When I went to a Caregiver counselor a few weeks ago, she gave me a book called, Daily Comforts for Caregivers by Pat Samples. I thanked the counselor, read a few of the entries, and then didn’t pick up the book until sometime later. Even though the entries are short, somehow I didn’t find time to read one everyday. I’m like that. Aside from my blog and writing on one of my WIPs, I don’t do much of anything EVERY day. That would be too disciplined.
But today, I picked up the book and read a couple of entries. There was one in particular which resonated with me. It talked about “Accidents” which often happen around the house. I have to admit, one of the most frustrating things for me to accept is when Ken has an “Accident.” Here’s what I’m talking about. The coffee carafe smashes on the kitchen floor because he doesn’t have the strength to pour the water into the coffee maker. He spilled a g;ass of milk trying to carry it from the kitchen to the living room because of his trembling hand. Or how about the time when he sat on his glasses because he forgot where he put them. And I haven’t even mentioned the numerous falls he takes because stubbornly believes he doesn’t need his walker “for that little distance.” In this case, I hold my breath, say a prayer, and yell, “Are you okay? Need some help?”
So many of Ken’s accidents end up costing money. The all involve having to clean up a mess, and worst of all, he could get hurt. I wish I could wrap him in bubble wrap to protect him from himself, but as we all know, there would be a law against doing so. A more rational approach would be to just take over, and do everything for him. But, I can’t do that. He already knows his previous capabilities have deteriorated He used to fix everything around the house, and now he can barely hold a screw driver still enough to tighten a screw. When accidents happen, he is humiliated his Multiple Sclerosis has brought negative attention to him — again.
As much as my frustration wants me to
yell scream at him, I’ve learned to take a deep breath and smile. You can’t be angry when you smile and me dumping my wrath on him wouldn’t accomplish anything good; after all, he feels terrible already.
I love this man. I can’t take away his dignity and his eagerness to do things. He needs to try. I NEED him to try because I need to know he hasn’t given up. Plus, he feels good when he accomplishes the small feats. “Normal” people wouldn’t consider walking down the hallway without holding on to the wall an accomplishment, but for Ken, doing so makes a red-letter day. It’s a big deal for both of us. Sometimes we celebrate with a beer!
Like every other change that comes along, we find ways to cope. With accidents, I laugh and say, “So, gravity got you again, huh?” Then he laughs and says, “It’s the law, you know.” Our laughter takes away the immediate frustration we both feel. I clean up the mess. The sun comes up tomorrow and we both carry on as best as we can.