Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Body Synchronicity

When you are a Caregiver to someone you love, you know every nuance, every change, every feeling your loved one feels. When he's feeling good, you know. When he's feeling the tiniest bit fatigued or weak, you can sense it. You can see it in his eyes. You get so good at this you can anticipate how he will react or feel in any given situation. You are his voice, his connection to the outside world.

I call this body synchronicity.

Mothers and babies have it instinctively.
We Caregivers develop it.

I know how he feels, I feel what he feels in my body. There are times when I actually try to breathe for him. Is this normal? Or weird?

There was somebody else in my COPD Caregivers Support group who was also breathing for her husband. She learned over the last few months of his life to stop "doing for him".
As mothers we "do for our children", until they can do for themselves.

In "doing" for our loved ones, are we advocating for them or suffocating them?
I imagine there is a fine line that we need to respect.

Back to body synchronicity.
Over the past few years, I have caught myself trying to match my body's needs to those of my husband. He suggests we make a cup of coffee. I don't really feel like one, but what the hey - if it makes him happy, I'll keep him company (as the saying goes). But now I feel queasy; should have made myself a herbal tea instead.

His pace of life has slowed down considerably. So, mine has too - not as much, however, or none of the ADL's (activities of daily living) would ever get done.
But I do take more time over meals. We spend time reading together. I'll put in a load of laundry when he is exercising or I'll then go for my daily walk. Some people would love to have this quiet lifestyle. I do appreciate what we share at this critical time in our lives. It's our differences I am seeing now, not our similarities or life goals.

Sometimes I ask myself "if he wasn't here, would I have the same routine? Or would I follow my own body's needs and pick up the pace, take my morning walk first thing instead of waiting until he is busy doing something else? " Hmmmmmm.

I realized just how tired I was of matching my body to my husband's when Son came to visit. We broke the pattern, as Son took over for a while.

Now hubby does more for himself. And for the first time in months (maybe years) I feel our symbiotic relationship has broken. For me this is good. I am not so exhausted and I don't ignore my needs (I tend towards hypoglycemia, so have to eat more frequently, while Hubby can go hours without food).

We are still sleeping apart - on different levels of our home. I don't wake up every few hours in the night, terrified that he might have stopped breathing. I think he's beginning to like living on one level - doesn't have all those stairs to climb to go to bed at night.

What I am feeling now is a separation of our energies.
Before, I felt caught in a downward spiral, in a dark whirlpool swirling toward the unknown, holding tight to Hubby's hand. Now I feel our hands have become unclasped. Is this a temporary step allowing me to regain some of my strength? Or will this be permanent?

1 comment:

JOY said...

It is true that as caregivers we have a tendancy to do too much because most of us are women and most of us are moms. Men have egos much greater than ours and they have difficulty admitting and accepting that there are things that really need to be done that they can't do. Things like home renovations must be taken care of even if that means he goes elsewhere for a few days.The emotional drain that occurs when caregivers devote so much of their energy anticipating a possible unfavorable reaction in certain situations becomes exhausting. Yes, it's quite likely that your life would be quite different in terms of when you went for your walk and if you had herb tea instead of coffee. Do the things that make you smile that make you happy whenever you can~JOY