The Alpha Blonde

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This article was written on 14 Jun 2014, and is filled under family, health, relationships, self image.

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The “S” Word

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I’m going to preface this by saying I’m going to be getting pretty selfish by the time I reach the end of whatever I’m writing right now.

Lots of scary things have happened in the last three days.

I’m now very familiar with the layout of the hospital.

The nurses and doctors in neurology all know me pretty well because I spend a good 20-30 minutes at the nurse’s station asking questions before and after I visit my husband.

I’ve been reading and reading and reading about the type of stroke he had…

Yes. I said “Stroke”.

It’s one of those words that take a while for your mouth to get the feel of pronouncing. Your brain rejects it the first several times you hear or think it. It’s like when you say a word too many times and it sounds made up.

I’ve had three days to mull it around and the only way I can shove the word out is if I’m doing it in a completely detached information giving sort of way. “Chuck has had a series of strokes that affected him more significantly in the left cerebellum and a smaller one in his right.” “This is a rare form of stroke that only appears to affect 2% of stroke patients and of those, a significant portion are of younger age.” Not so much, “My husband has had a s-s-s-.”

The pain is still horrible. Because of a dissected artery (vertebral) his headaches will continue until it mends itself. Just imagining the work his body is having to do to compensate for that pain is overwhelming, and I’m not the one in the hospital bed.

I’m emotionally and physically taxed beyond anything I’ve ever experienced as a by-stander.

One thing I’ve learned as the point-person for someone who has just had a medical emergency is that it is exhausting and you can’t really feel free to vent about it because at least you’re not the one with the IV hooked up. My role isn’t to seek validation for my exhaustion, it’s to soothe his. I don’t dare complain to him about the leg cramps I have from running around and then sitting for hours on end because I’m physically capable of doing both of those things. He doesn’t need to know, it won’t help his healing process to shove my inconveniences in front of him. It’s the first time our relationship hasn’t been 100% reciprocal- in this set of circumstances, how could it be?

But it has been hard. Seeing my love in pain is hard, knowing the pain is making him less than warm (or even lukewarm) to me when I walk in is harder. Not having him home is difficult, but not having normal exchanges, the fond looks back and forth, the ass grabbing and tail chasing around the house that usually drives me bonkers is the hardest hit of all. Knowing I can’t expect those things from him right now but having to keep up my end of them because that’s what you do when your partner is down and out is draining. My role will change from point-person information source to family and friends, and advocate and gofer when the call button doesn’t get the nurses quickly enough into the role of caregiver in a few days when he comes home. Luckily he’s in good enough shape to get up and get around, but he’ll still require a lot of attention. I’ll be on high alert all the time. I’m bracing myself for the way that’s going to feel at first and hoping I’ll get my old Chuck back little by little as he heals.

This feels so adult. These are the things parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents deal with. There isn’t anyone to hand you a manual on what to expect in the coming days, weeks or months as the caregiver and spouse. I feel lost and overwhelmed.

In order to avoid utter and complete burnout I’m going to take things a little slower today. I’m going to do something really nice for myself. I normally would look to my husband for validation of a job well done or a battle well fought but that’s off the menu right now. He’s fighting the battles, I’m reporting them. In order to better care for my husband’s recovery from his, his,

his stroke,

I need to be stronger than I have been.

Hopefully, some prenatal yoga, lots of ujjayi breathing and a Lush bath bomb should help me to be in a better state for helping him recover.

3 Comments

  1. candface
    June 14, 2014

    Life is always changing isn’t it? Learning to handle the role you’re in is so intense, for all of the reasons you listed. Being a parent, pregnant, handling the GD, taking care of your personal cheerleader and not getting the cheering you love so much does tax you quickly! It is definitely important to do nice little things for yourself even if you don’t feel like actually doing them… Letting it go until you explode can put you down for the count… Fill your own little love bucket as you can, you need it and deserve it!

    ** love!! **

    Canned Asai

  2. Ariane K
    June 17, 2014

    Hey, I’m a penpal/zine buddy of Aurora’s and just started reading your blog recently… Just wanted to send some supportive vibes for whatever they’re worth during a horribly scary and difficult time. <3

  3. Delaine Zody
    June 26, 2014

    I just found your blog through an instagram post, all very round-about as I guess these things can be. I’m always on the lookout for local bloggers and when I clicked over to your site, I sure didn’t expect to start with such heartbreaking news. I am sorry for the sorrow, and hoping that your husband is now recuperating and can be back to his ‘normal’ self soon, whatever that may be. Perhaps it will be a new normal.

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