Sam and I had another little discussion last night. All he wanted to do was sit on the patio and smoke. I needed his help.
I was making a few changes in what was one of the kids bedrooms, will now be the den. There is a futon in there that I was folding back into a sofa, or at least trying to, but Monster was dead set that he had to lay on it, in the middle, and I couldn't fold it with the added weight of the dog. I called to Sam for help and got the now usual, "in a minute, I'm having a cigarette."
Yeah, except that 1 cigarette very quickly turns into 3 or 4 while he sits reading a book and lighting the next one off of the first. He doen't even realize he is doing it. So I sturggled with the futon and the dog myself. I was done by the time he managed to come into the house. Then I set up my easle in there, so I can paint. I put an old sheet underneath it to use as a dropcloth. Monster decided that he had to lay on the dropcloth, making it difficult to position my easle for maximum light. I ended up yelling at the dog out of frustration. That brought Sam back into the room to see why I was yelling, which was followed by him telling me "you don't need to be doing all of this right now or by your self."
Yeah, that didn't sit too well with me. So I explained that I did have to do it now, while I remembered exactly what I wanted to do with teh room, and that if some one else could actually control his smoking so that 1 cigarette didn't turn into 3 or 4 when I needed help, I wouldn't have done it all myself.
He told me I was being overly emotional again and maybe I needed to have the doctor increase my zoloft again. I SO wanted to hit him at the moment, but I didn't. I told him my zoloft level is not the problem here, the way I see it, it is that I am being expected to be just as "on, in control and independant" as I was pre-stroke, when I haven't even had time for all of the swelling in my brain to go down yet. He told me to stop using the fact that I had a stroke as an excuse.
Well, that did it! I lit into him with every little thing I have been feeling since the stroke, and ended it all up reminding him that my latest stroke was exactly 1 week ago! Suddenly he didn't want to have this conversation any more.
I let him know that I had noticed that every time it looks like he is going to have to take even a modicum of responsibility for his actions in an arguement, he suddenly doesn't want to talk about it.
So then he did that thing where he tries to settle me down by "praying that God come into the arguement and bring me peace. I stopped him right there and told him that if he really wanted my to have peace, he would stop being to bloody selfish and actually help out when I ask for it. Then I went down the list of things I am already back to doing, and pointed out that it seemed to me that he expected that any responsibilities he had ended when he came through the door for the evening, or didn't come through the door because he spent the first hour of the time he was home in the evening out on the patio smoking! He told me I was blowing everything out of proportion again, so I asked him:
Who took the dog to the dog park this afternoon?
Who made dinner this evening?
Who cleaned up after dinner?
Who was working on putting the den together?
Who was entertaining the dog while they did it?
Who put the laundry in the washer, took it our of the dryer and folded it, while working in the den?
He "chose" not to have this conversation any more and let him know that he juist proved my point. So he skulked off to the patio and I finished up another load of laundry - HIS scrubs. When they were dry, I took them out of the dryer, walked out onto the patio and very uncerimoniously deposited them in his lap.
Sam took a look at me and told me my face was drooping again. "Small wonder, I'm the one that has steped, fetched, cleaned, cooked, done chores, finished laundry, and taken care of all of the animals in the house, INCLUDING the 5'8" gorilla on the patio!" Then I turned around and walked back into the den.
He followed a few minutes later with that" blast it, I have to fess up that I'm being a colossal jack - *beep* again" look on his face and told me that we obviously needed to talk about a few things.
I told him I had done all the more talking about it was going to do for the night, just like I had done all of everything else in the house and, frankly, needed 2 antacids and a pain killer. Sam "reminded" me that we were out of antacids. "No we aren't. There is a big bottle of them in the kitchen, where it always is."
"No, honey, don't you remember, you asked me for some last night, but they weren't there when I looked for them for you?"
SO I walked out, into the kitchen, and removed the bottle from its usual place, then asked him what that was. He didn't answer. I told him this was typical of his bahavior of late. He does what I feel is a half - *beep* attempt at whatever I ask him to do, and I'm expected to think that is ok, even when what I needed or asked him to do goes completely undone. It wasn't acceptable. Then I showed him were the benadryl he "couldn't find" was, next to where I had gotten the antacids, like normal.
Sam was starting to get that "boy I have really messed up and been called on it look," which where I would normally have let things go, but there was still so much pent up that I just couldn't. I told him about feeling like I have to go around behind him and double check every single thing I ask him to do to help me lately because he can't seem to manage to do it, but he acts as though I should be grateful for anything he does, and if I'm not, I have to put up with his sarcasm. "For instance?"
For instance, Sunday night, when we came home from his parent's house. I brought the dog in and immediately fed and watered all of the animmals becaue it was 9:00 pm and an hour past their feeding time. Meanwhile, he walks in with the left overs from Easter dinner and proclaims, in a sarcastic tone, " no, honey, it's ok, I got everything, you don't need to help me with it."
As if I had simply walked into the house and sat down, watching tv or something else. I was taking care of the animals!!! Just like I do every night becaue if I don't, he doesn't give them the right food or the right amounts. I really wish he would at least ACT like he cared one little tiny bit about any one but himself!
So now I get the "I work with patients all day. I'm tired when I get home from having to deal with their deficits and their problems. I don't want to have to deal with your too. I just want to take a mental vacation for a while. Why do you have to act like you had a stroke? Why do you have to remind me all of the time? WHy can't you just be normal again!?"
I left the room. I couldn't believe he had said that. "remind him?!" "Act like I had a stroke?!" "Be 'normal' again?!" He came into the bedroom and I looked at him and said "for the first time in 8 years, I am so upset with you that I don't want to be anywhere near you tonight. Not even in the same house." "Why can't we just make up so I can laydown and snuggle you til we fall asleep?"
"You can just forget that. This isn't going to just go away and there is no way in anything God created that I have ANY intention of getting close enough to you for you to 'snuggle" tonight."
"OK, what do I have to do to make you happy?"
"You have to take responsibility for the things you do and say. You have to stop trying to 'calm me back down' by getting the doctor to prescribe higher doses of zoloft. You have to actually DO what you say you will, when I ask for help, not just make it look like you tried. You have to ACCEPT that I am JUST LIKE ONE OF YOUR PATIENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had a stroke. I have a brain injury and the person I was the day before it happened is NEVER EVER going to come back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
"How would you feel if you lived more than half of your life being on top of every situation, planning for every thing that could go wrong for the lives of 4 other humans and various animals, push to be the best at what you did for a living, and keep the lives of everyone in your family on target abnd running smoothly, only to wake up one morning and discover that you could not remember huge chunks out of your marriage, your children's lives, your career, your own life, nothing! You can't even write a not to remind yourself to do something because the second you aren't looking at the not, you don't remember you ever wrote it, let alone where you put it! You will NEVER AGAIN be the same person you were the day before you woke up lost and confused, but everyone around you EXPECTED you to be that person and waves away the thought thet you can't do that?" THAT IS MY LIFE NOW, and I'm trying deprarately to figure out who the blazes I am and what the heck I'm going to do with myself from here on out!"
"Oh my God, have I really been such a tool lately?"
"I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry AND I apologize. How can I make it up to you?"
"stop being sorry and change your actions - I don't expect you to do it all in one day. I'm not looking for perfect. I'm just asking you to look past yourself when I need you to help me."
"I'm sorry. It just didn't look like you needed my help, just that you wanted t obe lazy."
"Sam, have I ever had a lazy moment in all the time we have known each other? Really, have I?"
"Well what the devil would make you think I was having one now?"
"I don't know, you just complain that you are tired all of the time. You don't want to go out on the week ends any more, you don't do all of the things you used to do in the house any more. Yo useem frustrated and angry lately.
"Yeah. I'm sorry, I just counted on you to let me kind of slack off when I came home from work. You used to let me."
"Hi, I don't think we've met. I'm Lydi. I had a stroke for months ago, then another one a week ago. It's really taken the wind out of me and I have to try to remember that I'm not able to do all of the things I used to be able to do. I don't even remember what all of them were. I'm married to this great guy, Sam, who works every day with people who are left just like me, or worse off, by injuries to their brains and spinal cords. He is a wonderfully helpful, sensetive, loving, caring, tender and understanding man. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to be around right now for you to meet him too."
"ok, I deserved that."
"I'm right here, Lydi. I love you more than anything in the world and I'm sorry I haven't been the man I usually am. I'll do everything I can to make it up to you. Can you forgive me?"
"There isn't anything to forgive. I know living with me is like forever being at work now, and it's just going to get worse. I'm sorry you have to live like that."
"Shhh. Don't be sorry. You didn't ask for the strokes. You've tried t odo everything you're supposed to and done everything we expected you to always do. I'm the one who is sorry. I love you so much."
" I love you too."
"Why don't you go get into bed, and put on a movie you like, since you aren't gonna fall asleep right away. I'll go make some hot chai latte and bring it to you. It'll help you sleep. Take the dog wit hyou. You always feel better after some 'furry therapy' and he loves you so much. I'll be there in a few minutes. I won't even have a cigarette again tonight, I promise."
I'm so tired of going round and round with this. When will we be out of this stage? WILL we ever be out of it?