Thursday, May 28, 2009

Weekend wife

I can't keep up with the stuff that needs doing and have recently "discovered" (became aware, etc.) that I'm in this alone. At least, that's what it feels like.

I had a call from home care services thanks to my doctor. It's not something I asked for since I have a very very hard time asking for help. Why should I ask others when I have a solid able-bodied wife here under the same roof. I was raised in your very typically sexist family that "the man of the house" should take care of everything - even if said person isn't a man. OK, great, so I get to count on my partner that wears the pants in the house. (I'm the skirt.)

I don't feel right in writing about her process - because frankly I have no idea what's going on with her. She's always been the "strong silent type" and I've always had to pull feelings, reactions, thoughts, etc, out of her. Now I'm too tired to do it - which usually means if the skirt in the house isn't "nagging" then there's no communication.

I have no idea where she's at. I don't bother asking because she doesn't know where she's at. Denial is one of her favourite tools. I don't know if she's overwhelmed that she's now the only one that can do anything physical (mop the floor, do the laundry: requiring going up and down the stairs; weeding the garden, shoveling the snow, cutting the grass, raking the lawn, washing the tub, etc. etc. etc.)

I wish I could report that we're experiencing a love-story. That illness and mortality is bringing us closer like you read in "Grace and Grit", or "the Cancer Journals" or any other love story around illness and death.

This experience is not.

This is dividing us further apart.
My pride gets in the way of asking for help because I feel stupid that I should go beyond the borders of the household marriage and ask outsiders to do things that the spouse "is supposed" to do. That and I know that everyone else is already swamped with the upkeep of their lives. When I consider asking my family I get resentful and angry again. Resentful that my healthy able-bodied siblings have my mother come over, like clock-work to shovel their driveways, mow their lawns. Yes, they are able-bodied, healthy and have no reason to not be doing it themselves, except to say that they think it's owed to them. They rent from my parents and believe that it's part of the landlord-services. If only I didn't have to wait for someone to do my lawn: if only I could do it without having the entire day lost to recuperate. I also keep reminding my mother that she's no spring chicken, that she herself had a fall last year and that they are healthy, young and that she's allowed boundaries. How on earth can I hope that the siblings would actually offer to help if they don't even take care of their own yards? Having a family meeting earlier this winter just didn't mean a thing afterall. Actually, I shouldn't be too critical: my brother did make an effort to come and help clear the driveway on occaision. However...

This pisses me off in more ways than I can write!

In today's assessment the home-care provider (OT, whatever) basically summed up the situation, my answers and then her final answer to me was "well, since your partner is not supportive...".

Wait just one minute there. I never said that! She hasn't abandoned me. She's right here! I don't understand how she could say that. She explained and pointed out to me that I'm the one that gets the cat litter, I'm the one that weeds the front yard, mop the floors, I'm the one that does the meal planning, cooking, and then eating dinner alone, go to sleep alone, wake up alone. Yeah, that's life with someone who works nights - and is gone for over 12 hours a night and sleeps days/evenings.

I have a weekend marriage, but my illness is not.

I don't even want to know what this arrangement is going to look like the more ill I become. What keeps hope alive is that maybe I'll be funded for that $2,500/mth (USD) drug that will give me some of my energy back to be able to be OK with doing this physically.

Relationships are messy at the best of times, throw in terminal-illness and you've got a wicked cocktail - it can be explosive and/or beautiful but in the end, someone always dies.