Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Caregiver Blues

My husband was the one who was supposed to feel tired, cranky, even depressed.  He was the guy with thyroid cancer who, in preparing for an iodine radiation treatment, had to go cold turkey on his thyroid medication and stick to a low iodine diet that put dairy, almost all salt, soy products, and everything from the sea on the "NO CAN EAT" list.

And that's the easy part.  The real challenge would be the week he'd spend in total isolation, unable to leave the house for anything -- not a few groceries, a book of stamps, a DVD, a movie, an evening with friends.  Nada.

Why?  Because the magic radioactive iodine pill he would swallow would render him . . . well, radioactive.  And being radioactive is not a good thing.  You're a walking mini-Chernobyl or Fukushima Daiichi.  

So, while Radioactive Man lounges on the new memory foam mattress, I'll sleep on the oldie but goodie that we deposited in the guest bedroom for our infrequent overnight guests.  And while the guy with cooties basks in the whirlpool bath, I'll monkey with the old shower that never turns off completely and runs either too darn hot or much too cold. 

I'd planned on keeping a journal, detailing my husband's slow but steady decline.  We were warned that his skin could get dry and flaky, his hair might fall out, and that his salivary glands might become swollen and painful.

To date, he's doing just fine.  

I'm the one whose had a bad ten days and counting.  I've had the worst backache in recent memory.  My stomach has turned against me, and, with the heat wave that shows no end in sight, I'm glum, if not downright depressed.

What's going on here?

Have my attempts at being "strong" for my husband kicked me in the gut?  Am I that stressed for fear of his health that I put a damper on mine?

Or is this all simply a matter of chance?  I just happened to throw my back out and pick up some little bug along the way.

Something tells me that it's Option #1.  I've got the caretaker blues.  Like all other dips, this one will pass, followed, I'm sure, by a time of calm, quiet, and whole body.  Looking back, I'll remember these couple of weeks as a blip on the radar and a testament to "taking one in the name of love."

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