Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thursday April 1 – Relationships and Feelings

Today, on my way to work, I was thinking about relationships. Normal relationships verses ‘abnormal’ relationships. A normal relationship is a two-way exchange of information and sharing feelings and ideas.

You are surrounded by abnormal relationships while you are at the NSRC. I suppose that the medical community must try to distance themselves from the patient. A necessary skill to avoid compassion fatigue. However, I do wonder how helpful this one-way relationship is to the patient. This illustrates to me very vividly why it is so important to have people around a patient who belong in the patient’s life in a ‘normal’ capacity. A healing energy comes from healthy relationships.

This morning Tara was very helpful. She got up early and fed the cats and put Annie out to pee. She then took Quinn’s order of breakfast. It all seemed too good to be true. Then I realized what she was up to. It’s April fool’s day! As I get my breakfast, I see her slip some cat food into Quinn’s peanut butter sandwich.

Quinn suspects right away that something is up. He eyes the sandwich with suspicion then he takes a bite. He smiles and chews and shallows and refuses to give Tara the satisfaction of being a pranker. His resolve to outsmart Tara fades before he can take to second bite. He can’t talk or even swallow again. He runs to his room very upset. I follow him and rally his spirits with the advice that revenge is sweet and best served cold. Once I explain what this means, he smiles at the thought.

Marsha brought you home from the NSRC after her work today. You arrive just in time to come with me to pick up the children and take them to piano lessons. Tara and Quinn are excited to show off their pianist skills.

In the evening, your tell me about your new OT. You really like her but you are worried that you are going to alienate her. You have been asking her some probing questions and feel that you hit a nerve with her. You can’t seem to accept that she wants to keep your relationship professional. “Possibly” I point out “She doesn’t want to burden you with her problems.”

You feel that you “must have been saved for some reason.” You are trying to figure out why. “Maybe I am supposed to help her in some way?” I suggest that tomorrow, you could visit Donald. Maybe you were supposed to help him or any number of people who know or will meet in the future. Who knows their destiny. You just have to have faith that your life has a reason.

“I should have died … I was robbed of death.” These are your bedtime thoughts. They are hard thought to hear. I know that to heal, you must verbalize these notions but that doesn’t make any easier to listen to them. Especially since I feel responsible for you having the surgery that saved your life.

When I said yes to the surgery, I didn’t picture life quite like this. I didn’t know what the picture would look like. When I’m close to you physically and emotionally, I get swept up in your depression and it is hard to bare. I feel horrid. Then I try to imagine how you feel. It’s too much to bear.

My only thread to sanity is to escape from your words and the feelings they evoke. When I do this try to escape, I feel worse. I created this hell for you why should I be able to escape it when you can’t.

I have to find a better way to cope when you are home fulltime.

1 comment:

  1. Gwen,
    I think I've told you that I had to make a similar decision when my mom suffered a second aneurysm after her initial surgery. My Dad and other family were unreachable by phone, and it came down to me to decide "second surgery, or not." It's a very, very hard place to be. Like you, I chose to try. Unlike Chris, my mom did not live. Some time, if it's helpful, I could share with Chris what the impact of her NOT living has been - on her husband, on her three children, and on her five grandchildren (and friends, co-workers, etc.) The sense of loss for the relationships she would have had with my children is still overwhelming.

    It makes sense for Chris to grieve his losses. But he does still have jobs to do, roles to play, and things to learn. He still has time left to be with his children, interact with his loved ones, influence friends in a positive way, show compassion, share humour... All of those people in his life web feel deeply glad he lived. And he will too, I believe.

    Dealing with those big, overwhelming feelings is tough, Gwen. It's almost easier to deal with your own feelings than it is to feel your partner's feelings. Don't drown! You're on the right track...