From Patient to Nurse and Back Again

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I still have a cold. I’ve spent the day in and out of bed, although I was largely symptom-free until later in the evening. Which is good, because I’ve had to take care of my wife, who had to have a tooth pulled this morning.

I like playing nursemaid to her, although she’s not fond of it. She tends to feel that she should be able to do anything she wants up to the brink of death, and it’s sometimes hard to help her with things beyond what I would normally do during the course of a regular day. I have to remind her that if the tables were turned, and I was the one that had the tooth pulled, she’d be telling me to take it easy while trying to stay as pain-free as possible.

I haven’t really done that much beyond what I’d normally do, to be honest. I’ve gotten her pain meds, I’ve refilled her drinks, I made dinner tonight – all things that I’d normally do (to be fair, she usually cooks and I usually clean, but tonight I’m pulling double duty). I think the issue is that she knows she’s not at her best and it frustrates her that I’m doing things because she can’t, not because I’m being nice.

Right now, my nose has slammed shut and my eyes are burning and I can barely see, while her pain is at 2/10, so we’re back to her helping me out. Roles like this change frequently between us, depending on who’s having the worse day. With both of us suffering from multiple mental illnesses, our situation can rapidly turn on a dime, so we have to be prepared to step up and take care of one another.

While she tends to dislike any situation where I’m doing more than she is, it’s a system that has worked for us for many years. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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