I was sitting in the shower last night – I like to sit down, tuck my knees to my chest, and let the hot water pound on me when I’m feeling really bad – holding the situation with Lora and my health situation in my mind. Not actually thinking about either of them. Being aware that they’re there. Being aware of the throbbing pain left over from physical therapy earlier that day. Being aware of the throbbing pain in my heart from Lora’s current refusal to get therapy. Wondering how much worse the pain from either of those things was going to get.
And I thought to myself – what if this is the best that I’m going to get with my health? What if we work through the new health problems that I have, fix the atrophy, but the old problem is still there? What if this is really it?
I can’t stay angry at it forever.
So. Ok – there’s a lot of things that I can’t do. I can ask Jon to help on those things. I can also keep trying to figure out ways to do them for myself. There are many physical things that I’ll have to give up: scuba diving, horseback riding, swimming for exercise, serious hiking, being above to move heavy furniture myself or build heavy things myself, carrying heavy groceries, days where I’m out and about all day running errads, and more. There are also many physical that I can sort of do, or do for a limited amount of time: crafting, lifting a stoneware casserole dish, painting a wall, climbing a ladder to change a light bulb or clean a high shelf, easy hiking, some forms of cardio…
I know that when the pain gets really bad, the only that helps is to stay as still as possible for a weak or two. I can experiment more with ice and heat and temporarily go on heavy-duty anti-inflammatories.
So I sketched out the idea of a life where I cleanly give up all the things I can’t do, figure how how to maximize efficiency in the things I can do, and acknowledge that there will be times when I have to stop and do nothing but work and sleep and take strong meds for a week or two at a time, when my body hits a point where it can’t handle anything. I can try to work enough exercising in during the times that I’m functional to stay healthy, or at least healthier. I can focus on doing much healthier cooking and start looking into some of those ridiculous “much healthier” recipes that I keep hearing about (like zucchini bread whoopie pies or sweet potato chocolate pudding) to help mitigate living a much more sedentary life than I want while keeping my weight in a good place (one thing I learned dealing with this issue is added weight seems to add to the pain/pressure).
This isn’t anything near the life that I wanted. But it’d be making the best of what I can do and learning new interests and finding new passions to make it as fulfilling as possible.
And maybe at some point, if I keep trying different things, continuing to see different specialists, I’ll finally find someone who figures out what the problem is and helps me finally fix it. But in the meantime, I’ll no longer be consumed with fear and anger about it daily, and I’ll be making the best of my life, even if it never does get better.
Then I thought about Lora.
The biggest problem that I have with telling Lora “if you don’t get therapy, we all stop living together” is the pain that it puts me and Jon through. I don’t want to stop living with Jon. I can’t even say that out loud – when Jon and I were talking and I tried to say “If Lora doesn’t get therapy, then we can’t live together anymore.” I got the first part out. But I couldn’t get the end out of my mouth. It gripped on to my throat and refused to come out. I just…I can’t face that right now.
So what if Lora refuses to get therapy? What if she insists that she is fine and doesn’t need it? What if this is really it?
There are things that I can’t do if she doesn’t get help. I can’t be her friend. I don’t want to know more about her. I can’t have her be an important or large part of my life. I can’t depend on her for support – I don’t want to depend on her for support, because I can’t give her support – it would be throwing good energy at a bad thing.
But we could be acquaintances. We could potentially still live together, and spend some amount of time together, but focusing on spending time together the three of us, as a family, that would stop. I could be civil and kind to her without being deeply involved in her life. I’ll stop trying to get to know her and get back to spending time and energy on all my other relationships. I’ll stop tip-toeing around her moods. If she starts acting demanding or unpleasant I can ask her to stop and if she won’t stop, I can leave the room.
I can let her know that the consequence of her refusal to get therapy is my friendship, my support, my help. I can help her like I’d help a stranger in need – willing to do a little, do the things that are easy or don’t take me too much out of my way, but past that she needs to ask someone who has more of a connection to her.
This is a less certain plan of action than the one I have for my body. But then, my body is much more about me alone (with some help from Jon that he’s already made clear that he’s willing to give) and this would involve both Lora and Jon being on board with trying. I think that if the only options were that we try this or we stop living together, we’d try this first. Because for me, this is the only option other than not living together. If this doesn’t work, then we don’t live together.
And if it does…
This isn’t anything near the relationship that I wanted with Lora. I don’t think it’d be anything near the relationship that Lora wants with me. But it’d be making the best of what I can do so that Jon can live with both of us.
And maybe at some point, Lora will realize that she needs therapy and get it. If she does, then we can discuss having more of a relationship – assuming she wants one. I wouldn’t hold it against her if she didn’t. But in the meantime, I’ll no longer be consumed with fear and anger about it daily, and I’ll be making the best of my life, even if Lora and I are never friends again.
I need to think about this for a few days, to mull over if it’s really viable or a desperate pipe dream. I do have a strong feeling in my gut that this is it though; this is the only way that I could come up with a compromise where Lora doesn’t get solo therapy and we all continue to live together.