Wednesday, November 25, 2009


When I think of suffering on my side, not taking into account any of Janita's challenges, I think that broken communication tops the rest.

I suffer when I am having a conversation with her and in less than two minutes flat, she is feeling attacked by my questions and I am feeling misunderstood and judged as a careless, insensitive, ignorant, idiot man!

Negotiating everyday decisions that we must make gives me most of the time a great apprehension. I have learned to expect a huge war when we have to discuss various options to an otherwise insignificant issue.

Here is an example:

she: -I need to eat soon! (she suffers from something that looks like hypoglycemia) I need to eat.
me: -OK, I'll prepare some lunch.
she: -I need to call the place where hey sell Christmas trees. I can;t find the number. I need your help.
me: -I'm busy with lunch right now, can we make the call later?
she: -No, I want to make the call now. (She goes and find the phone book and starts looking for the number. A few minutes later she calls me.) I can't find the number! You don't want to help me. I need a man that has compassion and helps me.
me (beginning to feel impatient): -Why can't we wait until after lunch to make the call? Here, let me see the phone book... Here it is! I will call them... (Hello? I would like to know your hours of service...thanks. While I am talking she asks me to get prices... I really hate that someone talks to me while I am on the phone in another conversation, so I selectively tune her out).
she (just a second after I hang up): -I wanted you to ask for the price. I told you four times but you never listen. Why do you hate me so much? Why are you so angry at me? I can't take it anymore!.
me: (without answering her complaint I go the kitchen to make sure nothing is burning, and serve lunch) Lunch is ready! Come and eat. I thought you needed to eat right away! That is what you told me.
She comes and sits in silence with an expression on her face of utter disappointment, almost rage. She takes a couple of spoons of food and stops. Then she says: -I don't why you hate me so much. I asked you four times to get the price. Instead, I had to call. I have aneurysm, I can't talk. It's really hard for me to talk on the phone. It was easy for you to do it, but you hate me and don't want to do anything for me. Now you are silent, You are angry at me for asking you for something.
me: -but...
she: -you see? you interrupted me. You don't care for me.
She starts crying hard. I try to explain that I felt pulled in many directions at the same time. I thought the most important thing was to have lunch ready and then we could make the call...She cries even harder. Suddenly she stands up, throws herself on the floor and continues crying, saying in a loud voice: -Why, why Lord, why is he so hateful? Why he doesn't want to help me?

After a while, I helped her to the sofa. She is unsteady and can't talk. She show the same symptoms as when she has had a seizure. The day is shot. All plans are thrown in the garbage. We will spend the day in painful silence.

I feel guilty for having punched her buttons and make her react this way. I am concerned that she will have a seizure if she does not control her emotions. My confidence gets shaky. I begin to agree with her that probably I am the worst caregiver on the planet, that she would be better of if I disappeared...
I asked myself: What am I doing here? Why do I have to put up with this suffering? I see her suffering and I cannot even help her because mine is overwhelming. What is the use of having two people crippled by pain, uncertainty and a very feeble communication that is made worse by her aphasia? I feel we are in a path of assured mutual destruction, and my mind tells me that this idea is as ludicrous as when Reagan made it policy is the US. I thought I stayed with her because I love her, but clearly she does not see or even hears any of what I do as love. I feel I am at the edge of a pit of despair. Stripped naked of my loving intentions, unable to communicate in a meaningful way with her, without sufficient patience and caring, I am sliding down; a great dark feeling of disappointment, of insufficiency covers my heart and my mind. I escape the only way I know it's the least self-destructive: sleeping.

Suffering for me is the death of my hopes of having a healthy and happy marriage. Suffering is realizing that the woman I married is trapped inside of a body with a broken brain, and that I am no prince or I can't set on a quest that will bring her out of this situation; that her brain will have to do most of the work without my help. I suffer when I realize my inadequacy to help her the way she needs to be helped. I suffer when I see most friends quietly disappearing from her day book. I suffer when I realize I don't have any answers to her questions, nor most of the medical practitioners we have seen. This is way beyond human comprehension, so I acknowledge that this belongs to to realm of faith and divine intervention. I suffer when I realize that my faith is weak like a bag full of holes. Suffering is acknowledging my powerlessness.

Then again, maybe when I am at the end of my rope, is when I can learn to look for God.


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