Friday, September 30, 2005

I surrender ...

… to ape something I said yesterday. I’ve always had a morbid fascination with those surrendered wives (well, I say always but they’ve only been around for about 10 years and only exist at all because of women’s lib). Of course, I could never be one, my mouth is too fond of being left to its own devices and beside, The Artist, would not, I think, have ever wanted that kind of responsibility.
Ours is a modern marriage, a blended family. We try to be a team and most of the time it works – The Artist has what he wants: to work as an artist and I have what I want: a third child after years of being denied (by virtue of divorce) and denying myself (that part of my life is passed – at twenty-four!!). We have no money to speak of, our car’s a c**t and we are trapped in the heart chavland. Apart from these minor problems we are for the most part happy.
Now, though, we are apart. I’m on the verge of tears often – last night at the school awards do I had to ask people not to be nice to me. Of course, they still were. I’m very afraid. Afraid of the immediate future: the possibility of being re-housed and the idea that that may well mean we are out of the frying pan and into the fire; afraid of not being re-housed and the idea of The Artist being in rehab for even longer than necessary. I’m afraid that every time this happens a little bit of what The Artist is to me is lost.
The thing I’m most afraid of is that this will happen again. I’m not afraid of having to care for The Artist but I’m so afraid of losing him.


ribbiticus said...

hi. here via michele. my prayers will be with you and your artist. you'll get through this, don't worry. :)

Badaunt said...

The two of you are certainly not having an easy time recently.

If nothing showed up in the tests, and there was no new stroke, isn't that a good thing? I mean, if there is no damage then healing is possible...

Rehabilitation is hard, but there is an ENORMOUS amount of study done on how to recover lost abilities after a stroke, and success is far more likely these days than it used to be. I know, because I had to read a lot about it when I was studying language and cognition for my MA.

About the surrendered wife thing, I've always wondered how it would feel to be supported by a man. I have supported myself since I was fifteen, barring the time after the accident when The Man and I were supported by friends and family. (He couldn't work because I needed him to take care of me.)

How would it FEEL to be totally dependent like that - a 'normal' wife? When I try to imagine living like that I feel sort of shaky and scared.

Weird fact: When I left the very fundamentalist sect I grew up in, I discovered the basics of feminism, which made perfect sense to me. I thought this was all old news to other people and that I was becoming 'normal' when I did this. However, I keep getting shocked by WOMEN asking me, "Don't you ever get sick of supporting your husband?"

The first time this was said to me I just stared. It had never occurred to me to 'get sick of it,' and I anyway I don't think that I support him any more than he supports me, only in other ways. These days, when I get this question, I ask whether they ever ask men the same question about their wives.

They never do, OF COURSE.

Cheryl said...

Please God, it won't be into the fire. If they rehouse you with The Artist's condition in mind, it has to be to somewhere less stressful - a street where he can get a full night's sleep; fewer kids or teenagers or rowdy sorts. Certainly they can't risk offering you a move that might be detrimental to his health, because of a possible ensuing lawsuit.

When my husband is away I confess I have one of the kids sleep in my bed - mercifully they are still young enough to think its a privelige.


Need someone to nag to or blow your top at in his absence, then email me. Its awful being without someone even just to roll their eyes with you when life plays up. Catch 22 is when your partner isnt there, life seems to do it more often, as well. Been there.

She Weevil said...

Hi Ribbiticus - thanks for stopping by and your kind words.

Badaunt - thanks, too. From what I can gather, not being able to find the source of a stroke is not unusual according to DR N. Also some damage doesn't show up straight away. It's clear he has had a second stroke and that while the damage is less extensive it is more profound. I agree that the amount of research into stroke post-stroke rehab is very encouraging and I know we are very fortunate that we live close to a rehab unit. Thankfully - his speech has been relatively unaffected this time just a little slurring - no aphasia as far as I can tell; short term memory seems a bit affected but not sure wheteher that is all just part of the apathy.

My first marriage was lived under quite tyrannical conditions: the first time he was chauvanistic I just thought he was joking having been brough up in a family with only girls we were encouraged to do what we wanted to do not what gender stereotypes dictated. Once I'd had AD and I had no money - things became very hard - he even moaned about buying tampons. I became very depressed - thankfully he met someone else.

Mrs Baggage - thank-you so much. I'm really quite fine on my own - did it for five years anyway. Uncertainty and upheaval bother me and the hole, the enormous cavern that has been left. Sometimes I feel like my left lung is missing and I can't breathe.

I know that everything, all the logistical things will come good and sort themselves out even if it involves me kicking partitions.

People don't generally mention the emotional changes stroke brings about: those are the hardest to cope with - all the rest can be got around, but if someone is fundamentally changed by this then ...