By Barbara Peters Smith, Sarasota Herald Tribune
Chuck and Rosalie Schockweiler need no words as they execute a smoothly choreographed routine in their Englewood home.
He rinses her feeding tube and hands it to her; she shakes it dry and attaches it to a port on her abdomen as he dissolves three pills in water. Chuck fetches her liquid lunch as Rosalie places a plastic receptacle in an ingenious homemade stand that Chuck fashioned from PVC pipe and an old battery charger, weighted “with imported stones from the front yard.”
He pours in the solution, and as she feels it flow into her belly, she smiles — the same glorious, sunny smile he first noticed back when they worked at Venice Regional Medical Center. He chases the meds with a can of liquid nutrition Rosalie must have five times daily, filling the tube and responding to her prompt when it’s time for another pour.
Usually, as Rosalie finishes her meal, Chuck gets himself something to eat and they sit together at the dining table. Then they stand, every single time, for a long, satisfying hug.
It’s a process they repeat about every two and a half hours, with two more feeding sessions for medication alone.
Early in the day, it looks easy. But, Chuck admits, evenings are tougher because his energy flags. (more…)