Adam came home last night from work with what he said was a small gift for, not unusual in any was as often he comes home with some cheese I love or something or other that he knows I enjoy to eat, in the past few years since I have been unable to just pick up something for myself, he has taken over the impulse buying for me. Last night I knew from the tone of his voice that he had once more found something he had brought home in expectation of giving me a small treat, so I headed for the kitchen to see what he had bought. I always do this with a slight hesitation as there is one huge problem, one summed up beautifully by what he bought yesterday, a small tub of ‘Strawberry creamy yoghurt’. Despite having lived together now for more than 14 years he has unfortunately a really bad memory of what I like and don’t like, yesterday was a double whamy, I don’t like either Strawberries or creamy yoghurt. I did at first when these small gifts arrived to accept them graciously, but I realised there was a problem there as he then bought more of it, in the miss guided belief that I like them, or at least that was what I thought. I felt it was better to start telling him the truth over a year ago, but still things I don’t like come home with expectation, that I will be happy and will enjoy them. As I said to him last night I am building up this vision of the future when he will have to prepare my meals and possibly even feed me, that the menus will include all his favourites, Chicken and mashed potatoes with soggy vegetables and a desert of Strawberries, all things I hate. It made me think again about something I wrote about last year but I didn’t actually action, just suggested it and went on without another thought, it’s what I can only call a detailed care plan. I guess we all expect our partners to actually know things like the foods we like and how we like them prepared, but I think the truth is probably far closer to the one I have just described. I guess we all know our partners favourite meals, including Adam, but if you are not the one actually buying the weekly shopping, do you really know what they would like to eat, not just tomorrow, but for the rest of their lives?
I guess that is time for me to actually start putting together the document I had in mind, it’s not just about food, but it’s about the details, the things we do for ourselves daily when no one is around, the way we like to dress, the scents we enjoy and what sorts of soaps, shampoos and even hair dye we would buy for ourselves. I call it a care plan but it is far more than that it is a life plan, the life we would choose to live if it was at all possible to, I know that it would never be carried out word for word, that would be far to much to expect of anyone, but it would ensure that our partners and even medical staff would at least have a chance of making us happy and of not having food constantly spat out at them. The more thought that I put into it while just sitting here, the more details I am coming up with, they are the things that I believe I know about Adam but just as he thinks he knows about me, would probably turn out to be wrong, that’s just it though, we all like to think we know the person we live with, but the reality is so often wrong. There used to be a really bad quiz show called “Mr & Mrs”, couples where asked questions about their partners to see just how much they really knew about each other, the result was all to often, not very much and the were only asking questions about things like favourite records, not the finer details we all so easily miss, but actually make a huge difference to that word happiness.
I also think that it should contain not just likes and dislikes but it needs to contain all those silly little things that we are all embarrassed to talk to anyone about, even our partners but once you are no longer able to care for yourself they will have to know about. Until I mentioned it in here I don’t think Adam had ever known that the scar from my hysterectomy had left me with an area of skin that needs looking after constantly. Well you don’t sit and talk about how if not kept clean and dry it can fester and become smelly, painful and simply disgusting, but when I am no longer able to care for it, it will fall on him to. I guess there will be many of us who have all sorts of things that fit the same bill, important, silent and secret. It is all to easy to go through life pretending that the worst will never happen, but chronic illness makes you face up to it far sooner than most would like to even admit to. I see now that once we have made that step into being housebound, our lives are hurtling with disgusting speed towards that point when it isn’t us but others who will be living it for us, and us through them.
I have tired again and again to talk to Adam about those subjects that we all face in time, but he chooses to talk for a short while then ends the conversation as though once ended it won’t happen. I equally close off some that have no point in being spoken about as I have made my feelings known many times before. We are equally guilty, but that’s the truth of many relationships, neither wants to hurt or distress the other, so nothing is said at all. I guess that is why my idea of a “Care Plan”, which yes I am going to change the name to a “Life Plan” as the bulk of it is about living, is the only way that my needs, want, likes and dislikes, will be there when they are needed. I also want to add into it a section which is more about dying rather than living, it is a description of the point I don’t want to be kept going after, just for the sake of another heartbeat. I suppose a life plan can contain anything that you personally feel should be in there but most of all it is about what you need to live contently, I guess it’s time I started drawing one up and filling in everything bit by bit until I am happy with the result. I also guess there will be a few who are reading who should also start planning their lives as well.