“You’re doing a great job keeping him moving, that’s exactly what he needs. Little challenges, purposeful things to do alternated with rests.”
“Your career’s on hold too isn’t it?” Jamie said gently. Dare nodded.
“And you’ve always fitted it in around his career. Travel where he goes, support him during the preps and the races.” Jamie sounded quietly understanding. “Someone has to get the shopping in, have the bills paid, the bed made and the laundry up to date. I get it to an extent, Mick and I are owned by a building and his publican licence, our lives revolve around the pub.”
“I don’t know about on hold.” Dare finished his tea, holding the cup between his hands. “From what we’ve been told he won’t be able to race again. Or handle a yacht alone again.”
“He’s always been a wonderfully…. practical man.” He said aloud to Jamie. “With racing– you take the circumstances you have and you make the best of them, there isn’t time to whine about what the weather’s doing or if you’re cold or tired or whether the tide’s cooperating, you just get on with it. He’s always been like that in pretty much everything - very upbeat and nothing much gets him down, he’s a tough adapter. People tick him off sometimes but it’s a brief explosion and done, gone. This…”
“Three days ago he was pale grey and terrified of weight bearing. Today you had him not only standing but freeing a hand to clean windows, taking some interest in the house. I know you’re having to be the bastard who won’t let him give up, and he really needs that, I can see it working.” Jamie gave his hand a firm pat and got up to rinse both their mugs as if he owned the place. He nodded at the dog as he put the mugs away. “And she’s a good idea too. This is the one you found?”
“I think she found us.”
They hadn’t given it any conscious thought. She had just slipped straight into their daily routine without difficulty, quiet and undemanding. Walking her was currently a daily oasis of calm in Dare’s morning.
“Someone to look after.” Jamie stooped to the dog, putting a confident hand out to gently pull her soft ears. She let him too, Jamie seemed to disarm most people. “I’ll drop in again day after tomorrow. Get that recliner and get some sleep.”
“It’s not going to make much difference is it?”
“Jamie doesn’t think so, and I can see he’s right. It’s about balance. You do better when you’re rested, you’re in less pain, you move better, you’ve got more mental energy.”
“You mean I’m less foul tempered.”
“I’m not sitting in that.”
“It’s softer, it’s got more give and you’ll be more comfortable.” Dare said gently but firmly. “No one’s looking.”
“I am not appearing in the village gossip as the crippled ex Olympian.” Jonah said bitterly. “No.”
Dare leaned on the table, not unsympathetic but not discussing it. “Chair, or we’re going back to the cottage.”
There was a moment where Jonah glared at him, hurt, embarrassed, angry, and it was very difficult not to give in. This was his pride at stake.
Dare reached past him to get the wheelchair and Jonah swore quietly and got up, propping himself heavily on the table.
“Thank you.” Dare helped him move across, put the wheelchair against the table where Jonah could sit looking like any other diner in a chair, and took the bench next to him, putting his hand out to grasp Jonah’s and holding on when Jonah tried to pull away.
“If I so much as breathe I look knackered.” Jonah muttered. Jamie gave him another swift hug, ignoring the hunched shoulders indicating Get The Hell Off.
“We love it.” Jamie glanced around him with real warmth. “It’s got a real spirit to it.”
“Thank you. Look at me. Jonah, now.”
“I know.” Dare said firmly. “It’s been relentless and you need to grieve. I know it’s hard.”
“Yes, you can. Your heart’s working harder with you sitting up, you’ve been mostly laying down for the last month. Use the recliner, get used to half an hour sitting up a couple of times a day. We have to work out your threshold and then stay below it. Consistently train your body to be ok below threshold so you always have energy in reserve and you’ll have a better chance of gently raising that budget higher. This is the routine you have right now, yes? So add this. Every other day, fifteen minutes in the car. Just the car. Just driving. Go have a look at the water front in the village. Drive past the church.”
“Yes, I thought you’d get that. I read about your training schedules, I know you’re tough. Now get tough.”
“Before I went into hospital I hadn’t owned a pair of pyjamas in twenty years.” Jonah pointed out. “You said you were worried I was going to shock the nurses, and I thought at the time it was mostly jealousy. This is the nautical equivalent of a wheelbarrow.”
“Yes, you are.” Dare helped him out of his sweat shirt, exchanging it for the pyjama top. “We’re budgeting energy, remember? Strange place, new things to look at, more energy being used, so you don’t need to be wasting any getting cold and sitting in uncomfortable positions. You can lay in bed and admire the view.”