I think I have drained my body of all its energy, and it’s just gone past 10:00 am. I took on the battle that Adam failed to fix yesterday, the suction pad grab rail in the shower, that has decided, it no longer wishes to suck. Adam tried four times yesterday afternoon to get it to hold before I had my shower. I eventually told him to leave it alone as it clearly required both the tiles and suction cups to be cleaned first. He just mumbled something unrepeatable and I went and hid in the shower. He has always hated the idea that anything should need any more than the simplest single action, to make it work. Having to clear it all, is like some kind of trial that is designed to get the better of him, but he kept on doing the same thing that failed before, just leaning hard and pressing the levers to complete, before walking away. Within three minutes, it not too surprisingly fell back down, again and again, and again. So it was down to me this morning, to bleach the tiles and the suckers, clean that off and spread the finest film of water over both, but then for me came the hard part, finding the strength to make it stick and stay. I admit my first attempt failed after ten minutes, but I repeated it all again and so far, so good, that is other than my arm, stomach and leg muscles, they are ready to give up totally. If it fails again, I guess that it is going to have to be a joint effort.
I often wonder if I have made taking over everything in the house a million times harder for Adam than it should have been. My first marriage taught me how to do everything, as my then husband did nothing in the house and had made perfectly clear, that he saw all of it, as my job, not his and everything had to be perfect, all of the time. Follow that with ten years living on my own, and well what you have was a once very capable and independent woman. When I married Adam, I just carried on as I did before, I did everything, rarely asking for him to help at all. He is perfectly competent in most things, but when something goes wrong, or I try to show him another way that is faster or easier, he gets uppity with me. Putting up a sucker grab rail clearly fell into that bracket.
When you have spent your life doing everything, it is actually incredibly hard to hand it all over to someone else, anyone else. It doesn’t matter if it is the simplest task, or a complex one, sitting watching someone doing it their way, without opening your mouth is hard. It doesn’t matter if you are totally incapable of helping or not, it is still fixed there in your head, how you would do it, or the silent version, how it should be done. That silent version is the hardest one to keep silent. No one wants to be corrected all the time, especially when they think the way they are doing it, is perfectly fine. In the first years of him taking on the housework, I found it frequently impossible. I can remember him getting annoyed with me and telling me that he was perfectly able, most of the time, I wasn’t doubting his ability, just usually his speed. Somehow, even today, 9 years on, he still takes nearly ten times as long as I ever did, to do anything. I just wanted and still want to make his life easier, I’ve never been trying to tell him what to do.
Just as h
I have learned to bite my tongue, to watch him doing things he clearly didn’t want to be doing. In total honesty, it is one of the hardest things about finding yourself disabled. You are forced to watch someone else doing what you feel, is your job and to make it worse, you are also forced to do so in silence. Not only, can you not help them in any way what so ever, but you also know that because they are using the wrong products, ones that won’t do the job so well and so completely, that they will be having to repeat it all, all the sooner. It’s like some kind of curse that you’re forced to live with silently. I know that there are millions of women out there who think they would love it if their husbands took over everything. I also now know, that the majority of those women, would very quickly be either sneakily doing it again when they couldn’t be seen, or simply telling them to stop. Neither of those is an option that is open to me, so I now stay silent.
Being helped, is one thing, being sidetracked is another. That feeling of being useless just grows and grows. It doesn’t matter what it is, the feeling of no longer being of use is one of the hardest to deal with. For me, my routine and chatting with others here and on twitter has helped me tremendously. Thanks to everyone online, I still have that sense of worth and quite honestly, I don’t know what I would do without you all. Without a doubt, the biggest contributor to depression comes from that feeling of no longer having a purpose. It happens to millions every year when they retire, well, we’re no different, we have gone from having a fulfilling life, to nothing. What our partners might perceive as us interfering, is really just us trying to help, trying to still have a use and a purpose, but it is almost impossible to get that across, so most like me, I’m sure, just go quiet and suffer in silence.
Housework is just one example of how our lives are taken away from us. I used it because I am sure it is one that many will be able to relate to, but I know from personal experience that there are many many other things, that become silent sores. The worse our health gets, the more those sores fester, and the harder they become to explain. If you are someone at the start of this cycle in life, I urge you to do as I did and find an alternative purpose to your life. It doesn’t matter what it is, I know not everyone will want to write, but it’s a wonderful outlet and one that doesn’t need you to have too much energy. Just as deciding you are going to read every single book published by a prolific author, or studying a foreign language. Find something, and learn to talk, that one, I’m still working on.
Please read m blog from 2 years ago today – 10/05/2014 – Is it right?
I was watching the news yesterday and as always happens my ears pricked up when I heard a name I recognised, it wasn’t a person but a place, Manorfield, when it was followed by Aberdeen my attentions was fully on what would come next. Manorfield was the area in Aberdeen that I grew up in, my family for many, many years owned the Manor house, Friendville, now, unfortunately, a hotel but when families split these things happen. I listened as to my surprise they were talking about a National level cricket match being played on the Manorfield cricket ground, I watched and saw what was clearly a commercial ground and for the second time in my life I was once more angry at Gorden’s College, a privet boys school in the city. This is a matter of……
Oh, love! There is something about being independent when your younger and despite having physical issues feeling the need to maintain some control over your environment and keeping it clean and to your previous standards. I hear you. When things are physically harder our need to keep control on something is more and more important when the physical fails. We want things to be quick and efficient. Never more important than when we want to hurry up and get back to bed or something more important. I don’t have a husband, but my careers clean and do the dishes I can’t/don’t put through the dishwasher. Over time, more and more things become less and less important. Maybe you can suggest Adam can research permanent handrails for the shower? Safer and no heavy cleaning required before you get a shower and a longterm solution to several problems. There are always issues with family and careers and not enough help. That’s when it’s good if they can have contact with others who are experiencing the same scenario to bounce off ideas and problems with solutions. A support system and network. The same goes for you. I find myself making lists of the things my mum (now 66 & 3.5 hours away and my only family member as a Carer to help do things other than my careers). I then find myself finding other ways to minimalist her jobs and finding other solutions. Also a subtle way to send the message of how much you are doing and how you are trying to lessen their load. I know, I just wrote a book so keep up the good work. P.S. I’m also not limited to a wheelchair so seriously. Give yourself some credit!
My contact with others is now totally limited to online, and it really makes a huge difference. But being both housebound and wheelchair bound, doesn’t seem to be that common a position.
Just as you said, many things have become less and less important, as time passes. I guess today’s post was sparked by the spring sunshine illuminating the dust. That’s why I want to find some help for him, he isn’t managing to do a full time job and all that’s needed for me and our home. I guess also there is a dose of guilt, as I have in so many ways left him alone with everything.
Our home was once pristine and seeing that dust made me realise that maybe all three of us, are in need of a little help.
Try rubbing alcohol to clean tiles and the suction cups not bleach Bleach will eat the material the cups are made of and they will degrade I know you dont want the permanent industrial looking grab bars but they really are best option I wouldnt trust suction cup grab bars & if you lived in U S they wouldn’t be ADA compliant either I do however understand how you come to your conclusions I think the same way A lot of the time Have a blessed day
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This is a hard one for me too.
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Wow! You’ve said it all. After being a working wife and mother for thirty years I was suddenly struck with ppms. I lost the use of my left arm completely very quickly and then my legs. My husband learned to cook very quickly but he hates housework. I used to look round my home with despair and a feeling of complete and utter uselessness. Really hard for someone who had run her own business whilst bringing up 5 children and running a home! My kids would say things were a bit of a mess and would set about cleaning up for me which was amazing for a brief time until it was a mess again. I’ve learned not to look too closely and that’s the only way I can cope with it – I studiously ignore it! I do write in a private journal on my iPad, I haven’t yet had the courage to put it in a blog. You inspire me to think that maybe it’s alright to write about the things we think and feel. Thank you. (((Hugs)))
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It is more than OK and I promise you, there are people out here who are desperate to read as well. It is so hard to find others who live with all that we do, and that feeling of being the only person alive who feels as we do, is devastating for many. Almost daily, I have people who thank me for saying it just as it is, no flowers, no cover up, just the total truth.
I admit, that some days, I wonder if I have said too much, but then those heads pop up, saying thanks. You can never go too far, as there is always someone even further ahead of you.
I too have learned to just not see the mess, it’s hard, really hard in the spring sunshine but I bite me tongue and I say nothing. They try, and that is the biggest gift they can give to us and like most men’s idea of a gift, it’s never quite there, but it’s the thought that counts.
Take care (((Hugs)))