So can we talk about long term injury of a loved one?? Because I feel like we don’t talk about it enough.
My husband is a healthy and (mostly) fit serving soldier. He’s in his 30s so naturally the wear and tear of his job has taken effect in places. We use to walk the dog together everyday, he went cycling and we had quite active life styles. Until recently. 7 months ago he hurt his back; due to quite frankly inadequate health care it’s not gotten better. And now he’s waiting for surgery.
“Prior to hurting his back”
Sickness or injury in someone you love is never easy. Seeing the person you love most in the world hurting is always going to be hard but these 7 months have hit me harder than I ever thought it would.
My grandparents raised us, for most of my life my grandmother has been in pain, chronic and life limiting, it isn’t until now that I have a glimpse into the impact that kind of pain had and continues to have on both of them.
7 months doesn’t sound like a long time. But 7 months feels like forever.
I can’t remember the last time I didn’t worry. I leave for work and worry if he got any sleep, I worry he’s doing to much in the day and I worry he’s in pain or making it worse when I get home. I worry when he goes to the doctors or physio. I worry every time he winces in pain or the limp gets worse. I worry he is miserable from the pain. I think I’m 98% made up of worry now. Worrying about someone you love is awful. But it isn’t something you can stop yourself from doing! That I’m afraid is a side effect of love.
Loosing a member of the team;
Karl and I are a team. We do pretty much everything together. We do our best to support each other and work together. The first time I had to take our dog on a group walk to the beach on my own… I was in such a panic; karl’s my back up and my support . I was so worried about letting him off the lead and him misbehaving in karl’s absence (lucky I managed). Going to training on my own without his help if I needed it was so daunting. Suddenly not having my right hand man, not having my back up, has been tough. Incredibly tough. At times I’ve felt like a little boat struggling against big waves. karl’s been the best; as he always is, finding different ways to support me. But it’s still though being a one man team especially when it comes to taking care of the dog, dog training and sorting the house with a full time job and all the other trouble this year has brought. I feel like I have an endless list of things to do and I don’t ever completely my to do list. Karl of course does his best to help me and always does too much! (Which makes his back worse and fills me with endless guilt, I’ll touch on guilt in a minute it’s a major theme of the last 7 months). He’s going to have to take even more of a step back once he has had his surgery and I’m not going to lie it’s going to be tough!
Changing our lives;
When planning anything I suddenly have to think about whether Karl will be able to come. Whether he would manage the drive or whether it’s practical to go. We’ve suddenly stopped eating out. No more day trips of walks together. I realise how much I have taken his ability to take the dog out when I’m in a rush for granted. I definitely took our ability to do whatever we wanted for granted. Post surgery I definitely won’t take it for granted again!
The first few months all the worry and energy was focused on Karl. But eventually I started to worry about myself. I was exhausted and stressed. Then I just felt guilty and I still feel guilty. For feeling tiered and selfish; for wanting a break with my husband, for wanting to walk the dog with him, for wanting to be back to normal, for snapping at him in frustration, for asking to much of him, for letting him drive me work when I’m late (which causes him pain). I’ve felt guilty and fed up for most of the time. Luckily I have the most amazing and understanding husband in the world.
The fruitless doctors appointments, the failed A&E, medication trials that take no effect. 7 months has killed us both it must be so hard for those who have been in this situation for even longer; because 7 months has broken me. Waiting months for the right referrals. Being told 6 weeks of agony is not long enough to be prescribed effective treatment. At 10 weeks of agony to be told “well these things do take 6 weeks to recover”. I can’t imagine how disappointed and let down Karl feels but I know it broke my soul a little but. “Your not damaged enough for help” is all I heard. I don’t want the person I love most in the world to be damaged more or to go through another second of pain but that has been the only way of getting help. They might as well just say “Come back when you are falling apart”. The problem is that kind of approach makes people fall apart on the inside; that prolonged pain and restriction of their lifestyle . That little bit of loss of self; in fact for sometime Karl wasn’t him self. It’s only been since his referral to a private hospital that he seems to have got the spring in his step back (okay not literally but his spirit seems lifted). He seems much more himself and we are able to be us a little more often.
Frustration because When he feels better and manages to make it out to a mess meeting or poker the next day he is unable to move; I feel I get him when he is broken. Frustration when he looks a bit better but it’s only because he is pretending. Frustration mostly because I just want to make him better.
Battling each other;
I’m telling him off all the time. Telling him to relax. To sit down. To not do this, to not do that. To go to bed. To lay down. To take some pain killers. And telling him off for not doing anything. He’s battling me because he wants to do the washing up, he wants to help (he also wants to go to poker night).
Suddenly we are both on our own, we have lost our evening walk together to talk about our days to discuss life the universe and everything in between. Suddenly I’m walking alone with the pup. Suddenly most of what we do together we are doing separately. Nothings easy about that. We have had 2 date nights in 6 months! It’s hard but I’m glad we haven’t lost each other in the madness. Although we definitely do see a hell of a lot less of each other these day. Because life will wait for no man ….even if he has a bad back.
I’m lucky to have an amazing husband. Who will hopefully be on the mend soon. Who is the worst patient so definitely isn’t going to enjoying being bed bound after surgery. He’s probably going to be annoying and try to do too much too soon but I am determined to make him take it easy!