When 2 become 1.
I bet you thought this was going to be a story about a wedding day or some romantic notion about a couple? A joining of two hearts, a merging of similar passions. Not so much.
You need to be there for your person.
This story is about being there for your person. That one individual that you connect with for strength, happiness, a hug, or just to share a thought. That would be your person. Grey’s Anatomy coined the phrase during a conversation in a bar between Christina Yang and Meredith Grey. The actresses clearly demonstrated the relationship between them evolving into something much stronger and deeper than friends….being someone’s person.
Now let’s talk about your spouse as your person. Chip is 100% my person and is recovering from rotator cuff surgery. It was extensive and painful. Anyone who has had this surgery can attest to this. The patient is immobilized for an extensive period of time and highly restricted in these first few weeks, and to a degree for months to come. No position is comfortable and your independence has been compromised.
Ladies, you know we all talk about our husbands and what big babies they can be. Chip is not a big Italian baby. That’s because he isn’t 100% Italian and in this case, that works to my advantage. He is intensely independent and that makes this situation much worse. His independence is hampered because he needs someone to do just about everything.
Hmm, so how do you think that’s working out?
When your person is ill or in this case has had surgery, they need you and with that is the realization on their part that they must be dependent. That is hard pill to swallow. So how do you make it palatable? You make it up as you go along understanding this situational need and all that accompanies it. I found the best way was for us to become one in as natural a way as possible. For Chip, simplest tasks such as eating, showering, and dressing now required both of us. We created a routine and we get it done. No dwelling or discussing and we try to laugh whenever you can.
A loss of independence challenging for both the patient and the caregiver. Each person struggles with the reality of the situation and quite honestly, the largest drain is on patience. So, in full disclosure, I am no saint:
- I have experienced at least 3 homicidal thoughts.
- We have not completely lost it with each other, but I do get revenge when he’s the passenger in his sporty little sedan and perhaps I drive a little too fast around the turns.
- Ok and maybe I take pleasure in that glass of Merlot a little too intensely when he couldn’t drink because of the pain medication.
I see more clearly, the frailty of life, our life as a couple. I have a better empathy for my friends who have taken care of an ill spouse, and in some cases dealing with the loss of that spouse…their person. I am certain they would give anything to drive them to work one more time, or zip up their coat.
The moral of this story is to try and remember one thing. You’re not doing everything for that person. You’re just doing it together.