Monday, December 3, 2018

We're all at risk of falling and failing

By Monica Vest Wheeler

Yes, we're in the period of fall risk … my husband Roger from his knee replacement surgery on Friday and me … just being a klutz. No, neither of us has fallen … though the cats are just waiting for a great story to tell on Catbook …

I also realized that we're in another kind of fall risk … our mouths falling open and saying the wrong thing when we're tired or in pain or frustrated. It can happen to the one who needs assistance and their caregiver … all because of this "being human" thing. 

After getting home late Saturday afternoon, I was helping Roger, and his engineer brain was in full overload telling me what to do step by step. I finally said, "Stop! Stop telling me HOW to do it! I know what I'm supposed to do!"

He apologized. I guess that mental "slap" reminded him that I had spent all that time at the hospital learning how to attach the ice unit, and I didn't need the play-by-play report. And I proved it by just doing it WHEN he gave me a chance.

Caregivers and their loved ones all have to give each other a chance in uncharted or familiar territory. We all occasionally stumble, but they're not life threatening mistakes. They're just human errors … the curse we all bear.

Relationships are strong, yet fragile. Some people let them erode out of stubbornness or an unwillingness to forgive others' human ways. Sometimes we get caught up so much in our individual pain or woes that we forget that others who love us are hurting for us, too.

Even when we're hurting inside or out, when we stop to reflect on others' pain for us, it's a drug-free remedy for what ails us. It's also called distraction, because when we're not focused on me, me, me, me … we can give our nerve endings a much-needed break.

What do we do when we see someone sad? Angry? Having a pity party? We distract them with common sense, humor, hugs, humanity … When we give and when we receive, we ease our own blood pressure and pain …

I know this isn't a cure-all, but I can guarantee it's a cure-most-of-the-time … and that's pretty good in this imperfect world we live in …

I guess I'm still a fall risk … when I'm dancing and teasing Roger out of his reach … motivation, baby, motivation …

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