Wednesday, November 08, 2006

 

Areply to a caring question.

Miss, the post was for a friend, who's father is in the last stages of alzheimer's. My way of offering some advice when loosing someone so close. Your question deserves more time than a quick comment can offer, so here goes.

I've broken my back twice, the second time in two places, I have seven bad discs, two ruptured completely. I have the primary nerve for the left side parallel to the spinal cord pinched in four places. So I hurt a lot. Advanced osteoarthritis of the spine, so movement is painful. I'm lucky however. I can still walk, if with a cane, and some pain. So even after the surgeries, I'll not be 100%, this is long term, so the longer I stay mobile, the better.

That you ask for insight into your partners feelings about long term problems, tell's me many good things about you. I'm no expert, so whatever tiny help I can offer, I hope it helps.

What do I want, need to help me deal with this?

That's tough to answer. I'm a proud man, too proud, and after 31 years of doing my best to feed and care for other people, being off work for this,.. well, it shames me. I'm ashamed that I'm not as strong as I want to be, and to not candy coat it, afraid inside of being completely dependent on other people.

So if he's anything like me, babying him, just hurts his pride. Let him do what he thinks he can, unless it's going to hurt him. Go along on a doctors visit if he'll let you, make him feel that he matters enough for you to want to help in his treatment. Even if there's nothing required that you do, just going is a kind of reassurance that can go a long way. My wife, well if she has a hangnail, I go along on the visit, but seldom, does she go on my office visits. The evaluations and tests yes, but not routine visits. That usually depresses me a bit. I know she loves me.. but you feel very much alone, when sitting in a cold exam room, and unpleasant information is given to you.

Encouragement, expressions of support, small gestures like a light hug, a quick kiss. On more intimate terms,.. try not to hurt him, if he's got some form of pain. Couples can always try different things, till something that pleases both, but doesn't hurt him can be found. He'll probably not tell you if you're hurting him, so watch his eyes. I won't ruin it for my wife by saying, we have to stop.. but with my back, she often does hurt me. We're still finding our own way on this.

Our love is unusual in that being the man, I'm the expressive one, she's the one who keeps it inside too often.

Try and let him know, that his condition isn't something that'll drive you away. Try and show him as best you can, that you want him, and are willing to adjust with him together to find your way through this.

There is no roadmap, none.

Just keep in mind, for all our bravery, bravado, our shows of strength and pride, inside where you can't see is a small boy afraid of being abandoned.

Afraid that he's alone in the dark, in the rain and no one cares.

Men are far more complex than the shrinks will admit. We need more than anything else to know we have value in the eyes of those we love.

Clearly I'm not very good at this.. I wish I was better.

Valerie, all I can really say is, if you care about him, let him know as often as you can. Accept that he's going to have bad days, going to be miserable sometimes, possibly short tempered. It doesn't mean he's mad at you, or the world, but maybe at himself. He doesn't mean to hurt your or anyones feelings, it just means he hurts... he's often going to hurt. I find I apologize alot these days myself.

He's hurting, and I suspect, you are too. You seem like good people Miss, I hope you two find a way, and I hope this tiny peek into my mind, helps you into his.;

Mark.

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