This past week the tables were turned, and I became the physically challenged one in need of constant assistance: I had thrown my back out and no matter what I tried to do, I was in excruciating pain. I went from constant caregiver, to needing constant care myself! I was given the opportunity to see and experience life from the other point of view…not so fun, I have to admit. I am normally an on-the-go lady, rarely stopping to sit still, so not being capable of even engaging in the smallest of tasks that I am used to and quite frankly, always have taken for granted, left me at times embarrassed, frustrated, exhausted, and more importantly- with a new-found awareness and appreciation of what my husband must go through nearly everyday of his life.
I am thankful he had some “good days” during my time of incapacitation. He was the one who waited on me for a switch! Getting up from a sitting position was a crushingly painful ordeal, so I was brought my drinks, lunch, snacks (only when he was getting some for himself-I wasn’t a total pain in the neck!). While I admit it was nice to be waited on at first, honestly this got old pretty quickly when all I simply wanted to do was to stand and walk to the counter unaided-something he often needs assistance with as well. He had to pull me up to a standing position, and see if I could indeed walk unescorted. While he is never completely able to walk without a cane or my arm, he quipped that we were “the lame leading the lame.” Indeed, we were quite a sight. Going to the bathroom…let’s not even go down that road!!
All of this was indeed quite frustrating for me, especially when I had committed to watching my energetic, non-stop, fearless ten month old grandson. We quickly realized with both of our glaring limitations, this was going to be nearly impossible. So I was faced with a harsh choice that I tell him we need to make sometimes…ask a friend to help. This is a tough thing for a man to accept, and when it is me asking for help with him, well it is not such a big deal to me. I assure him it is okay, and he always dissents, but I win out each time because ultimately, it is me that is in need of assistance for him. Male friends drive him to coffee with the guys on some Thursdays. I have no problem with this. This was an obstacle he had to deal with and overcome, seeing as he no longer drives. He absolutely loathes having to ask for help from others. Now the shoe was on the other foot, and he was telling me he could not (and I know this) offer much relief concerning the care of this incredibly active baby, and since I could not pick my 22 pound grandson up, or chase him around, I needed to accept help for my own impediments. Wow. Turnabout is fair play, but boy is this a load of garbage to deal with.
So twice this week I had committed to taking care of my adorably “busy” young grandson, and twice I had to suck it up and call others for help. Accepting that I could not do what I love to do most in life, playing with my grandson and caring for his every little need, was a total blow to my female nurturing ego. As a loving grandmother, I pride myself on the natural return to those basic maternal instincts as when I was raising his father. They all flood back automatically-and I cherish these times when I am building up the bond between my grandson(s) and myself. But I was smacked upside the head with the stark and bitter reality that I (we) could not do this alone. Yes, I bit the almighty nasty tasting bullet and sought some much-needed outside support, but not before contemplating how dismal I felt and how grieved it must make my beloved husband feel each time we make that similar call for him. This week I took a small step forward in understanding what he goes through at times, and for that I am grateful. I do not claim to be able to alleviate this stressor, but at least I can better understand it and sympathize.
The days ahead will be met with more pressing needs as we deal with the burdensome demands of the unyielding effects Lewy Body on my husband.Yes, I am sure there will be more times when we can not deal with everything life throws at us alone. I am thankful for trusted friends and family who are always there for us. To my ever loyal, caring friend Leslie, and my sweet, reliable teenaged friend Rachel, a HUGE thank you for answering my desperate pleas of need this week!
Blessings to you all!