Thursday, April 26, 2007

A hotel of my very own

I realized last night that the only reason H is still with me is because I love him. But he is with me for many reasons, including that one as well. I mean he needs my income, my cooking, my occasional cleaning, my comfort, my driving, health benefits from my job, etc.

To a large degree, he lives at our house like a hotel. Sleeps whenever he wants, gets food from me, bills are paid, he doesn't have to do anything. Nor do I expect him too.

A few weeks ago was our anniversary; 24 years in fact. Both of us "forgot" it until later in the week and then I brought it up and apologized for forgetting.

Me: What do you want to do to celebrate?
H: Since we're not having sex hardly at all anymore, there's nothing to celebrate.
Me: Hmmmm. Now, ever since you got sick there have been issues with sex, but we've still managed to celebrate and honor the time we've had together and our love. Can't we just hug and acknowledge this marker?
H: No.

OK. So, we can't celebrate our anniversary now because he's not getting as much sex as he wants (but when we do do it, he doesn't work to speak of). Nothing else that we have had together matters. Even in our most sexual times, there's always been more for us together than just sex.

Boy, do I feel hurt, deflated (sic), and invalidated. Nothing else matters except for the sex? Sheesh. Not me holding his hand in ICU for 3 weeks, not me taking him to the hospital and ER over a dozen times in the past year and being with him & working the Drs., not me worrying about him, helping him in so many ways, feeding him, and trying to provide a home for him in his last days.

Without me, he would be in a nursing home.

This is what prompted me to think about me running a hotel.

Now, I do know that those with dementia have a hard time seeing anything from the perspective of "the other." But even knowing this, what he said floored me.

Everything has now been reduced to whether his willy is satisfied and if it isn't, then we aren't married and have nothing to celebrate. Well, my johnson isn't satisfied either, but I can still love him and honor our time together.

While it has been relatively peaceful on my front for a bit now (I've resigned myself to more of the same), this conversation has emotionally pushed me in ways I didn't expect. And it made me realize just how little I get and get credit for.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

I give you credit, and pardon the lecturing, but i'm just passing on something that my own partner's nurses lectured me about when Allen was near the end: don't beat yourself up about anything. There's enough on your plate without adding to it yourself.

It's not easy to lose someone slowly. you're frustrated,and i'm absolutely certain that he is, too, because he knows he's not holding up his side of the relationship and the life you have together.

24 years counts for a LOT. I only got to have Allen for a little over two years and, looking back, when he snapped at me while I was his caregiver, and even though he never apologized for it, the anger wasn't aimed at me, it was just escaping his body and i was within the blast radius.

Take care of yourself. You're already taking care of him.