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Monday, August 12, 2013

I Feel Helpless...

I knew coming out to help my dad recover from neurosurgery was going to go one of two ways:
  1. He would come out successfully, we would go home and recover.
  2. He would not make it and I'd be arranging for a cremation before leaving Ohio.
Thankfully, we went with option number 1.  He came out of surgery successfully and he is now at home, recovering.

But what they don't tell you, or in this case--didn't tell me--was that this would be the hardest 10 days of my life (to date).  I know, I know.  God doesn't give us anything we can't handle.  But these few days have been the biggest test of my faith that I could have ever imagined.

Dad, less than 24 hours out of surgery.  He asked me if I had a compact.  I didn't.  
So I did the next best thing....took a photo with the iPad.

First is the issue with the fact that my dad feels terrible.  I mean, a headache is expected (they cut open his skull for crying out loud!).  But he aches all over.  And his over-the-counter medications need to be limited.  The after care instructions stated "no advil or aspirin for 2 weeks".  My dad lives on Advil for his PAD (Peripheral Artery Disease).  Add to this that he's not eating because of an upset stomach (I'm lucky to get him to eat a piece of toast), nor is he doing a good job of pushing fluids (again, the icky stomach thing).  I was at the end of my rope, thinking I missed something in the after-care instructions.  I called the Neurosurgeon's answering service and he was kind enough to call me back.  After sharing dad's recovery so far, he approved the use of advil for my father.  The downside, though is that it still doesn't help that I can't do anything to make him feel better.  Other than stand over him saying "You have to take this, dad".  

I feel sort of like Harry Potter in the movie The Half Blood Prince when he and Dumbledore go into the cave and Harry has to force Dumbledore to drink the potion.  Dumbledore begs him to stop, and Harry says, "You have to keep drinking, professor...."

I feel helpless.
I feel as though I'm not doing enough for my dad, when really, I know I'm doing all I can.

Crackers.  Gatorade.  Toast.  Pain meds. Wash, rinse, repeat.

The worst part is that this is a vicious cycle.  He can't get his pain managed, and as a result, feels horrible.  Because he feels horrible, he can't rest.  Because he can't rest, he can't get better.  

I also feel helpless because of events going on at home.
Next Monday we close on our house.  I am so excited!!
The Big Guy, however?  He's happy, but sad all at the same time.

The farm we live on has been in the Big Guy's family for over 120 years.  His parents, who own it, sold it to the family down the road.  They closed on it August 1st.  On Wednesday his folks moved out of their house (which is also on the farm--they live in one house, we live in the other) and into their new home at the lake.  The movers came when the Big Guy was at work.  When he came home he said that the farm felt empty.

On Sunday, while in the midst of the "eat something, drink something, take this pain pill" cycle, I get a call from him and he's quite emotional.  He said, "I feel abandoned."  

Talk about taking my already emotional state and twisting it into a knot.

I can't even imagine that feeling.
The feeling of being abandoned.

When I think of being abandoned I think of just that:  deserted.  Not loved.  Not wanted.  Our dog and her littermates were abandoned on the side of the road 2 years ago.  Children are abandoned by parents who don't love them.  Homes are abandoned by people who can't afford them.

But to feel deserted?
Whoa.  That's tough.

With his parents moving off the farm, me being in Ohio, and the dog being shipped off to puppy camp due to his 12-hour-a-day work schedule next week, I can understand how he would feel this way. He admitted that it was just the overwhelming feeling of the farm no longer being in the family along with our big step to buy a house.  It's just a lot to take on.  He felt bad for calling me, but I told him, "I'm your wife...I should be the first person you call."

But to get this call while I'm gone--and knowing that there is absolutely NOTHING that I can do?

I'm crushed.
(or as my British friends say, "I'm gutted")

So, I've got a father who is hurting physically, can't keep anything down and there is nothing I can do but encourage him to take his meds, encourage him to drink fluids and threaten him with a trip to the ER (trust me....I tried getting him to the ER.  He won't budge. I walked away in defeat saying, "I'm at the end of my rope.  I can't help you.").  And I've got a husband who is hurting emotionally and there is nothing I can do but tell him he's loved and talk about the joy of letting Maggie run free in the back yard and not having to plow a 1/2 mile driveway in the winter.

And I can't let either of them know that seeing them hurting drains me.

To be honest?
I so badly want to scream at both of them.

I want to smack my dad upside his recently-cut-into-head and say, "Enough of this crap!!  You either eat and drink and take these meds like you should, or I'm calling 9-1-1 for the ambulance to take you to the Sidney hospital (which, in all opinions, is a shitty hospital)!  Manage your pain, be honest with me how you're feeling, or else I'm packing up my stuff, going to Aunt Kathy's and leaving you here on your own."

I also want to call my husband and say, "Enough!  You knew the farm was going to be sold, you knew this was coming!  I refuse to let your depressed state get in the way of my joy and excitement of moving to a new house!  Our house!  Our forever house!  Get it together, because when the movers come the end of August, that's where I'll be....the new house!"

But I won't.

Because deep down inside, I know that this is just temporary--and a knee jerk reaction to the fact that I am not able to control anything.  I'm used to being in control.  But this time?  I'm not. 

For both of them, I'm all they have right now.


Rebecca Jo said...

Oh friend.. I can't imagine how it feels with all that stress on your shoulders...

Doesn't it seem its always the women that have to hold it all together?

You're better then me - I'd be yelling at my husband with worse things then what you thought of...You need to be taken care of as well...

The one thing I always try to think & cling to - these things will pass... your dad will heal... the pain will ease.. he will get better...
your husband will move & adjust... he will love his new home making new memories...

its just letting that time pass... hang in there! :(

(Punch something if you need to.. just make sure its soft - you can't do all you're doing with one hand) :)

Kelley with Amy's Angels said...

Thank you, RJ. Appreciate you!!