When this is all over and the dust has settled I am most likely going to come down with a bang.
My wife suffered serious complications after a minor operation Tuesday. Her blood pressure dropped to dangerous levels at one point and it was only the timely intervention of the doctors at the local hospital that saved her. She came home the next day but is still very ill and in pain.
She has to rely on me to care for her. It’s not easy for either of us – she has always been a very independent woman and asking for help does not come easily. I suspect I am misreading some of her signals: I see the anger at the surface when I should realise that her fear and pain is causing it. It’s difficult for me to be sufficiently detached to properly analyze her state of mind – to properly empathize requires that I, paradoxically, first have to distance myself so I can be objective.
I feel so helpless: there’s nothing I can do to take away her pain, to make her better. It will just take time. All I can do is try to make sure she’s got everything she needs to hand and all the household jobs get done. I’m not very good at it – left to my own devices I struggle to look after myself, never mind anybody else. I don’t feel as if I’m doing enough – I think that I’m just reacting to situations that arise rather than being proactive and forestalling them. I just think that I ought to be doing more but I don’t know what more I could do.
I keep noticing the symptoms of an impending shutdown – I get frustrated and tired more quickly and I feel the urge to disconnect, to get away from everything for a while and go for a long walk by myself. But I won’t let myself do that right now – I can’t allow myself that luxury until she is stronger. It takes its toll on me: it is physically very demanding. I feel constant tension across my shoulders and down my back, caused by the stress of the situation. Once she recovers sufficiently I can take the time out I need to recover. But until then I must carry on doing the best I can.
2 thoughts on “Caring”
I think I would be so much the same way. Very close to burnt out and trying to hang in there as best I can. My husband was in the hospital this past winter and it scared me so much. He was still not well when he came home and I had to take care of him, too. My mom helped me a bit because I was sick, too. I had to find little moments in the day where I could go sit in the bathroom with the fans running and the lights off to just decompress for a while so I could keep going. I didn't want to not be there for him. I hope your wife heals up very quickly and is strong again soon. The whole situation sounds like it's been very scary. I hope you are able to hold up through it all, too.
Bird, thank you. It is a real help just to know that somebody else can understand how I feel compelled to be there, even if I burn myself out doing so.