physical activities out of the ordinary, which he felt in his knee.
Stranger to the rescue
On walking home from mowing the lawn, his knee grew more and more painful, to the point where he couldn’t walk any more. There he was, leaning on some bridge railings, wondering how on earth he was going to get home.
A kind woman in a nearby house saw that something was wrong, and insisted on driving him home. What a shock it was for me to see a healthy and vigorous man completely unable to walk, with a knee swollen to twice its normal size.
A taste of caregiving
His knee was in worse shape than we realized, and he eventually ended up under medical care. This meant a lot of rest with his leg up, and he was unable to get in or out of bed without help. So I got a taste of caregiving, helping him with whatever he couldn’t do for himself.
People were so supportive. For example, one neighbour brought over a walker, and took me grocery shopping. Then my husband graduated to crutches after a couple of weeks and could get around more easily. Now he’s back to not-too-strenuous outdoor work again, mostly shifting gravel to prepare eventually for the concrete slab. He still uses a cane, but mostly for street walking.
This was a good eye-opener for us, to realize what the years ahead might bring. How easily one’s sense of a solid foundation can develop cracks. We were lucky, in that he can recover from his injury. Not everything that life throws is so readily overcome.
I’m pleased, however, with the way we both responded. He maintained a positive outlook, measuring the amount of swelling in his knee every day to monitor progress. And I remembered, from my days of caring for our daughters when they were very young, to look after myself.