Tuesday, August 29, 2006


We hired a CNA to help me out with my morning routine. I think that stands for Certified (or California?) Nursing Assistant. Not sure. She helps for three hours each weekday. She started on August 21. And not a moment too soon. Due to advancing right arm weakness, it was becoming difficult for me to dry my own hair. It was too bushy and thick, including on those parts usually afflicted by MPB. Fortunately a friend came here and gave me a very short haircut. But still, things go so much more quickly when she helps me shower and dress.

You heard that right. My son already asked my supportive wife: "Does she stare at his private parts?" My response: "She's a nurse."

She is younger, beautiful, and exotically from another country. But the thing you might expect to happen doesn't, not because I'm not a very simple mechanism like all other men, but because I'm a saint.

Let me clarify. I'm human, and I wouldn't be at all surprised (or ashamed), if Gumby made an appearance. But the reason Gumby doesn't show is that, in my experience, he shows when a woman is romancing me. The CNA isn't dour, officious or severe in the shower -- she's friendly as usual. But she's not romancing me, so, no Gumby. It's intimate, but it's not sexy.

It helps save a lot of time and, more importantly, muscle effort, to have someone shave me, soap me, dry me, dress me, prepare and hang my IV, and make breakfast and smoothies. These last two are things my devoted wife usually did. The CNA also does a little laundry.

I understand that if you have ALS and Medicare (I do, but I still use my Blue Cross), that the government will pay for your in-home nursing care, if the nurse comes through an approved agency. But -- and I hope those of you in the know will correct me on this -- I understand that's only for medical care, like, I dunno, physical therapy or maybe medication supervision, not daily convenience care like the CNA does for me.

This weekend I managed myself in the shower, even drying my own, mercifully now shorter, hair. My admirably introspective wife often helps me get dressed, and she did so this weekend as well.
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