Friday, August 4, 2017
When Your Caregiver Needs Care
My husband, Derek and I just spent our 29th wedding anniversary in a hospital room. This is not the first time we have been there, done that, but there was a major difference this year. Derek was the patient.
Anyone who knows Derek knows that he can fix almost anything, figure out how to assemble just about anything without resorting to the directions, and he somehow knows how to do almost everything. Technology doesn't scare him at all, in fact - he has that somewhat annoying ability to make gadgets work just by turning them on. I would be lost without him, literally - I have no sense of direction. For the last 29 years, whenever I can't get something to work, I know that eventually Derek will be home and he can fix it.
So it was mind-numbing to find out that this man who has always been so strong for me has cancer. How can that be? He has always been so healthy! I don't think he has taken more than 2 or 3 sick days from work, ever.
Seeing him on a hospital bed, looking frail was the most bewildering experience I have ever been through. I don't like this role reversal - not one little bit!
In the last ten years, I have lost both of my parents to cancer. These losses were devastating, but it has been many years since I have been dependant on my parents. They both died much too young (Mom was 61 and Dad was 70), but you expect your parents to die before you do.
I know that I am being morbid and pessimistic and looking at the worst case scenario - that I could lose my husband. Derek has had a much more positive attitude through this whole ordeal. The kids would rather talk to him about his health than me. He says he is just fine, and hopefully he will be one of the 5% of patients who survive pancreatic cancer. He may yet outlive me.
So it could happen that we spend more anniversaries in hospital rooms, and maybe we will take turns being the one in the bed. Or we could both be patients. I might be writing about our 50th anniversary, and I will keep you in suspense. Wait for it!