Sunday, September 13, 2009

Two-person job

Being chronically ill is a two-person job. I don't know how those without a supportive partner/caregiver make it; it would be so much harder!

Before I got sick, I was a part-time activist and part-time hausfrau. Which means that I'd take care of the meal planning, shopping, cooking, errand-running, laundry, and most of the cleaning. Nick went to work and made money for us. Then in the evenings and on weekends, we had time to spend with each other, hang out with friends, or to pursue other interests.

Now that I'm sick, I can only accomplish a small fraction of what I used to do. So when Nick gets home, he's cooking dinner, then doing dishes, then giving me a Bicillin shot, then folds the laundry, then then then. On the weekends, he usually finishes up the house cleaning that I can't get to during the week. And when we do get "time off" together, it's not like I'm the most exciting company. Much of the time I'm too drained to do anything remotely interesting.

But this isn't about me. It's a shout-out to the caregivers who make trying to get out of bed a worthwhile effort (even if we don't always quite make it). During an illness, the illness itself and the person who's sick tend to get all the attention. But behind the patient is often a caregiver, and that person can make all the difference.

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