Sunday, November 17, 2013

The man is evolving

My husband Art has had a hip replacement, a knee replacement, two surgeries on his shoulders and one on his thumb. The recuperation for each of these required my help, which he did not want. And each cold or flu or bout of muscle soreness after working too long in the yard (he's 70, after all, not 35), is an ordeal he wants to suffer on his own. He wants me to leave him alone. Ignore him, if you will - but not really.

I, on the other hand, want sympathy and support and a listening ear when I am under the weather in some way physically or mentally or emotionally.

Up until last week, neither of us had been very successful at giving the other person what they need in such circumstances.

But Art is evolving.

I was scheduled for a screening colonoscopy for last Wednesday. The prep required two days of a low-fiber diet, one day of clear liquids only followed, in the evening, by the enchanting laxative experience, and then the morning procedure. During these four days I curtailed my activities as necessary and stayed fairly close to home. I noticed that Art was around a lot also, rather than being out and about as he usually is. He bought me white bread and apple juice and fixed low-fiber meals. He read in the living room or worked around the house on the day of my liquid diet, and he was available to listen when I needed to complain. He drove me to the medical clinic, got a flu shot while I was having my procedure (perfect outcome, "see you again in ten years"), brought me home and napped with me in the afternoon, even skipping an afternoon Creative Retirement Institute class on the history of intelligence and spying in the U.S.

In other words, he gave me sympathy and support and a listening ear. Exactly what I needed.

On Wednesday evening I gave him a hug and thanked him very much for being there for me. He said, "I knew that was what you wanted, and that is what you do for me - even though I hate it."

I had coffee with his niece Colleen on Thursday morning and told her about the support Art had given me. She said, "Uncle Art is so evolved." She remembered when he wasn't!

16 comments:

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Linda, this is great. I think recently Peter and I have each taken another step or two as well. And that one little thing about listening while the other person vents...that is huge.

Olga said...

That is sweet. It would be good if we were ALL evolving. I am with Art, though...leave me alone when I am not feeling well.

Rian said...

DH and I are also with Art... leave us alone when not feeling well. My mom was a 'hoverer' constantly waking me up to see if I needed something when sick, bringing me meds and tea when all I needed was *to sleep*. She meant well, but I did better left alone.

But it's great that you are both attuned to each other's needs.

Tom Sightings said...

He's an inspiration to all us men out there. I'm trying to evolve, really, I'm trying ...

#1Nana said...

Maybe there's hope for my spouse too!

The Odd Essay said...

A few years ago we had to cut our time in Mexico short as I had some health problems that I wanted "American" attention.... I was feeling bad about aborting our stay. Bill took my hand and said... "you know, we're getting older now, we're going to have things go wrong. We have each other and will be needing to look out for each other more and more." Not an exact quote, but close enough to convey the meaning. Maybe just getting old together makes a difference.

DJan said...

I am also a "leave me alone" person when I'm sick. Fortunately for me, hubby is the same. He leaves me alone and actually tries to get farther away! Glad to hear Art is evolving, though. And that you got the All Clear! :-)

Joanna Richey said...

Well Linda and Art -- I would have to say both of you are pretty evolved!! So glad the test was completely negative too. XXX Joanna

Retired English Teacher said...

High fives to you and to Art! Way to go, Art. I loved reading this. As you know, I can commiserate with you on this topic.

Out on the prairie said...

Nice to have the special care. I hate grumbling to myself.

Arkansas Patti said...

That was the perfect amount of care. Not smothering but there and handy if needed. Great job Art.

Kathleen McCoy said...

What a day-brightener your post is! I'm so glad Art was there for you in the way you needed him to be.

A neighbor -- who has cancer and is in kidney dialysis -- had a severe fall yesterday and was bleeding profusely and called to say that her husband picked her up and then went back to his den to surf the Internet, leaving her to wash the blood off and bandage her wounded leg. I think he has some evolving to do!

Galen Pearl said...

That is a great story, and you told it perfectly. I love that--he is so evolved!

Linda Reeder said...

At first I thought this evolution was in becoming a mechanical man. That is quite a list of replacement parts!
But in the end it is about loving partners caring for each other.

Deere Driver said...

Sweet!

Deb Shucka said...

Glad everything turned out well - both the procedure and the evolution!