Thursday, January 08, 2009

When You Are Sick

The advantages to being a full time homemaker when you are sick are manifold. There is no pay loss and no hurry to get well. There will be no anxiety about whether or not you can keep your job if your recovery is slow.

When you are ill, I think the best thing to do is go to bed. Taking too many remedies often covers up the illness, whether it be a cold or aches, and then you feel better so you keep working. In actuality, you may still be sick, even though you are walking around. Colds and other illnesses can keep you from sleep, but you can doze off at your leisure if you will get comfortable in bed. Flanked by a stack of soothing magazines and some favorite projects, you can set up camp in your own room.

My husband has always been very helpful when I have been ill. He calls me and asks me to tell him what to bring home. What would help me feel better? Just name it.

I was thinking about the husbands that we know, who are so much like this, mainly from the church we attend. One man has a wife that is in the advanced stages of the debilitating disease of memory loss. He holds her hand at church, and at home, he tries to see that she is warm enough, helps her eat, and is ever so tender hearted with her.

It is interesting that although she cannot speak to us anymore, she sings every word from the selected song in the songbook. Today he brought her to the ladies Bible class that I teach, helped her be seated, and brought her a cup of coffee. I led the song, "Shall We Gather at the River" and I heard her sing every word of it.

Another husband here is himself handicapped. He walks with a limp, because of a vehicle accident some years ago. He is still young, though, and he has such a concern for the comfort of his wife. He is always, always fixing things in the house: changing wallpaper, re-painting, adding shelves, removing things, replacing carpet with flooring, installing heat or air conditioning, adding safer windows, and so forth. It is all for the comfort of his wife and little girl. He just loves them so much. He also cares for his widowed mother and built a ramp on the side of his house for wheelchair or easier walking for the elderly.

One woman at church found out she had a terminal illness. Her husband immediately built her a sewing room and painted it pink. It is all equipped with sky lights and heat, a warm floor and everything she needs to spend many happy hours in her love of sewing and quilting.
There are a lot more husbands like this that I know, that show such careful attention to their wives during illness. It would take a lot of posts to describe them.

My friend who takes me to tea sometimes, says that her husband is always watching over her and asking what he can do for her. He is young but he appreciates her so much and appreciates having a home and family.

There are some men, I suppose, who are not so understanding or mature, that will not tolerate illness in their wives. These husbands that I described, seem to be even more attentive when their wives do not feel well. Perhaps they know it will hasten their recovery and they can be back to being companions to them. Their good care of their wives reminds me of the scripture from Proverbs: "Two are better than one, for when one falls, the other will lift him up."

picture from Victorian Trading Co.

For kitchen updates, go to Lillibeth's blog at Honestly, I just can't look at it. I'm back here in my room pretending to be in a hotel.


Mom of Five said...

I think for some husbands (the ones who seem to not tolerate illness in their wives), it is hard to see that their wives need rest. They are told to keep going to work, get up even when they are sick, and drive, drive, drive...even with sleep deprivation and illness. It is difficult for them to understand that sometimes the worst thing you can do is keep going.

My husband's mother passed away only one month after she was diagnosed with cancer. She was always the type to clean house and cook even when she was sick, but the cancer made her stop. She couldn't do anything, it progressed so quickly. She always taught my husband to get up and do things even when he was sick, so it's hard for him to understand when I tell him it would be better for him to take a day off from work and rest; and it's even harder for him to understand that I need to rest when I'm sick.

I have recently been diagnosed with a chronic condition, which I blogged about yesterday. Whenever I have an attack, or flare-up, it leaves me exhausted for days afterwords, and I have to rest more and let more of the housework go, picking up the pieces when I am better again. It is a hard thing to adjust to.

Sue said...

Thank you for your sweet reminder of what a husband should almost reminded me of the masculine form of Proverbs 31.

Deirdra Doan said...

It is always a peaceful and restful thing to come visit at your blog....

You might enjoy some of my posts in Dec. and Jan. Many beautiful snow photo's, and now a little story of my life. I read a little of your story in the book your wrote. It would be fun to have tea with you someday in Eugene when I visit.

Abounding Treasures said...

What a delightful post!

I experienced this 1st hand a few times when I received a mechanical heart pump to keep me alive until I could match a donor heart and my dear husband not only *held the fort* at home but drove 2 hours return 3 times a week to visit me!

Just before all this happened, we couldn't understand why he had been laid off a job he'd had for 13 years but soon we understood!

The Lord knew what was coming and He knew my husband would be needed at home and by my side, before and after my heart transplant!

When I was finally discharged almost 7 months later, he was called to a job that he hadn't even applied for, just 2 DAYS after I returned home!

Blessings to you!

Anonymous said...

Just to comment on the lady who can't talk, but can sing. My mum was a physical therapist, and found that this was very common in people who had suffered right-sided strokes. She found they enjoyed being able to sing so much, that she and they would sing together as she helped them through their various rehabilitative exercises. It made the exercises much more bearable for them.

candy said...

I too have a husband who likes to fuss over me :) As I do him as well. Its fun taking care of each other.
My husband has always opened the car door for me every day (without missing ONE day!) since we met over 15 years ago and I never even once asked him to do this. He just always wants to be a gentlemen. He was raised in Europe and was actually taught to kiss the hand of his wife to be romantic. At first I found that funny and different but soon came to adore it even though it still makes me giggle :)

I believe that its because I keep his home fulltime that helps him appreciate me so much and love me so much. He sees all I do and the care I make for our family and our home and he really does notice.

Im not sure if he would feel the same way if I were working outside the home full time and wouldnt be able to keep up my home nicely or care for my family as well. He would probably feel down and discouraged.
He always tells me he never wants me to work because he enjoys so much of having meals ready and the house clean and our life organized. I have to agree... coming home to a clean home and organized life is much better than coming home to an unclean home and unorganized life.
And whenever Im sick, he is always there to be helpful.

Its so nice to hear that there are more wonderful husbands out there too. Though I thought I had the only one haha

Lovely post!

Anonymous said...

Oh I do hope the information on the kitchen in your daughter's blog is not what you are encountering! How frustrating! I hope you are resting and will soon feel better. You need to let yourself have this time to renew your body. Jody

Nicole said...

Well I don't know if you've been reading my blog, Lady Lydia, but you couldn't be more right on this topic, and timely for me! I have been sick since New Years, first with a sinus infection and then a terrible, nasty flu.

Thankfully the illness was the worst over the weekend and as I only work Tues, Wed, Thursday now, I didn't have to call in to work. BUT, because I was sick at home I of course fel behind in my housework, and since I had to go right back to work (and because it's year-end and I am working extra hours) I haven't had time to really catch up at home.

On top of that, because I did go right back to work at full speed, I apparetntly didn't give my body enough time to heal, and just yesterday, after about three days of being well, I had a relapse and did have to call into work. So now, here it is Friday, a day I am not supposed to be at work and should be home working there, but instead I am at the office, and will likely be here late to catch up.

I am focusing on being thankful for the change I have been able to make in cutting down my hours, but I pray that someday I might, Lord willing, be able to be a full-time homemaker because the truth is even working part time my homemaking often takes the back seat.


RichFam said...

I, too, was struck by your paragraph of the woman with memory loss.

My husband is a Chaplain for Hospice, and sees people like this every day. Many of them are women who are unable to care for themselves anymore. Some of them still have husbands who are also unable to care for them, and yet, they choose to stay right by their wives, holding their hands and sitting next to them, just to be near them and spend a little more time with them before they pass on.

Sometimes, though, these poor women can get so frustrated by their lack of memory or ability to do the things they used to do. One of the things that my husband has learned to do during these times, is to simply start singing some old hymns to them. Nearly every time, the women will immediately calm down and begin singing the song right along with my husband, remembering every verse, word for word. By the end of it all, their frustration is (at least temporarily) forgotten, and they are satisfied in the fact that they still have some semblance of normalcy again.

It helps their husbands, too, because they get to witness the part of their wives they knew before the illness set it, as the women they knew and fell in love with, at least for a little while longer.

What a sweet post. :o)

Anonymous said...

For those of you who are blessed with gentle, caring, and attentive husbands, did you see that quality in him before you were married? As a single girl, I try to look for godly character qualities in single men and often wonder how much is really observable before marriage and how much is simply the grace of God that women in strong, loving marriages ended up with a giving and selfless man.

Lydia said...

In answer to the query about the kitchen: yes, that is our kitchen pictured over at Lillibeth's blog at The Pleasant Times. I do not even bother to look at it anymore. It causes worry. It would be like going into the surgery and watching your loved one get opened up and things get put in or taken out. I am leaving it to the experts. Another family helped us out so we could hire professional labor and get it all done right and swiftly we would not have to use duct tape, which I have learned, never worked on ducts in the first place. Our children always called it "goose tape" when they could not remember the name. Anyway, the leak has been fixed, but in doing it, water is not on in any conveniet form. It rains a lot here so we have no shortage when we need a bucket of water. The stove still works....and the computer. Lillibeth will keep us posted as the progress of the kitchen. The man who came to drill open the concrete told us that things like that always involved entire make overs with new floors and new walls, etc. and I can see why. One thing usually is connected to something else or causes a break in another place.

Lydia said...

In answer to the question about finding a good man who cares when a woman gets sick: these men were often just as dedicated to their fathers and mothers in their old age and their illnesses, as well as their sisters and brothers and grandparents. Over on guard the home, my blog about families, someone suggested it was abnormal to be caring for aged parents if a guy was 40-- but most women who are blessed enough to get such a man ends up having a very caring husband. My husband took care of his aging parents too and it aged him even more, as his hair turned white overnight it seemed. It is a hard job but he would not have forsaken them. Also some people think it is abnormal for young people to want to stay home with their parents when they are finished school and able to go out on their own, before they marry. Yet, these kinds of young people also make very good, loyal, caring husbands and wives. So many young people are intimidated by peers to get out from home and on their own. They think that a future mate will be turned off of the fact that they still live at home. However, the ones at home are more able to save their money and have something for their marriage, and also they tend to be more stable, more home body.

Lydia said...

Regarding early memory in people: the ones who are enduring this kind of illness are able not only to sing these songs but if there is a verse they do not know, they can READ it and sing those words as long as it is by the tune they know. Also they are sometimes able to read familiar passages in the Bible that they were brought up with or formerly read with ease. I find that interesting, in view of the fact that we were always taught to fill our minds with His word. It plays back to you when you cannot speak free hand.

Momzoo said...

My husband injured himself pretty badly the Monday befor Christmas. He needed someone to help him with everything for a couple of weeks, and couldn't really be left alone.

I have always known how important is was for me to be home with our children, but I came to realise how important it is for me to be home for my husband. I could be his care taker, and not have to worry about time off or loss of income.

There is also something that is so binding when you lovingly care for someone. He knows I love him, and he knows how much because I was willing to do the yucky things to make sure he was comfortible and cared for. I can't really express it well, but it is almost like caring for a baby, the caring bonds you and the baby. Caring for an adult loved one produces the same result.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that is some kitchen story. I love your daughter's writing style. Glad you have made some progress.

~ Ann

Unknown said...

sweet,sweet,sweet post! I especially loved the advice you gave to the young lady who inquired about finding a good man who cares...Just what I needed to learn before I make a mistake. Many thanks, Barbra

Unknown said...

My dh is like that. When I am sick he is there to take care of things and I for him. I think this is a learned behavior. B/c I remember my dad doing the same and hubby said his dad did too. His stepfather is the same way.
Hubby finds it hard to help me when I have been helping him in the shop. I'll be cleaning or taking care of meals and he'll be sitting down watching t.v. If I ask him he'll help. But when I am sick it is another story. And the kids are a big help too. They play a big part.

Mrs. Anna T said...

I have seen the truth of what you say here, especially during the first trimester of my pregnancy. I was fatigued and nauseous and just feeling so icky.

All my dear husband cared about is my comfort; not whether dishes are washed and laundry is done, but just my comfort and well-being. I am such a blessed wife.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post! It is true, everything changes when a woman does not have a job outside the home. I am so happy to be a sahw!

Katrinka said...

In response to Mrs. H, I think sometimes it takes a lot of grace to deal with the fact that we cannot always meet other people's expectations. To daily do what only we know is our best when there's alot around us going undone and perhaps others think we could do better. Maybe that's where the word 'patient' comes from in reference to ill people! I hope you can find a flow within your schedule that doesn't lead to exhaustion when you're healthy, too.

I have recently had to deal with a drastic change in my husband's abilities . . . I think the change had taken place some time ago, perhaps gradually, but I just became aware of it within the last 3 or 4 months. At first I was very impatient, because I didn't realize there was a real problem. But now the Lord is helping me to be loving and considerate to him. We're changing our lifestyle, and that will help, too, but this is something I really needed to learn to do. He is so precious to me and I want to be a blessing to him. And he has been so gentle with me when I was frustrated with him for not being the way he used to be.

Anonymous said...

I'm just emerging from some bad morning sickness, and I have been so greatful to be a SAHW at this time. I've been able to rest as needed. My husband has been a huge help. I'm happy to be feeling well enough to take care of things more, but happy to see that we easily made it work despite the sickness. I figure it's good practice for when the baby comes!

Anonymous said...

To the lady who asked if we had seen the gentle, caring tendency in our husbands before we married them: my husband cared for his terminally ill mother (she had leukemia) up to the time they had to hospitalize her, and then he was at her side until the end. He was completely dedicated to her. His father was also deeply dedicated; unfortunately he passed away before his wife due to an aneurysm.

Sometimes, though, it is important to remember that after caring for a terminally ill parent, they experience burnout -- especially if they experience sudden career changes, marry, and then have stair step children. Mine simply cannot any longer devote time to caring for me in my times of ill health. After four small children, financial difficulties, husband changing careers and going back to school, which has necessitated me going back into the work force (as a part time elementary school tutor), he simply hasn't the energy. Plus, he needs me to see to it that he takes care of his health....he puts it off usually because he feels he needs to spend more time working and/or studying to get through this very tight time in our lives.

So -- personally, I wouldn't worry so much about whether or not he is attentive. If he is now, that's not a guarantee that it will continue, and if it doesn't continue, that does not mean that he no longer loves you. In fact, he probably loves you more -- and is tired out trying to provide for his ever-growing family amid economic turmoil and under-employment worries -- things over which he has no control.