Early Friday morning I had a smile put on my face by a delivery. It wasn’t what was delivered that made me smile, it was the delivery man. No, he wasn’t showing off a six pack, or astoundingly attractive, in fact, he was over skinny, with rather ordinary looks. What made me smile was something he did. I hadn’t expected the first delivery incontinence pads quite so soon, as I had only been on to their website the day before. It had explained that the delivery would arrive in plain packaging and made a promise that the whole process would be discreet. All of which I had forgotten, so when I was handed a huge heavy box wrapped in gray polyethene, I naturally said, “Do you know where this came from?” The driver leaned forwards and whispered, “It’s your pads.” He said it so quietly, that I had to ask him to repeat it, which he did, still quietly, and taking discretion to the limits. You couldn’t fault them in their promise.
I actually needed a smile from somewhere, as I have to admit that I really wasn’t looking forwards to the day at all. In the morning I was expecting the district nurse and I knew that I needed the enema that day. From earlier experience, I knew that the whole process was going to exhaust me. The energy required was daunting to say the less, but I was determined to get through it. On Thursday night we had cleaned out my wardrobe and Adam took 7 bags of clothes and shoes down to the bin. The bulk was made up of dresses all ranging from size 6 USA to size 10 UK, sizes that wouldn’t go anywhere near me. The only thing I held onto, was my wedding dress, which of course won’t fit me either but as it has spent 17 years stuffed into a plastic bag, from which I had intended to have it cleaned and ironed, but never did. There are always those things that hold sentimental value to great to throw out, some got ditched, but not that one.
Adam had presliced about a third of a can of cod roe for me the night before and was coming home at lunchtime to lay the roe, onto some melba toast with some cream cheese for me. While here, he would also do all the running around, bringing my meds and so on through to the lounge. We spoke the night before about how we were going to make things work, going forwards. Without a doubt, I need him home on the days the nurses are here. So we are working on a menu that he will prepare in advance and when home for lunch, just pop them in the microwave for both of us. I am also on the look for a mini fridge. It has to be just the right size and preferably black so it can be morphed into the room. Once in place, I will keep my bottle of drink in it so I don’t have to keep going to the kitchen. I hope I will also be able to keep some food in it so that some meals and snacks will be on hand. I just have to find the right fridge.
No matter how organised life is, or how much you try to make things flow, sometimes, the true impact isn’t about any of those things, it’s about feelings, most often the sort that words somehow fail to explain. If there has been one thing recently that I have had more than anything else, are feelings, the sort that runs away with you and leaves you stranded, with nothing to say. Trust me, even I can run out of words. The worst thing is, it leaves both Adam and I struggling to make contact, I am so tied up, that saying anything beyond a grunt or something that comes out sounding like a criticism, seems to be impossible. I hate myself when I am like this because of Adam. If I could hide away from everyone and be as alone on the outside as I am on the inside, then life would be a thousand times easier, on both of us.
There are so many stages of chronic illness and with every one, there are issues that you never expected to find. From my last few posts, it is clear that I am caught in one of those that is just tearing me apart. Dignity and independence are the two things that without a doubt, are the most important when it comes to self-worth. They are knocked and bashed around with a freedom that you just don’t understand until you enter this world of ill health. We spend our lives thinking that there is nothing that we can’t do, just to find ourselves suddenly physically unable to do anything. With each stage, you lose even more although, you already believe that you have lost everything, and the impact that has is colossal. Everyone around you is keyed up, ready and watching for those first signs of depression, waiting for that day that you crumple. When you don’t, they see you as unbreakable, the person who deals with everything with ease, let me tell you now, there is no ease about it. Just because you don’t become clinically depressed, doesn’t mean that we don’t hurt. My self-worth has been challenged continually, but this time, it is on a scale that I thought like everything else, would arrive bit by bit, rather than all at one time.
Six months ago, I thought of myself as already useless, happy, but useless, now, I can’t find a use for me at all. Yes, the happiness element is still there, as long as I can keep my mind off the fact that my body has found new ways of taking my self-worth and dignity, hanging it out in front of me and laughing. I know before someone tries to remind me, that I have a worth to so many others out there going through this shit, and yes, I know Adam says he can’t live without me, but I’m talking about my day to day life, the one I lead, away from this screen. When you reach the point where wheels have replaced your legs, where other people have to make your body work and even more others, have to clean it for you and dress it for you, well what use are you? All I have left that I do for myself is to feed and water me. The impact of all this, is so huge, that as I said, there are no words for it. They appear in sudden waves that hit you off your center and leave you lost. I wish I could explain how all this is picking away at me and how despite all of it, I am still holding onto happiness.
The more I try to find a way of telling all of you, because I know that it’s important, the more confused that it all becomes. At the core of it all, I believe is my love for Adam. As it doesn’t matter how hard my health tries to destroy me, there is always that love standing there like a guardian, warding off its attempts to finish me off. I can’t explain it better than that. There are no words, just this shield that stops me from falling into that depression all of us fear, but it doesn’t stop it whipping me hour, after hour. I have become a creature who can’t exist, without others to care for me. I am the needy, the being that is tended and administered to, I take and I take so much and give back little. Is it surprising my head has a hole in it, where everything, from every minute of my life, bounces about, and I have no idea what I really feel. I just hope that within this, you can find the truth of how I feel, because I’m even finding that hard.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 11/07/2014 – Time to change again
I wish I could understand why it is that I so often wake during the early hours, to find that I have once again I have somehow managed to twist on the bed into a position where my head is still set on the pillows in its normal position, vouched for the fact that my hair is still spread across the pillows as I place it each night, but with both of my feet out of the side of the bed and actually flat on the floor. Waking like that is incredibly painful, partly because I don’t have the strength to pull my…..