Thursday, July 23, 2009

Doing Obsession Right

Obsession is defined as the domination of one's thoughts, feelings by a persistent idea or image. I never really viewed myself as having an obsessive personality but I come pretty close from time to time regarding Marty.

Last night Marty got choked which led to coughing, hacking and wheezing for a while. It's not a phenomenon, it has happened before, it's just part of her wrestling with swallowing issues from the brain damage caused by the strokes. It just is.

My normal behavior when things like this occur is to be afraid and feel really anxious as I'm not entirely sure what to do and I'm not in control the way I like to be. There are too many unknowns, too many variables, it's just initially too much for my delicate little psyche. Then the next step is to get mad and try and find someone to blame, somewhere I can vent this very palpable anxiety. And after about 30 minutes of this I start to obsess.

I have to be doing something proactive, I have to be moving forward combating the latest crisis, be they large or small. Panic is never a part of it, action is always the preferred mode. I want to be giving Marty something, treating her ailment in some way, listening to her breathing or taking blood pressure, but moving to deal with the issue.

Last night was very typical. After I had a chance to go through my normal progression past anger and blaming to action I spent the rest of the night listening, poking, prodding and just generally fussing around Marty. After a while this really starts to get on her nerves. She never has like all of the poking and prodding and fussing. At best she tolerates it because it's easier than listening to me vent.

For the most part my particular psychosis has served us pretty well. It means I pay attention, sometimes to the point of aggravation for Marty and others, but I'm aware of what is going on with her. It means I know when something is different for Marty, and the differences in sounds or behaviors have been the key to catching some illnesses pretty early. Bottom line, it makes me a pretty good caregiver but a lousy golfer. I guess that's what was meant to be.

For the first couple of years of this new normal I kept telling people, including Marty, that my personality just wasn't equipped to handle this new role. I didn't ever feel like I was patient enough, tolerant enough, aware enough, or proactive enough to face the sort of day-to-day issues you run up against with a chronic disease. Really, it really doesn't matter whether the role fit or not. You still have to wear it in anyway your head allows. So I obsess from time-to-time.

Oh -- Marty -- she is sick. White blood count is up, not horribly, but enough to indicate an infection. The great and wise has her on an antibiotic and mostly she feels okay but acts like maybe a sinus infection. We will probably never know for sure. We should know by the weekend just exactly what bug we are fighting this time. And so it goes.

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