Monday was our quarterly appointment for injections to help alleviate some of my husband's nerve pain. We love that doctor! He is more like a friend to us than anything. He sits there and listens. He truly seems to be interested in helping. As we talked to him he asked my husband how he had been feeling. He said about the same other than the increased pain he always gets this time of year from the weather. As he discussed some physical struggles he's had with weakening muscles, the doctor asked how his activity level was. My husband looked at me, which always means "You know better how active I am, so will you please answer?" I told the doctor the activity level had dropped drastically. He was spending about 5-6 days each week on the couch all day long. When I would try to get him to get up and around, he would tell me his pain was too bad. My husband then mentioned, "To be honest, I've probably just gotten lazy. I've gotten used to her taking care of things, so I just lay there rather than getting up and doing anything." I was shocked! I had been pretty certain his pain was truly keeping him down.
The next day was a pretty good day for him. However, the two days that followed were bad. He made it to the couch, but he could not move from the couch. His father called wanting him to go somewhere, and he just told him we had plans. He doesn't like to tell his parents about his struggles so they will not worry. On the second day of staying on the couch I thought back to what he told the doctor. So I asked him about whether he was just giving in to the pain and being lazy, or if it truly was so bad that he could not do anything. Although it upset him the rest of the night, he spent the entire night contemplating this question.
The next day, Friday, he was in obviously intense pain. I could tell it wasn't quite as bad as the days before, though. He took more pain meds than he normally takes (which turned out to be the actual prescribed amount) so he could be active. Although he had to work an hour, rest an hour, work an hour, rest an hour... he pushed through the entire day. We ended up setting up an entire garage sale that day... something we thought we were going to have to end up skipping. Today, with the help of his prescribed amount of meds, he pushed through the day again. We had a very successful garage sale!
This was a reminder to me of how easy it is to get complacent and, as the caregiver of a wounded warrior, how easy it is to allow your warrior to get complacent. We want to help them, and sometimes we end up doing so much for them in an attempt to ease their pain and burden that they rely on us for everything. They forget how to do things for themselves and how to push through the tough times. Yes, he was upset with me for an evening. But my husband knows how true my intent is, and how much I love him and want things to be good for him. Yes, there are struggles because of some of his difficulties, but we have a love and a marriage far greater than either of us ever imagined was possible. He knows my nudge is only an attempt to help him improve, and that little nudge was all it took to help him push hard through some tough pain days. At the end of these past two days he is proud of himself and all he accomplished. To me, helping my husband find that pride in himself again is one of the greatest successes I can experience.