Caregiver, caregiver, give me some care, take me somewhere, help wash my hair!*

*Sing to the tune of Matchmaker. Yes, this is how I pass the time. I have multiple verses. πŸ˜‰

This is day 8 of my husband’s cold. You might remember how paranoid I am of catching a cold or, god forbid, the flu. It has been exactly 2 years and 4 months since I had a cold and bronchitis (colds never stayed in my head ~ they always went to my chest) and I find myself grateful and, also, sad, knowing that a few months after that last cold my immune system turned on permanently. I read about other people with ME/CFS suffering with viruses and I knock on wood, cross my fingers, spit over my shoulder, pull on my earlobes and say toba toba to protect myself (yes, really. That’s not excessive, is it?)… But I also feel a stab of jealousy because that probably means their immune systems are healthier than mine ~ that they have calmed down enough to allow a virus to infiltrate the fortress.

That’s not to say I want to get sick. I don’t even want to test it. When my husband gets too close, I shoo him away. When I have to walk past him, I pull my shirt up over my nose. It’s comical, as if he horribly reeks. And I am an utter nag:

“Can you PLEASE cover your mouth when you cough?”
“Have you washed your hands?”
“Please don’t breathe near me. Just stop breathing.”

At least I say please.

He hasn’t taken a day off of work and, even on the weekend, he was in the garden, raking leaves and doing winter clean-up. I find myself fretting about him – not wanting him to push himself when he’s sick. This has probably been the most stressful year of his life because of my illness, plus he has had more landscaping work than many recent years and his job is all physical labour, out in the elements. I know I can’t implore him to spend a day on the couch, sipping Lemsip and chicken soup. It’s not in his nature. I’ve never seen him have a day like that. On Sunday, as he was in and out of the house doing chores, I said, “I really wish you’d rest.” He said, “This is resting.”

My husband could never get ME, though. That’s not in his nature, either. He sleeps well, never takes even a painkiller, he can eat and drink anything, can handle extreme weather… I’ve always had the sensitive system ~ I would love to have skiied in the winter, but hated the thought of cold and snow. I would have loved to lie on a beach all day in the summer, but have always wilted in the sun or become faint and headachy.

I’m convinced the main difference between us, though, is that he doesn’t care – in a good way. He isn’t a perfectionist, he doesn’t worry, he doesn’t feel guilty. I’ve always been an over-achiever. I want to do everything and I want to be the best at all of it. I’m turned into knots because there are tumbleweeds of dog hair all over the house and I haven’t sent thank you cards for the birthday gifts I received 6 months ago. I am guilty about my dog’s anxiety and sad that I don’t feel attractive anymore. I beat myself up about the sugar I can’t seem to kick and the money wasted on supplements that I couldn’t tolerate. I worry that I’m a bad friend and I’ll be forgotten and I haven’t made my mark on the world yet. My husband is happy to never socialise and doesn’t think twice about what people think of him and seems to always be perfectly content (not counting the last few years).

Yesterday, after he had worked, gone grocery shopping, gone to the pet store, picked up my prescriptions and cleaned the kitchen, I tentatively reminded him that the dogs need baths and my bedding needs to be washed and I’d really love help making my granola and detox soup (more on that later) and… if it is at all possible… we really need to hoover sometime…. I whispered this last one as I slunk out of the room and around the corner, out of eyesight (notice I still say “we” because I can’t bring myself to say, “You need to clean the house.”)

All this on top of his cold. Caregiving sucks. But I am lucky and very thankful to have one of the best caregivers and husbands out there.

Caretaker, caretaker, take care of me, stay by my side, help fight M.E.!

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26 thoughts on “Caregiver, caregiver, give me some care, take me somewhere, help wash my hair!*

  1. BONNIE JOHNSON says:

    YL, YOUNG LIVING WORKS FOR BRONCHITIS, TOO! YOU SOUND LIKE ME; YOUR HUSBAND SOUNDS LIKE MY HUSBAND!! ONLY HE’S 73 & STILL THINKS HE’S 40!! SOME MEN JUST DON’T KNOW HOW TO SLOW DOWN! HE’S ALSO THE ”POLLY ANNA” ONE.

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  2. findingmyinnercourage says:

    I laughed out loud at some of your words as I am exactly the same way. Excellent Blog! : )

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  3. Trisha says:

    Sounds like my husband. He usually just keeps on going when he’s sick while a little cold can knock me out for days. My list of worries would probably be very similar to yours too, but I like to pretend I don’t worry about stuff. πŸ™‚

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    • E. Milo says:

      I just said that to Claire’s comment- I absolutely always had myself convinced that I was a laid-back, chilled-out, no problemo, non-worrier! And I don’t actually worry, I OBSESS. I hate not being the ideal me that I envision.

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  4. Oh my goodness, when I read ” I worry that I’m a bad friend and I’ll be forgotten and I haven’t made my mark on the world yet.” you echoed my sentiments! Your story echoes mine in so many ways, but then that seems to be the common thread through ME. It seems we all share many aspects of the same story. I will tell you this – you are making your mark on this world sweetie. This blog is a lifeline for so many people who feel sick and misunderstood and forgotten. I feel less alone and scared after I read your posts. I often laugh at how you describe things, I empathize with you, and wish we could all give you a big group hug πŸ™‚ I pray that you will remain free of your hubby’s cold. Tell him what an incredible super hero he is and how lucky you are (he’ll like that I’m sure ;-). Rest well, Kristina

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    • E. Milo says:

      Kristina, that’s one of the nicest comments and compliments I’ve ever received. Thank you so much for saying you feel less alone and scared after reading my blog- that makes it all worth while! I wonder sometimes if it helps anyone out there. And I will tell my husband- I’ll write him a card right now. Thank you again for your comment. I’m flying!

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    • BONNIE JOHNSON says:

      KRISTINA–YOU R A BLESSING!!!

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  5. Claire says:

    Wow, if there’s a theme running through the people I’ve spoken with , it’s the worry wart factor. So similar!
    And yes, I’ll be humming that tune all day now. Thanks

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  6. Curiosity says:

    I still always say “we” as well. As if somehow my reminding service makes it a joint activity…

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  7. rachelmeeks says:

    Such a sweet post. ❀

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  8. It kills me when I’m not healthy enough to help out around the house, but it does have one distinct benefit. I have learned to let many things go that really don’t matter, and while I would LOVE to have them done, they’ve become a bonus when they do happen.

    Give your husband an extra hug tonight, eh? And tell him we love him–from blogging women everywhere.

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  9. Christine says:

    Seriously, we’re so similar it’s eerie….even our husbands are similar!! And my husband just had a cold too, and was raking leaves! I swear, this is odd, lol!

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  10. Solyssa says:

    Wish I was just next door to come wash your sheets and do some hoovering! He is a super hero;) I hope he keeps the cold to himself and is rid of it soon himself. Hugs.

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  11. Debi says:

    Wow, this particular blog hit home with me on so many levels. I still say “we”, when we both know I actually mean “you”. I no longer have the stamina to do anything, and my husband has become my full time caregiver. On those days when I am feeling very sorry for myself, I just remember how loved I am by this man, that he has taken on all the daily responsibilities, and manages to make me feel loved every single day.

    And today, I also feel a part of an even larger family. One that is on the same road as “We” are. D

    Like

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