17 September 2012

My best friend

My dog
She's been with me for 13 years. The best thing about her was the sheer joy she took in life. But now that joy is gone, and that tells me it's time to let her go.

I wish I knew how to tell her what she's meant to me. How to thank her for being there through so much, and still loving me when I became sick. I get down on the floor and cuddle her when I can. I say the words to her, with my body pressed against her, so she can feel the vibrations of me speaking. Her hearing is gone. I give her human food, as well as the really cheap and smelly canned dog food she loves so much - nutrition doesn't really matter now. Most importantly, we're having the vet come here, so she won't spend her last moments in a vet's waiting room being frightened.

She had a cancerous lump removed a few years ago. Maybe it came back. Perhaps there was a stroke. The vet said some of her behaviour (compulsive circling, trying to climb into corners) is evidence of damage to the frontal lobe of her brain. The way her rear legs kept crossing was evidence of neurological damage there. I'll never know what it was that took her joy away, leaving her behind as a ghost of the dog that I loved.

It'll be this week. I'll probably call this afternoon to make the appointment. I won't ask for her ashes back. It won't be her. She'll just be gone and leave behind a hole in my life and my heart.

Goodbye, my angel.

9 September 2012

When your spouse is your carer

I thought I had accepted my illness. I really did.

Then my husband got a new job (a good thing) and we moved to a new flat (a good thing) and because he's not constantly travelling anymore, he became my primary carer (also a good thing).

We were prepared that this might cause some problems. We foolishly thought the emotional burden of it would fall mostly on him. After all, I'd been receiving care from others for some time. I thought I had accepted it.

I realized today there is a big difference between a paid carer and a spouse-as-carer in the way it feels emotionally. There is no guilt or insecurity in asking a paid carer to do something. It's just part of their job. But as a wife, I feel like I haven't 'earned' the care I'm receiving from him. I don't feel like I'm giving enough to him, emotionally or physically or sexually to be the partner he deserves.

So now there's this huge knot inside me of fear and insecurity and guilt and feeling like I'm not enough for him that I have to figure out how to deal with. I recognize that it's all me. He gives me all the love and reassurance that he can to try and counteract these feelings. But he can't go inside me and try to untangle all of the mess that's there. It's another aspect of my illness that I simply haven't dealt with yet. So now it's time to start.