Today was my ‘day off’ from work at the veterinary hospital, but it was my ‘day on’ with everything else. Tara and Quinn were off from school today – parent-teacher interview day. They wanted one on one time with Fran and me. This made for a busy day. I visited you first thing in the morning and got to meet with Dr. Feltmate and the dietician. It’s official, you are off the PEG tube feeding at night now. They were going to weigh you today. They will reweigh you early next week and see how you managed to maintain your weight.
You are still having bouts of profound sadness, but you can be rallied out of them with a little nurturing and supportive kind words. You are passed the point of caring who you cry in front of. The sadness rules the moment. I don’t think this is depression. The depression that I’ve seen is much deeper and darker then these periods of weeping. You haven’t received any more extra medication for these episodes. We have decided to reserve these drugs for episodes that interfere with sleep and other important daily activities.
I am very aware that the antidepressant you are on now may not be the right drug for you. The challenge is finding the right drug. As I understand it, it is a bit of trial and error to the process. The frustrating thing is that the drugs take a while to work, so it is hard to know when the drug is not working and when is it time to try something different. You have been on this antidepressant for a little over three weeks and you have a lot to be depressed about so a few bouts of profound sadness doesn’t worry me now but I do want to watch that closely. We talk about it and decide to wait until next week’s tele-health interview. If you are going to NSRC
Some of the sadness is probably part of the healing process. I am sure that some of your sadness is compounded by the constant pain you experience.
At times, in the middle of a bout of sadness, You express the wish to die. These are very hard words to hear. You have even asked to see your living will. I think that you say that you want to die out of sheer frustration and anger not really depression. I remember when I had knee surgery after Tara was born and the post surgical knee recovery lead to a bad back. All this plus a new baby and brand new parenting demands lead me to feelings of despair. There were moments that I though I could not continue to live like this. The constant pain ate at my morale. I can only imagine what it does to you.
I think your wish to die is really a wish to stop living this reality. The other day, I met some ladies as I entered the hospital. They asked for an update on you. I tell them we are waiting for the rehab doors to open. They suggested that I was a ‘strong lady’. I don’t think I’m strong, I’m just headstrong. I will not give up on you. Even if you try to give up on you … I won’t.
Motivating you into your chair is a bit of a trick. You like the idea of the chair because it is one step towards independence. But you don’t want to get into it. You feel trapped in it with pain at times and no one else there to help pass the time. Occasionally you have been positioned away from the buzzer, so you are unable to call of help. This experience has made a big impression on you and you are scared to go into the chair.
Today’s nurse, is sweet and caring. She cleverly said, ‘I can’t make you get in your chair but I think it would be good for you and I’d like to see you in your chair.” She said with a smile. You caved and consented to getting in the chair.
The hospital is quite dry. Your skin is feeling it. This is a perennial event for you but it is worse this year. This is aggravated by the food and a little drool that collects in the left corner of your mouth. So the LPN and I make an executive decision along with your help. We give you a clean shave. The beard is gone for now.
Yesterday, during a better moment, you talked about your strong will and determination. You recalled as a kid playing sports, if you got knocked about or felt cheated, you didn’t get angry or give up; you played harder and you played smarter.
This is the energy path that you have to tap into now. You must redirect all your negative energy towards the goal of recovery.
We talked about your defective filter. There are many advantages to having no filter. You actually communicate much better. I know what you are thinking, you hold nothing back but the disadvantage is that you can cross social barriers. The hospital staff seems quite prepared to deal with this. I knew that this is the result of the stroke and not really you, but as your wife, I feel a little uncomfortable for people on the receiving end.
I suspect that you need help to rebuild your filter. You need guidance ... Non judgmental guidance to know where to draw the line. Just as a young child must learn social boundries, you must re-learn them.
I see another purpose of the journal emerging. It is a sounding board for the pep talks that I want to give to you to help guide you on your path to healing. I can’t think up motivating talks on the fly – I have to think them out and fine-tune them so they will be the right talk for the situation.
The rest of the day is busy. Tara and I do her Christmas shopping. She had a plan of what to get and we were done within an hour! She enjoyed the excursion and I enjoyed her delight at making decisions about her present selection. In total she spent about $30.00 dollars that she had saved and she is very pleased with her efforts. Quinn and I did some shopping too. He was a little less focused on the task at hand, but still managed to accomplish a lot in a short time. We went to see my Dad. We decorated his room with homemade Christmas decorations that Fran and the children had made. Dad was having a bit of a rough moment, but it passed and he enjoyed eating some sweets. I worry that the children will draw some connections between your health issues and Dad’s. They have seen you both cry today. I try to downplay any similarities between you. They don’t need any more reasons for anxiety.