This is the story of Pam and John; she in her early 50’s and John is 62. Pam is a college professor. John taught at a local community college until diagnosed with Parkinson’s in March 2008, then Lewy Body Dementia in April.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

talking about my anger

John and I did meet together with the therapist today. John and I had talked about it beforehand, and I said I would try to let out my feelings in levels so that he could say stop when he couldn't take any more. He thought it would work best for him to just listen, not respond.

I talked about:

  1. I find the current situation very confusing--I don't feel confident in my own evaluation of what John can do and what I should do, much less how much it is progressing.
  2. I feel burdened by having to take over responsibility for that he used to do, plus going with him to his doctor's appointments and reminding him of things. I feel like it is more than I can manage.
  3. I feel trapped--I'm not likely to get the deeper relationship I wanted to build but now there is no way out.
  4. I am angry that the good things I hoped for in these 15 years before retirement have to be put aside to care for him.
  5. I feel that caregiving isn't the person I am or want to be.

John said he had a sense of those feelings in me but it had a lot more impact to hear it. He said that he and I come from different worlds (lower-middle-class Texas and old New England) and we have had enough in common to bridge that but now the different worlds are showing. He said in the world he comes from you make the best of what is. I think he was saying that my anger at the situation, my feeling that "I don't want to be here" was foreign to him.

He did say he never complained about taking care of me when I went through an intense healing journey. That is true, and he took over all the cooking for several years. But I still kept up most of my share of responsibilities, particularly the ones he wasn't good at. I was never hospitalized, never non-functional for more than a few hours or a day. This is going to be much worse.

He has been quiet since; at dinner we talked about everyday things. Sometimes he gets upset about something I've said not when it happens but late at night, so I'm still worried about what his reactions may be. I feel better to have it out in the open.

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