Yesterday was a really bad day for me, sadness and loneliness took hold of me and trying to get back my joy felt like an impossible task.
Tried to reach out to my sister but she was so busy with her daughters and grandchildren that I did not want to interrupt their fun time together with my problems. Just having someone to talk to helps tremendously. I was able to reach my brother late last night and I thank him for his words, and love. I felt so much better.
My husband suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. He doesn’t like doctors, and he is convinced that since there is no cure for the disease, they cannot help him. He reads everything he can online and tries to be his own doctor.
His illness was one of the major factors in my decision to stopping working. I wanted to be with him, to help him, and possibly make his quality of life better.
Everyday is a struggle for him, and without sounding selfish, for me too!
Today I thought I would share some things I have learned about living with him and his disease.
Pray – If you can, have your first cup of coffee in silence, in a peaceful setting. Pray for strength and patience to get through the day ahead, with all that might be thrown at you, with joy and love. Be thankful for everything that you have and especially the time we spend with those we love.
“Dear Lord, if you cannot cure him, please don’t let him get worse!”
Help Them Without Making Them Feel Helpless – I really try hard to help my husband in small ways without appearing to be watching his every move. Getting him things that might be on another floor so he doesn’t have to try to climb a flight of steps, saying “I’m going upstairs, do you need something while I am up there?”. He is stubborn and even through climbing a few steps can take him a long time, with the risk of falling, he doesn’t like to ask for help. He is very independent.
Do Not Criticize – No one likes to be criticized, but when you are ill it can be devastating. Since his balance is off he spills things all the time. I try to keep my home clean and many times I would react to things he would do in a negative way saying, “try not to spill that” or “can’t you pick up your shoes”. Oh, how I have learned the things he does, or does not do are nothing to fret about in life. I pick up his shoes, and I clean up the spills, and I love him!
Laugh Together – Laughter is great medicine and helps to eliminate some of the depression they feel everyday. Jim is a funny person and when he is having a good day may repeat a joke I have heard so many times before, but I just laugh again. I know there will be a day when I will miss his silly jokes, or he will miss having me to repeat them to!
Do Things Together – Do the things with your loved one that you can, going out to breakfast, taking lunch to the park, going to the movies, even if it means seeing the latest “Planet of the Apes” movie (which we did last week).
Ask For Their Help – When I have a small task that I know my husband can do, I ask for his help. When the job is completed I can see a sense of accomplishment come over him, thankful that he could contribute.
Be a Good Listener – I have learned that when Jim wants to talk about his health issues or his thoughts on politics or whatever, listen. Don’t just listen with your ears, but with your eyes as well. Engage them, let them know you are taking the time to hear their point of view.
Learn to Hold Your Tongue – As I have mentioned, there are some impossible days. When someone is sick they are angry, “why me”, “what’s the use”, etc. It’s as if they want to argue and be hurtful with words. I understand this now, and when he wants to argue I leave the room. I do not need to have the last word!
Observe Changes – Especially since my husband will not see a doctor I try to watch for signs that he is declining further. This is mostly for safety issues. Right now taking away driving is at the top of the list. He only drives a block or two to the grocery, to get a milkshake, which he loves, or to the barber. I drive the rest of the time. He assures me he is OK to drive and will know when he cannot. Taking this away would be devastating to him.
And the last thing I have learned, is to Love Them. They are so scared, they need us.
Being with my husband is part of “Loving My New Simple Life”.
I am so very proud of him, the way he is trying to cope with all that is thrown at him every single day. He doesn’t give up and won’t. He exercises, lifts weights, sit ups, hundreds of them, and tries to walk on the treadmill by holding on to the side handles. Falls a bunch, in fact he had a bad one last night, but he gets up and tries to continue, bloody legs and all!
Hope some of this helps other folks dealing with a sick loved one like me!
Blessings to all.