An Interview With My Primary Carer
I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. My wife, Jane, who’s also my primary MS carer, went away for a few days last week, and with absence making the heart grow fonder and all that, I thought I’d strike — if she came back!
Fortunately, she did, but I somehow doubt she wanted to. Paranoia? Nah. It was among the first things she told me upon her return.
When I floated the idea of interviewing her, she said she’d only agree if I did it professionally. So, I put my journo hat on and started.
“Jane, can I just check the spelling of your surname, please?”
“Jane D-A-V-I-E-S,” she replied dryly.
Hey, this was a pro start. Only a rube doesn’t get the basics right.
“You never liked nursing,” I said. “So, what was it like to go from zilch to dealing with a lump like me?”
“Well, I didn’t go from zilch. I’ve had two kids that I nursed or looked after when they were sick or emotionally upset. Also, if you remember, I looked after my aunt in Wales when she was dying, doing everything she needed. I then helped with my mum and my dad at the end of their lives. Luckily, I’m from a big family, so the load was shared. Your diagnosis was in 2009, so this was all while I was dealing with your deteriorating condition!”
As usual, I’ve been put in my place. Which is especially galling, as I have to be put in both my power wheelchair and my bed. Grrr.
Fortunately, my real deterioration only occurred after those awful events.
“At the moment, we seem to be on a plateau,” Jane continued. “You’re not getting substantially worse, and [your MS] is relatively well-managed. We’ve now got the support of the carers coming in every day. The main change is the lack of freedom. [I went from being] relatively well-traveled and going where the mood takes me, to suddenly having to be here every day till noon. It’s also quite physically demanding getting you out of and back into bed. Next question!”
“How do you deal emotionally with a husband who’s now in your care?” I asked.
“Emotionally, with great annoyance. [laughs] Because [I’m] dealing with your personality. I always try to do the best for you, so you’re not in pain, discomfort, frightened, or whatever. But you haven’t changed. If anything, you’ve gotten slightly more irritating. And that’s difficult, as you were pretty irritating to start with. It’s hard now because a lot of our lives is just about care. Which is very different from before. We were both pretty independent people with our own interests.
“Sorry, what was the question? Emotionally? By staying very calm. Which I am, generally. Even when there’s a major problem to deal with, like you dropping your bag!”
Me, overreact? Irritating, moi?
There’s no photo. The interview was pushing my luck. My wife has never been one for such fripperies.
I might be annoying, but even I know my limits — unlike Jane, who used this opportunity to moan about me for two hours!
A great punchline, if only I had the temerity to write it. Thankfully for both of us, Jane did.
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