Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monday April 5 – Pep Talks vs the Cigs

You want cigarettes. It is becoming an ongoing conversation. I can’t distract you from it. You want me to enable you to get cigarettes but I can’t. I could not, morally, get you cigarettes anymore then I could put one in Tara or Quinn’s mouth and light it up.
So I said "No, but you can get someone else to do that for you." That's when you thought of the only friend you have who is a bit of a rebel. You called Chris G. He came to your rescue. He got you the two packs you asked for “A mild flavour cigarette because I couldn’t smoke my usual brand now after seven months and a pack of my usual stronger brand.”

I was a little miffed at Chris G for caving to your whims, but then I thought about it.
I think - in hindsight - that having the cigs in your hands empowers you to make the decision not to smoke. I have forgotten that you never actually intended to quit smoking seven months ago - that decision was forced on you. For success - you have to want to quit. For most people to quit, they choose to quit at a non-stressful time in their life. You are trying to quit at the most stressed time of your life. It is a very different battle.

The most important thing for me, at this time, is … if you smoke, there will be no secrets. You promised me you would tell me and I promised you that I would still love you and continue to give you support for quitting.

Chris G empowered you to take charge of something that you can control - the choice not to smoke. One day at a time you say.

After a good night’s rest things seem better. It’s a beautiful day and we are all tired of being indoors in the hospital setting. On Friday, I set up and filled up the hot tub. The hot tub is an ‘appliance’ that we have enjoyed over the years as a family. We bought with my tax refund the year after I was off for a few months recovering from knee surgery. It was sort of my 40th birthday present. We thought that we are or will be entering the back half of our lives and a little physical comfort from time to time is just what we needed.

You enjoyed it the most. After long runs, it would allow your body to loosen and relax. Once the children were pee and poop proof, they started to enjoy the hot tub fun. We would have contests in the tub. Games like: breath holding under water and running around the house in only a bathing suit on a winter’s day and plunging into the tub at the end.

We have had many conversations in the tub. Things like plans for the future and the special gifts that the children show us.

The hot tub is a family bonding appliance. Last fall, I drained it and stored it away for the first time in eight years. I had thought that we might sell it because at the time, I couldn’t imagine how we would get back those experiences. I was wrong.

Getting into the hot tub is a carefully planned event. You are able to walk out to the tub and sit on the edge. As you sit, I lift your left leg up and over the edge while you support yourself steady with the cane in your right hand. Then once you have straddled the edge, you swing your other leg over the edge. And slip into the water.

You must have someone to your left to support you incase you list to your left and be forced to blow bubbles as your head submerges. For the most part you are at ease in the tub. We discover that you have a little sensation to the left of your spine but you can’t feel anything in your left hand or foot. In all, the tub was a good experience. I think it has some therapeutic value for you.

Pep talks. We all take turns to give you pep talks. Tara, Quinn and I, as well as, all your friends. We are getting good at the pep talks. Just as you needed pain medication in the early days and the doctors ordered drugs on an as needed basis, you need emotional pain relief now.

The pep talks are the antidote to your dark thoughts. You need this positive attitude showered on you on a regular basis for treatment and prevention of the darkness. Talking out your emotional pain helps you but it is exhausting to us. I wear down trying to keep you up emotionally. I think that this is what made yesterday so tough.

Today, Tara, Quinn, Chris G, Harold and I tag-team each other with the pep talks. As a result, life is easier and the benefits are wonderful. “ I want to go home and be the best father and husband for my family that I can be.” You say as we drive back to Halifax. “I going to try to work at it. I know it will be hard. I have a lot to live up to. The necklace I gave you represents my promise to work hard at it.”

After dropping you off at the rehab, I realize that there will only be two more trips to the rehab before you are home. Then I realize that we aren’t even at the half-way point yet of your marathon. I feel tired at the thought that we are no where’s near the finish line … I’m beginning to doubt that there is a finish line. This thought drains my energy.

Last night, Tara was upset. She is angry. She has every right to be angry. She even identified her anger in our conversation. When I told her about the stages of grief and that anger was one of them and it was normal to have it, she seemed a little relieved. I recognize that her anger will only get worse if we ignore it as she enters her teen years. Angry teens do stupid things that can have big repercussions. I don’t want that to be in Tara’s life story.

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