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Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Weight of Responsibility

Suzie has been rather unwell this week.... Not seriously ill in a worrying way, but a bit queasy and nauseous with an upset digestive system. That, in itself, has been hugely tiring and draining for both of us, with all the extra energy needed to cope with this problem. Suzie has felt pretty weak and washed out, generally fed up with it all, and, obviously, reluctant to go anywhere other than essential appointments. I've been tired and unable to accomplish any of the tasks I'd hoped to get done, partly because I just don't have the mental or physical energy to get on with them, and partly because I can't get started on anything that needs my concentration knowing that Sue is likely to call me at any time.... And with her current problems, if she calls me, she needs me NOW, not in a minute when I've finished what I'm doing!
Something that this week has done is to reinforce the immense sense of responsibility that comes with caring for a loved one. When someone so very precious to you is seriously ill with MSA, cancer or any other chronic illness, it's a huge responsibility for the carer to constantly monitor their symptoms, evaluate new symptoms as they arise, and to make accurate judgements about if and when medical assistance is needed. This had already been brought home to me last December on that dreadful night when Suzie's breathing problems hit crisis point. That agonising, heart-stopping feeling that engulfed me when it became clear that I should have acted much sooner than I did and that Suzie was very dangerously ill........ That memory is never very far away. 
What Suzie has had this week is most probably just a bit of a 'tummy upset'. But could it be something more serious? How long should we let it go on before deciding that it needs proper medical intervention? What other symptoms might indicate that we should be calling the Doctor? Am I being paranoid thrusting a thermometer into Suzie's ear to check her temperature every time she says she feels a bit warm? Obviously we don't want to be pestering the Doctor every time Suzie is a bit under the weather, but neither do I ever again want to feel the pain of knowing I had put her life in danger by not calling for help sooner. 
When you love someone so very much their safety and well being take on an immense sense of importance and priority. Inevitably, the weight of carrying the primary responsibility for that safety and well being is equally immense. Maybe it's something that will get easier in time.... Or is that just me being optimistic?