Posts Tagged ‘recovery’

Health Issues – Recovery

July 21, 2008

“Who Needs Soap Operas When You Have Real Life” continues – –

While still working towards the leukemia remission, the wife was also recovering from the toxoplasmosis talked about in the last post, which gave her stroke-like symptoms. She worked on doing better at the mundane tasks of daily life, but her real goal was to be able to drive again [blood runs cold here still]. Let me say that again… with problems with memory and controlling her right arm, hand, and leg, she wanted to drive again…

She convinced herself that all she needed to do was get a new pair of glasses to fix her vision and she would be cleared to drive. Not true, unfortunately. The challenge was getting basic skills relearned.

An example of the memory issues–while away on a business trip one time, I got a call from the Girl Child. “Mom drove today.” Undisguised panic and anger ensued from the GnuKid. Seemed The Wife ‘remembered’ that her oncologist (no, not her neurologist) had said she was good to drive. GnuKid called the oncologist who categorically denied giving any such approval. Rather, he confirmed that was the neurologists call. Once calm and home, I had to ask three times before The Wife would agree not to drive again before getting the neurologists okay.

Neurologist demanded therapy and training for that approval, not to mention the need to equip the family van with hand controls. Getting The Wife to practice her therapy was challenging to say the least. Girl Child was particularly Mom-like in getting her own mother to “do her chores”. There was improvement… slowly and not without understandable trauma. Some of the trauma was in the form of emotional outbursts at not being able to do things as easily as before. Other trauma was associated with relearning other daily tasks, for example, knife-sliced fingers or burned hands as she relearned her way around the kitchen.

While I thought I’d, thankfully, seen the last of the high school parking lot where Boy Child and Daughter Person did hour upon hour of driving practice on the way to their licenses, I found myself out there again with the Spousal Unit. Every practice found me gritting my teeth.

Finally, the neurologist approved her to attempt the driving test. After our last session of practice in the parking lot, I was convinced she wouldn’t be able to pass the test, but still deathly afraid she would. Off to the state license test facility. She left with the examiner and came back 15 minutes later in tears… I felt bad for her, but was secretly glad she wouldn’t be on the road. Imagine my shock and surprise, then, when I found the tears were of joy for passing her test. And more shock when she told me she’d actually flunked, but the examiner took pity and let her retry parts of the test.

But, on the positive side, this also meant she was returning to self sufficiency. Still a ways to go, she was nonetheless making progress. She could drive, she could shop, she could cook… basics for living.

Now, I’ve heard that some couples find that under the stress of a shared challenge they regain lost love and can renew their relationships. I actually was looking for that… and never found it. I felt like, and remain to this day, a caretaker of a sick person who happens to live with me.

Maybe not so obviously, but this also added a worry to my wanting to leave the relationship. Here I am, contemplating leaving a partially disabled woman. Not severely handicapped, but still… can I live with that (knowing full well she’ll be taken care of financially, if not emotionally).

It has been almost 14 years since the audible pop… almost 9 years from my finally deciding to go… a bit shy of 9 years since her leukemia diagnosis, 7 years since the toxoplasmosis; Continuing to deal with short term memory issues, stubbornness, and other recovery issues. All the while still struggling with my own demons of worry – about the kids, about what family and friends will think, about taking a chance again to be happy…

…but it is time…