I am about to admit something big. Just be prepared.
I am scared. I am scared not about dying but rather about living. I am scared about what is ahead.
For the first time in 25 years I am not working. With no hope of working. And about to receive my last paycheck. And have already received my last unemployment check.
For the first time in a long time I have to depend on someone else to bring in money to the house. For the first time in a long time I won't be a big part of our finances. I am applying for disability and have heard horror stories about how long it will take.
I am afraid maybe they won't think I am disabled. That maybe my doctors won't code the application right and it will be denied. That my primary care physician who is so laid back with me will be laid back with my application.
What will we do? What will we do? I have taken out long term disability insurance. I have contacted them and started the process. I have paid big money since being laid off for this insurance. What if it was all in vain?
And if this wasn't enough to worry about, I am worried that I am no longer being seen as the strong, independent woman I was. I am afraid I am being seen as a patient.
I love my husband and I know without a doubt my husband loves me. I know he would never leave me and will always be there for me.
But what does he see when he looks at me? Does he see the vivacious, sexy (yes, James once saw me as sexy) woman I used to be or does he see me as the sick, frail woman I am becoming. No matter how much good, healthy eating I do, truth is I am sick. I have bad days. Really bad days. I breathe bad, I have a hard time walking and I have chest pain. Here lately I have dealt with low blood pressure that has put me down. I use a walker when I can walk and a wheel chair when we go places.
James is responsible for helping me get around. That means he has to push me in a wheel chair when we go anyplace. I am a big woman. That isn't easy.
I have seen my sister struggle taking me places. I wonder how she does it. Sometimes I wonder if it is worth the effort to go anywhere.
I remember when my mom had her stroke. Mom was 30 and Dad was 33. Younger than I am now. For all intents and purposes, Dad lost his life mate. He became a caregiver. No longer were decisions made by both of them. Going places involved all planning done by him.
Daddy loved Mom. It was 1971 when Mom had her stroke. At that time, men didn't take on household duties, such as raising kids. It would have been perfectly acceptable if he had put Mom in a nursing home and us in an orphanage. It happened all the time.
He stayed. He took care of her and of us. He later took care of his mom. He was a caregiver.
What I did see though was a lack of romantic love. No more kisses in the kitchen. No more playful tickling. Mom was his wife, but she wasn't his WIFE.
And he had an affair early in that time when Mom was just recovering. This isn't a secret. Family knows about it and anyone who was around at that time knew about it. It was short, but it was an affair.
I don't blame him a bit. In fact I am surprised there weren't more affairs. But Daddy being the Christian he was, he knew it was wrong. He knew that wasn't who he was.
But seeing that in my Dad makes me wonder about my marriage. Will there come a time when James will no longer see me as his wife and more like a patient?
James would say no way. He will be angry to think I even have these thoughts. But they are real.
The less I get away from the old Donna, the more I worry. The old strong Donna. The one that had a real job and a name in the community. The Donna that didn't take as much as she is now, but rather gave. The Donna that made decisions and didn't doubt them.
I know. I will hear "turn it over to God". And I have. But it is so hard. When you are in the valley it is hard to believe you will ever be on top of the mountain.
No I am not depressed. Yes I know depression is real and I have dealt with it before. I am not spending my days crying and all these thoughts don't consume me.
But I have them. I think anyone who has ever dealt with an illness has had these thoughts.
So there. I have poured my heart out. I don't have any answers. Time will show what will be will be.
Thank you for listening.