Monday, October 1, 2012
My wife is finally home. It has been a year since her first hospitalization. The last twelve months have been, to say the least, a huge challenge for everyone in our family.
I am so proud of how hard she has worked to get to this point. There is still a long way to go – right now she is getting daily visits from nurses, and a once a week house call from a doctor. (They still do that! It’s like Little House on the Prairie – except we don’t have to pay him with apples or a chicken). Our goal is to keep her out of the hospital.
My daily struggle is maintaining a healthy balance: between stabilizing enough to be able to return to work, and supporting the woman I love in her recovery. Both of us need to get healthy for ourselves, our family and our relationship. But there is no doubt that she has suffered more and needs much more support than I do.
What I’ve been learning to do, no matter how guilty it makes me feel, is to rely on others for help. When she is having a hard time and I am low on resources, I will get her to phone a member of her care team. I have to admit to myself that I can’t do everything for her, or for our family. That’s why there are professionals, and that’s what friends and extended family are for, too.
One of the reasons my first marriage broke up was that my partner didn’t understand my illness, and the strain of living with a sick person became too much. She expected emotional resources that I couldn’t give, and in return couldn’t give me the support that I needed to be well.
Some people have said that I must be a patient man to live with a person as ill as my wife.
I say that she is the patient one, slowly and with great effort moving herself towards recovery.
No matter how difficult things get with my wife’s illness, it is so much better having her home than in hospital. She lights up the house and everyone is happier - even the cat.
I am working on my balance so that I can continue to get well, and provide the resources my wife needs. I want to support her in the way that I wish I had been supported when I was so sick.
She deserves nothing less.