First some background... Five years ago, I got divorced...somewhat unexpectedly. That same year, I moved, was bumped from a job I loved, the Ex and I declared bankruptcy, and a beloved aunt died. It was a Very Bad Year. The next year, I fell and injured my foot, which lead to 3 surgeries over the following 2 years, weeks and weeks of incapacitation (naturally, it was my right foot so I couldn't drive while in a cast...oy) and recovery. 2006 brought yet another job change; 2007 a surprise but welcome hysterectomy. Fall 2008, right knee replacement. Mixed in with all of this medical stuff was (still is) a lot of emotional drama as I waded back into the nuclear sludge that is dating in your 40s.
Mary Alice has been my rock, my sounding board, my lifeline through all of this. I know she tires of the turmoil at times but she hides it well and keeps slogging along with me.
Last weekend, Mary Alice fell and broke her ankle. Badly - this morning she had surgery to repair it, which involved screws, pins, plates, and the very-impressive-sounding "mesh tension system" that will support her joint from now on. She's out of surgery and doing fine, thank God.
Now it's my turn - now I get to take care of her. Yes, she has Brick, who loves her as sweetly as he did 19 years ago when they married, but caretaking is not his forte. I know that he gets mad because she is in pain and he can't fix it but it comes out as frustration with M.A. I would not wish this pain and inconvenience on anyone, especially the best BFF in the whole world, but I am glad for this opportunity to serve. Thank you, God.
Mary Alice is not a good patient. She wants to be the caregiver, not the receiver; she's not comfortable "taking" when she feels she has nothing to give in return. I've already had to scold her more than once that she needs to let us do things for her. I hope she will realize that the love and care she gives everyone on a daily basis more than paid for any level of "taking" she has to resign herself to now.
I want to be there for her as she has always been there for me. I want to anticipate her needs, to make sure she is always as comfortable as we can make her. I can already see that this desire may make me overbearing and dictatorial. As you might imagine, M.A. would never tell me so, so it's up to me to pay attention to my own behavior.
Send sweet, gentle thoughts my way so that I don't turn into Nurse Wratched, mmm-k? Oh, and send healing thoughts to Mary Alice while you're at it, if you've a mind to.