Friday, October 21, 2011

"I have cancer, I'm not an invalid".

well, maybe...

It is funny how pride and vanity are such a part of the human animal. Two days ago we were walking in the grocery store parking lot and she asked for my assistance as she was feeling quite wobbly after having just taken some medications. Now normally we hold hands just about everywhere we go. Yup, in the car, on walks, wherever. It has just been a part of our relationship since day one. But when a person is wobbly, holding hands is not the most secure way to support them, nor will it do you much good if they start to tip over or stumble. So I attempted to hold her by the elbow and upper arm. This worked into and through the store, but on the way out, she complained that it made her look like an invalid and she didn't like it at all. So it was back to handholding.

Yesterday at the conclusion of her chemotherapy, she was very unsteady. We went through the same drill. I told her I was very uncomfortable just holding her hand, as she was very unsteady, so for a few seconds we were at a stand-off. "Balancing" safety and appearance. We settled on the modified handhold with our arms interlinked and my elbow underneath her, looking like BFFs out for a stroll.

It is not such an issue around the house. But I do have to support her and guide her since the chemo yesterday. Hopefully that will wear off and she will be able to navigate the house on her own. We do not leave her alone at all, except for very brief periods. For the time being, she is under strict instructions not to get out of her chair unless we are around. The fall risk is pretty high.

We do have panic alarm that is linked to our home security system that she can push for assistance. It is on the table next to the chair she sits in most of the day. I think its presence is more of a mental assurance than a practical one - if something were to happen while she is sitting and we weren't in the room (a stroke, seizure) she'd be unable to push it. Or she would confuse it for the TV remote or fireplace remote. If she becomes relatively mobile and able to walk to kitchen and bathroom on her own, and we were not around, she probably could push it if she fell. But she would have to be wearing it (it has a lanyard for this purpose) and that she absolutely refuses to do. There could be no other bigger sign shouting, "I'm an invalid" than a panic button hanging off your neck.

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