I’m ashamed of how much I complain to Lynn about the things he asks me to do. If he calls me to cath him and it’s only been 40 minutes I’ll say something like, “you’ve got to be kidding! You couldn’t possibly need to pee again this soon.” Today I was gripping because he now eats four small meals a day rather than three times a day. That’s one extra 30-minute period for me to prepare his meal and feed him. When he wanted to exercise, I sigh and say, “Guess I won’t be making that phone call I need to return.” I say things all the time to make him feel guilty for asking for my help! I don’t see how he puts up with me or why he still calls me his sweetie.
Thinking about how I must make him feel, I envision what his world must be like with me in it. I want to share that with you and hopefully remember it myself the next time I start whining and complaining.
————————–(this is how I imagine Lynn thinking to himself)———————–
I wish I could go back to sleep. It’s 7:30 a.m. Is Donna getting up at 8 today or 9? I really need to pee but I had her up twice last night and I know she needs to get some sleep. Maybe I can wait…
Did I hear her? “Donna, are you awake? I hate to wake you up but I really need to go.”
Donna: “I’m awake now. Can’t you hold off a little while longer? I’ve only been able to get five hours tonight.”
Lynn: “I’m sorry but I really do need to go. I’m so full, I don’t think I can hold it much longer.” I hope this is not a false alarm. I really don’t want her to be miserable all day and I hate to interrupt her sleep like this but I feel about to bust.
Donna: “Okay,” (heavy sign) “I’ll get up.”
[an hour later after he has done his vocal exercises]
Lynn: “Do you have time to help me exercise?”
Donna: “What do you want to do? My hands are really hurting this morning and so is my back.”
Lynn: “Can you help me with the Tram?”
Donna: “I don’t know. I need to check emails and get things ready for us to go to the chiropractor today. I really need to get back to xxxx. Maybe if you don’t ask me to do anything else afterwards, I can fit it in.”
Lynn: “Maybe I should wait and do it tomorrow.”
Donna: “No, you want to do it today so we’ll do it today. (heavy sigh) Just let me figure out how to fit it in.”
Lynn: I don’t want to bother her but it’s been a week since I was up on the Tram and if I let it go much longer, I’ll stall my progress. I’ll try to do it quickly so I don’t bother her any longer than necessary. “Thanks. I really appreciate it and I’ll try to keep it quick.”
As I rush out to get breakfast, Lynn thinks, I hate being such a burden. I know she’s doing the best she can and she doesn’t have enough time like it is. I know I shouldn’t add to her work but if I don’t exercise, I can’t get my strength back and I’ll never be able to help her around here. I want to be her husband again. I want to take care of her and do the yard work. I want to fix the front porch rail and get the windshield wipers changed for her on the truck. I want to take her places with me driving so she can sleep in the car or read like she used to do. I want to earn a real living; not just get a few dollars from disability. I want to take the load off her shoulders. I’m her husband. I want her to see me that way again and not have her think of me as one of her children to care for or worse yet, a job she has to do. I’m afraid she will grow to resent me and my demands on her time, but I get so cold if I don’t drink hot tea and then I have to pee so often when I do.
“Donna, can I have some tea?”
D___ I dropped the remote. I hate this show. I’ll type instead. Let me send another query letter out for an agent. …I’ve written that paragraph four times now and I’ve lost it each time. My computer is acting up. Maybe she can help me figure out the solution. I’ll ask her when she comes back… but I know she doesn’t have time. Maybe I can get her to help for just a minute though. Maybe she won’t be as bothered with me if I get her to do everything while she’s here and not have to call her back anymore…
In my mind, I imagine those types of thoughts go through his head every day. I know he hates to be a burden. I know he doesn’t feel like a man and that he’s eager to get his book to sell, not for the glory, but so he can bring money into our home to help relieve some of my struggles. Lynn is very thankful for what I do for him. He gives me a lot of praise and signs of appreciation. I’m very fortunate, he is so thoughtful and doesn’t make my caregiving experience so much harder than it already is. I’m a lucky woman; so why am I so critical and complain so much?
Lord, forgive me. Help me to see through his eyes, to feel through his skin, to hear with his ears, to feel his pain and frustration. Help me to see the man I married and not a patient demanding my attention. Help me to show compassion and love, respect and gratitude, encouragement and hope, and most of all faith in You that you will see us both through the good and the bad times.