By: Revanche

An ode to partnership and dependency

September 7, 2010

PiC insists he’s fully on board, being with me, but I have got to be trying his patience. Heaven knows I’ve worn through my own patience with this state of affairs.

This past week was one of the rougher, tougher ones in which I was barely good for anything in private and not much more than that in public.

I made it to work each day, drugged up to my eyeballs, or in so much pain that I was well beyond wishing for the sweet release of death. You bet your sweet bippy I took the time to make the right calls, but that left my willpower to deal with anything beyond the core necessities drained to the last dribs. By Thursday, all I could think was: I’m not cooking a darn thing tonight. By darn, someone is going to feed me!

Through the weekend, we hosted an old friend who has been nomadic for quite a few years of her high-powered career. As we missed her birthday last weekend, I felt obligated to be present for her so I tried to hide the pain behind normalcy.  I didn’t do a good job of it but my next best shot was to sacrifice PiC’s support and continue to struggle behind the facade of maintaining even at home where I would normally collapse and stop pretending.

It was exhausting.

As much as I care about my friends, I was intensely grateful to stop pretending when she left on Sunday and for the day of rest on Monday to enjoy PiC’s company. With any luck, I can slowly lay off some of the pain meds so that this week isn’t a complete fog.

Living in a haze of pain isn’t just draining, it’s expensive!

The painkillers cost money, the eating out costs money, the being waited on hand and foot costs … one heck of a lot of good will!  And that’s the most worrisome bit of course. How long can someone keep up the caretaker role before burning out?

But you know what?  I’m tired of all that. Forget honesty – I think you could all stand a good solid blast of uplifting, happy geekery, could you not?  If not, bear with me, it can’t possibly be worse than the me even I was sick of!  (And as I assured my ever so flamboyant friend, even if it was only the “me” in the abstract.)

I declare this: Week of the Geek!

9 Responses to “An ode to partnership and dependency”

  1. Have you ever tried letting on your pain to friends? Just so they know you can’t do certain activities? I think they’d be a lot more understanding/helpful if you explain that you can’t do that right now, and perhaps even help you around the place (helping cook, set up the bed) in exchange for your amazing hostessing skills and personality

  2. I’m glad you have a good one in PiC – I hope this week is better than the last.

    And I do agree with FB, if my friend had to pretend to be non-miserable, i’d want to know so I could help as much as possible. Though I understand it would be hard to share.

  3. Red says:

    “You bet your sweet bippy” had me rolling on the floor laughing. 🙂

    It’s funny to me that women are thought to be the caregivers between the sexes. About three months after we first started dating, I came down with an awful case of mono. The meds my doctor put me on (before he even knew what I had!) gave me a full-body allergic reaction. I was disgusting, especially disgusting for someone who had only been around for a few months. I remember Mom saying, “You look like THIS, and he still sleeps next to you!?” But he stayed with me every day, putting hydrocortizone cream on me in blobs and taking care of me until I got better. 🙂

    It sounds like PiC is a definite keeper! I know it’s hard when you’re used to taking care of yourself, but don’t worry so much about the caregiving. Just enjoy the fact that someone loves you enough to do that. 🙂

  4. Ruth says:

    Feeling sad that I can’t be more there for you right now either emotionally or physically present. Will try as I get better. *hugs*

    Another shout-out to PiC. I am so glad you have someone like him. And specifically…him!

    And yes, week of the sounds like a ton of fun. 🙂 (well, you know where my tastes lie anyway)

  5. I agree–I think your friend would be distressed to have caused YOUR distress. You don’t need to be perfect, even though you are, just about.

  6. Grace. says:

    Mostly I don’t mind never having gotten married nor living with a sexual partner.

    But DANG! When I miss the absent partner the most is when I’m sick or in pain, and I just want to whine and be taken care of.

    So, you’re lucky. But I wish you felt better and did NOT have the pain.

  7. Serendipity says:

    I think it’s sweet he’s taking care of you. I get sick quite often because of my chronic asthma and insane stomach issues and my chronic fatigure from certain medications and Rambo sucks it up more than enough to make sure I’m okay. That’s true love honey bun and you got it!

  8. Abigail says:

    Well, as someone who trades off quite a bit as caretaker… Yeah, it’s draining, and you do need short breaks. But I think PiC will be just fine over the long haul.

    And you’re right: pain/illness is expensive. Not only in the cost of meds but in the toll it takes on your overall ability to be frugal.

    While I was on Vicodin for that allergic reaction pain, I would wake up, take my pills, then end up drifting off on the couch until I could drag myself to bed. Needless to say, a lot of fast food and takeout was had. The moments I was conscious/coherent, I wasn’t exactly up for thinking of frugal alternatives.

    I’m sorry to hear the pain was so bad recently. But I still say that PiC will be just fine taking care of you. Also, if it were one of your friends, taking care of her boyfriend, would you worry whether she’d burn out? (Maybe you would, I dunno.) Because it seems like it’s expected for women to forge on for love, but when it’s a guy, it’s worrisome that our needs are too much to handle.

    Or maybe I’m just projecting. Who knows.

  9. Revanche says:

    @FB: You know, I have a big problem with stiff upper lipping it, and don’t ever want to admit weakness so it’s really hard for me to share with them the extent of the pain. They know I have it, but I’ve never taken the time to explain it really, because it’s so frustrating when it seems to go in one ear and out the other with some of them. I guess I assume they’ll all be that way which isn’t fair.

    @stackingpennies: He is a good one!
    And things are looking up, a week later than that 🙂

    I suppose it just depends. I forget that old school friends are really just friends by proximity and sometimes it seems like they don’t really care too much so I don’t bother telling ANYone.

    @Red: Glad I could brighten your day. 😉

    It’s interesting that everyone saw the gender roles in caretaking in this post; in my life, my dad, my PiC, my uncle, my best friends, etc. are the caretakers. While we are a strong matriarchal family on one side, the men do tend to be the caretakers. That’s not to say they’re good at it…. but they try!

    @Ruth: You’re here! And it’s very very much appreciated.

    @FS: D’aw! Not even my family thinks that highly of me! You’re so sweet.

    @Grace: I’m absolutely lucky to have someone here for me when I’m in pain. I lived without him for many years and I’m intensely grateful for his support now that I have it.

    @Serendipity: He’s definitely a good egg, and a keeper. I worry for him because he worries about me, we have strong reciprocity.

    @Abigail: I’m pretty equal opportunity – I worry about any caretaker. One of my very dearest friends, a retired woman, is an intense Type A caretaker and I check up on her frequently to remind her to slow down, get some rest, or stop trying to take care of so many people at the same time.

    As I mentioned before, there are more men than women in my life who serve as caretakers but I worry about all my caretakers, male or female. It’s a precious gift they give and all too easy for them to become overextended.

    For PiC, he actually reenergizes through lots of exercises and outdoor activities so the best thing I can do for him is say it’s ok by me if he runs off and plays in the water every morning or goes for a run every night. So I do. It’s good for him, and it’s good for me. So we still take care of each other – otherwise, he’d feel beyond guilty about leaving me to do what makes him feel good.

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