Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Be the Spouse......

Monday came and went and I had nothing to show for it. I'm stuck in my usual autumnal uncertainty again.  Carl was back at work and the day stretched ahead of me, do I start ripping out plants or finish mowing the lawns?  Should I get on the tractor and cut the Back Eight one more time?  When was the last time this house had a good honest cleaning?  

I'd had another few days of bladder pain, urgency and general misery all weekend with a slight improvement on Sunday, but on Sunday night, unannounced and uncalled for, the pain in my sit bones is back.

Really?  When I was hoping for a respite, the pain in the butt I'd had all last winter returns again.  The pain I went to three specialists and paid ridiculous fees to be told I don't have a problem.  Well, at least not a problem they know how to fix. 
I'm not a person who enjoys going to doctor appointments.  And the embarrassment of displaying my derriere was downright humiliating even though I know the old saying goes, once you've seen one, you've seen 'em all.  What hurt worse than my pride was the price we had to pay for the office visits; with our high insurance deductible, everything is out of pocket.  What a waste.

So, yeah, I get a bit down in the dumps at times.  I'm in the midst of treatment for Lyme disease and my fellow patients have told me they have had good results, so I need to keep a positive attitude and hope this won't last forever.  

Sadly, some days I have a hard time believing things will improve.  It's not that the pain is debilitating, but it's always there, wearing me down in one way or another.   I will say though, the bladder thing is downright dreadful at times; there is no way to divert your attention from the pain. As a consequence, sometimes I'm not Suzy Sunshine to live with.  Ok, most of the time.  

Still, I try to remember something I learned awhile back:

About eight years ago I was invited to a bridal shower.   The guests were asked to write some sage advice for a happy marriage on recipe cards for the bride-to-be.  

I'd already been married thirty years by that time.  I smiled patronizingly along with a few of the other married veterans when the bride-to-be read the cards out loud.  We'd all been there, done that, let's see what everyone else wrote.  

'Keep the romance alive.'
'Don't make mountains out of molehills.'
'Don't go to bed mad.'
'Always say I love you every day.'
'Don't take each other for granted.'
'Realize you'll have bad days.'
'Pray together.'
'Talk about little problems before they become big ones.'
'Try not to yell when he says your cooking doesn't taste the same as dear old Mom's.'
'Listen to each other.'
'Put your relationship first.'
'Don't pick up his underwear, make him do it.'
'Work together.'
'Train him right.'
 Yes, they were all great recipes for a happy marriage.  But then the bride-to-be read one I'd never heard before, one that made me catch my breath:

'Be the spouse you want to come home to.'

I was stunned by the eloquence and simplicity and I felt immediate guilt.

How often have I been the spouse I'd want to come home to?     

Oh, dear.  Would I want to come home to a messy house and a worn-out, disheveled whiner?  I know that sounds harsh, but it is Carl's life far more often than not.  He would immediately say it wasn't so, but he's a loving man who chooses to see only the good.  In other words, he's often in denial.  

We've had our problems like anyone else in five years of dating and thirty-eight years of marriage. Some of the problems were minor, some were downright dreadful and a regrettable few were nearly deal-breakers, but we're still together. 

 Carl is a wonderful husband and he deserves much better than I've been able to provide, especially in the last few years.  If a woodtick is truly to blame for all of this, then I sincerely hope no one ever gets bitten again. 

I was feeling sorry for myself yesterday morning as I plodded up the road to Mom's.  More pain, more gloom and doom on my part.  Where will this all end?  When will this all end?  Is this the end?

 See what I mean?  Pity-pot thinking.  
 The weather was not to blame for my foul mood, the skies were a gorgeous October blue.  There was a slight breeze from the west and just enough warmth from the sun to make my bones feel good. 
 "Stop it," I chastised myself.  "You've got so much to be thankful for.  You can still walk, you can still see and hear.  Think of those who would give anything to have what you have."

Just then I saw how the alfalfa field responded to the gentle breeze as it was set to undulating like a green ocean.  And I caught myself smiling when the puffy white clouds cast their shadows across the sun.  

When I was a little girl I used to love to run with the shadows, trying to stay ahead of their steady advancement across the fields.    Sometimes I imagined them to be menacing, and I remember the eerie feeling as the shadows passed over me, leaving me behind, unharmed.  There was always another shadow coming and off I'd go, running with the wind, trying to stay in the light.

Those days don't seem so very long ago, not really.  I don't run very well any more, but I can remember these fields in all seasons of the year.  I remember the first time I tried to walk to the end of a rainbow in the spring, hoping to find the pot of gold.  But it didn't work; the closer I thought I was getting to the rainbow, the farther away it seemed, until it suddenly ceased to exist.  The colors gradually faded away, and no amount of longing for them to return would restore them. 

Similarly in the fall, I'd try losing myself in ground fog rising from the fields.  I wanted to know what it would be like to be enveloped in white nothingness; could I hide in the mist?  But the fog eluded me, too.  Try as I might, galloping with sopping wet tennis shoes through the tall grass, the aloneness I craved remained tantalizingly out of reach.  I could see it, but I could not be in it.

"Why?" I thought, " Why is it so close and yet so far?"

 Sometimes I feel like the connection I have with God is off the hook.  But I'm the one who dropped the phone. 

'Be the spouse you want to come home to.'

Carl has always been the spouse I want to come home to.

Now may he find me deserving of the honor.





FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Oh dear Karen ~ this post brings tears to my eyes. For your ongoing pain, for your desire to 'be the spouse you would want to come home to'. I've never heard that before and that is such a good piece of advice! I can no longer be that to my dear husband, but I can try to be a good person/friend to all I meet.

Love, hugs & prayers ~ FlowerLady

Carol said...

Sending Healing Prayers and Strength as you walk your path to recovery. I can so relate to your feelings both physical and emotional ♥ For years I have lived with constant pain and fatigue and it took them forever to realize that it wasn't all in my head. I have Fibromyalgia along with a couple of other chronic conditions. Then on top of all of that I met up with that dratted tick too and it shared it's lovey germs with me. I also have the pain you described in the butt and they finally figured out I have Sacroilitis ...
Sacroiliitis (say-kroe-il-e-I-tis) is an inflammation of one or both of your sacroiliac joints — situated where your lower spine and pelvis connect. Sacroiliitis can cause pain in your buttocks or lower back, and can extend down one or both legs..... add this to the two herniated disc and life is just a ton of agony. Steroid injections are my best friend!!!! With out them I wouldn't be able to function. In the meant time I just push myself because setting back on giving in to the darn things is just not in my nature. If I'm going to hurt I might as well do the things I love anyhow :) So hang in there my friend ... take life 15 minutes at a time. If you can get through the next 15 minutes then the next will be doable too. ♥♥♥♥

outlawgardener said...

Beautifully written Karen and good advice indeed. Carl loves you and understands that you are in pain. You're a talented, creative, amazing woman who Carl is lucky to come home to! Even with what you're going through, you've written words that are inspiring to me. Chronic pain really takes a toll and I pray that it will end for you and that your body will conquer the pain and you'll actually be able to stay in the sun and realize that, while you couldn't see it, you were already immersed in the fog. Being pain free isn't an unattainable pot of gold, it will happen!

Carol said...

HI again!! thought I'd leave you a couple of links that might help you...



Not trying to play doctor but sometimes another idea is helpful and then sometimes not :)

Karen said...

Rainey, You were definitely a wonderful wife, Mark loved you so much. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. And sending a hug right back to you.

Carol, thank you! I'm sorry to hear you're suffering too. I know what you mean, we have to keep on living life despite the misery some times. Thank you so much for the links you sent, I will read them carefully. So true, one day at a time, one hour, one minute, I can do this!

Peter, thank you for your kind words, they mean so much. I vow to keep on running with the wind, chasing the fog and seeking that elusive pot of gold. :-)

Indie said...

Such a beautifully written post. So sorry that you are going through all of these health problems :( Lyme's disease has quickly become such an epidemic, and here even some of the doctors don't really know how to treat it properly. I hope they can figure out what is causing your pain! Your husband sounds like such a great guy, and I can tell that you love each other very much.

africanaussie said...

you write so well - totally from the heart, and I think Carl knows that he has a gem. What good advice. I know I am often not that type of spouse, and need to pull my socks up. loved your descriptions of running through the fields.

Donna@GWGT said...

I am so sorry you have all this pain, and on top of that the Lyme disease that makes all of it that much worse. The list for marriage is a good one and the last one that the bride read. It is hard sometimes to be that person, and even harder to see the other spouse graciously being the supporting partner. I wish you all the best in your recovery. You are lucky to have Carl.