Tuesday, May 11, 2010
On my second visit, I was astonished to find my patient up and around, if a little slowly, making lunch and cracking jokes with her partner. I found her to be delightful, funny and wry; it was clear they had a familiar rapport, a give and take of sarcastic comments and faked outrage. It was a pattern familiar to me from my own relationship, and I noticed them testing me a little to see if I could understand, and even more importantly, respond in kind. I began teasing them back, and I could see them relax a little; we were part of the same tribe! After shooing her partner out the door to take a much-needed break, however, she turned more pensive. She began speaking of her fear, her dislike of being dependent and slow, unable to do the things she really wanted to do and tired of depending on others she didn't want to burden. I told her I understood, sharing some of my own history of illness and dependence. I could tell how much she loved her partner and her children, and how much she hated the idea of being a burden, and also of leaving them. It was an honor to sit with her during this time, and help in some small way by listening and understanding.