Caregiver vs. Patient: And the Winner is…

I don’t usually post “tales out of school” regarding my relationship with my wife. The marriage bond is sacred and should not be treated casually. But I thought our recent experiences might be of help to others.

As many of you know, my wife fell in the tub and fractured one of her femur bones on Friday, November 16th. Following her operation that Saturday and after three days of supervised convalescence, she was released from the hospital on Wednesday. Oh, Gracie (our labradoodle) and I were so happy to have my wife home again! But a “problem” came up as soon as she shuffled through the front door with her walker.

My wife keeps a very clean and organized house. Slow down, it’s not what you think! I CERTAINLY DID keep the house picked up while she was in the hospital. However, my wife also loves to decorate the house interior with seasonal decorations. It’s a big, no, make that a HUGE priority for her, and almost immediately after settling in she asked me to attend to the various decorations; plugging in lights, etc.

For my part, I understood that I would be attending to my wife quite a bit for the next several weeks as she slowly recuperated. In addition, my domestic chores pretty-much doubled immediately. So, attending to various decorations WAS THE ABSOLUTE LOWEST priority on my expanded to-do list and I communicated that to my wife rather impatiently.

My wife could not believe that I wasn’t willing to accommodate her wishes regarding the decorations. If I would only take a “few minutes” to tend to the decorations, she would feel much more content. Why was I giving her such a hard time about something so simple after all she had been through and with all the pain and discomfort she was still experiencing?

From my perspective, I could not believe my wife was making a federal case out of some silly decorations when my to-do list had just grown exponentially.

That evening, we had our devotions time with Scripture and prayer and the Lord softened both of our hearts. I was led to take care of “some” of my wife’s non-necessities and my wife accepted to a degree that the household wasn’t going operate the same exact way as when she was mobile.

Praise the Lord for intervening in our stubborn hearts! Many marriage problems begin and grow because, during a disagreement, neither spouse is willing to take the first step toward compromise and reconciliation.

We’re still stumbling our way through this recovery period with bouts of impatience and frustration, but love will win through Christ!

Galatians 6:2 –  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Postscript: Patient & caregiver situations can be difficult at times. The sick person can become frustrated, uncooperative, demanding, and even belligerent (like my Mom who had Alzheimer’s). The caregiver can easily become frustrated, impatient, and resentful. When caregivers are feeling overstressed, they need to take a break and even avail themselves of resources that are available to help them carry the load if necessary. I’ve seen a few situations within our extended family where the caregiver’s behavior bordered on the abusive.

15 thoughts on “Caregiver vs. Patient: And the Winner is…

  1. Great testimony, brother. We are pretty blessed in our family, in that no one person is having to carry the load for care for our Dad alone. We just live across the road, so it’s easy for us really. In fact, most of the time there are a couple of people around at least.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Wally! and I’m glad to hear many are on hand to help with your Dad. I’m sure he’ll receive loving care. And helping a loved one in need can be a real blessing to the caregiver. Funny story: I was washing my wife’s feet the other day and I quipped, “I guess Jesus and I are a lot alike.” We both got a good guffaw.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you Tom for this post. What a reminder we need the Gospel. And how the Gospel is needed for marriage; what a reminder of our frail and sinful nature and the problems of our expectation and reality. A good post Tom and more meaningful knowing your high view of marriage and desire to protect your marriage in how you talk about it and your spouse. Thanks brother!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, brother! I think one of the biggest problems in marriage is denial, pretending everything is relatively okay in the relationship and avoiding the communication work needed to reach resolution or a mutual plan. I failed at my marriage the first time around and it was the Lord who got us back together and keeps us going. Yup, we can’t stay mad at each other for long because the Holy Spirit is convicting us left and right and then there’s those daily devotions!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. A note to friends and family of caregivers: Could you spare an hour or two, now and then, just to let the precious caregiver get away for a cup of coffee and some alone time? It greatly helps!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Sherry! Yup, the little helps and breaks here and there for the caregiver are greatly appreciated. My wife can take care of many of her own needs but I know there’s many other patients who are greatly incapacitated and require much help from their caregiver/s.

      Liked by 2 people

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