Thursday, March 01, 2007

Looking for the courage

So, talking with my shrink last night about all this stuff again. Paraphrasing below...

He asks me just what is it that prevents me from doing what I know (at many levels) to be right: I can no longer live with H and he needs more care than I can provide. He needs to go to a facility.

1) I just don't know if it is the right thing to do. I may regret it.

"That is true for almost any decision in life. You just have to go with the best information that you have at the time, think through it, and then make the call. Maybe you'll regret it, maybe it will be the best thing ever for you and him. You just don't know. My belief is that it is right for you and most likely him and certainly for you two together in order to salvage what you can of your love/affection for one another."

2) Maybe he'll get better, although he hasn't in a long while. He has bad days, where he can't dial the phone, but days where he's almost cogent (at least when he's awake).

"That sounds like denial and bargaining to me. You've told me that he is slipping downhill over time and that he's getting more incoherent, paranoid, and incapable of self care. And that each time he goes into the hospital, he comes out worse cognitively."

3) I worry that my judgement is flawed, that I can't be objective about this (see #1).

"What have others, such as his family, your friends, your doctors said? You've told me that they all agree that it is time. They have seen this, you said. You said that you've all talked about it. You said that the Dr. was willing to write the order on 3 different occasions this last year. Don't you think that the Dr. is more objective than you, that he has more exposure to these types of situations?"

4) Fear.

"Fear of what?"

Fear that I won't ever be able to get the love that I need once he's gone. That I'm not worthy of love, somehow and that H is the best I can do. Fear that I'll be alone...but others do support me and love me and can be there for me, if I only ask them. I will miss him and his loyalty, companionship.

"OK. It is human to think that we're somehow not worthy of love...very human. It is not unique to you. Right now, though, you're both living in some kind of fantasy that what you have together is somehow working. Great, you have a loyal companion who doesn't meet your needs, who is slipping away into dementia, and whose time with you at home is risking your job."

OK, how about fear of being abandoned, of being alone...if I assert my needs over his (which is what we're talking about) and he goes away, it feels like I might die somehow. Not physically, mind you, but...we'll, it's hard to I can't make it without him by my side.

"That's just your childhood playing out. You're an adult capable of self care've not only cared for yourself all these years, but you've also been caring for H all this time. You're the one who is working, who has friends, interests and is taking care of all of it. It will be far easier just to care for yourself once you get through this transition."

(The writer here demurs talking further about childhood.)

He's right. I'm waiting for the call from the Dr. and we'll put this in motion.

Once we get closer to the date, I'll be taking leave from work for a bit as it's going to be a rocky ride for a bit.

Goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow.

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