Friday, August 20, 2010

Advice From My Brain Damaged Wife

I've said it before, Marty says it again, I hover. It’s just part of who I am, I have a problem, I admit it, my name is Marty’sHusband and I hover.

Before Marty's strokes I was a hoverer. When we had an argument, when things were off with us just a bit, I would, in her words, figuratively”take her pulse" or "check her temperature" to the point of driving her a little crazy. I would circle her, watch her every move and pretty much drive her crazy trying to get her temperature and the temperature of the room. I guess all of the practice of figuratively taking vitals helped me in the transition of literally taking her vitals.

I still do the same thing, I still hover, I still buzz around Marty like a big gnat with a beard watching for signs; now I simply check for different things. But, just like our little dachshund, Maggie, who is always up my butt, driving me crazy, I'm always up Marty's derriere, just watching, looking, checking to see if everything is alright; of course I drive her a tad bit nuts.

One of our caregivers, Nikkie, has a 14 year old daughter who has been having more than her share of physical problems, not the least of which are severe seizures. I've seen Marty have a couple of seizures, it's not for the faint of heart, and in fact it's one of the most frightening, disconcerting events I have ever seen. Xaveria, Nikkie's daughter has had several episodes of multiple seizures. I understand the stress Nikkie feels.

At lunch the other day Nikkie confessed her own hovering proclivities; it’s in her paternal DNA. Who can really blame her for excessively watching over her baby girl, who can blame any of us who hover incessantly?

I asked Marty if she thought I still hovered too much, thinking maybe I have done better with her recent spate of good and stable health. She of course said, "Yes, you do, all the time." One of the things about Marty that has not changed is you should never ask her a question if you are afraid of the answer, because she can be unfailingly blunt,

I looked at her and stumbled through my standard excuses of why I was a hoverer and how vital my hovering was to her well-being. I asked her if it kind of drove her a little bit, a tiny bit, nuts. She looked at me with her soft blue eyes, swallowed, took a deep breath, sighed, and said, "It drives me a lot nuts." I would hate for her to sugar coat it for me.

It’s why I fell in love with her, the frankness, and it never fails to amaze me. I said, "I just can't help it. I worry, I’m a worrier. I want to make sure you are all right. How do I quit that stuff, how do I quit hovering?"

Marty looked at me, stifled her laughter just a bit, grinned, and with all seriousness and wisdom said, "Just take two steps back."

Okay, from the mouths of the brain injured comes great wisdom. “Just take two steps back,” is great advice, but like so many things, easy to say, hard to do, to take two steps back.

“Two steps back,” is great advice for Nikkie, the caring mother, to keep from smothering her daughter, when she can. It’s a wonderful thought for me to keep from being the nagging husband to Marty. Its even great advice for those with Obama derangement syndrome, and it’s a perfect admonishment for those who are comfortable with discarding our 1st amendment to the constitution. In short, its pitch perfect for all of us who occasionally take ourselves, our tasks and our ideas too seriously.

Just listen to Marty and take two steps back and see if maybe, just maybe, all of the hovering and obsessing is actually helping; take two steps back and maybe your perspective will change, maybe it will be just a bit clearer for you. Sometimes seeing things from a distance really helps.

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