Friday, November 8, 2013

More Stories

***We have SNOW!!! A light dusting on the rooftops and trees this morning!!!  Really beautiful.***

Funny how some things show up all at once.

I met the wife of D's colleague a while back and had a chance to meet again over the weekend.  She is a stay at home mom with a couple of young children.  Used to work as an admin for a large law firm.  We chatted about a bunch of stuff, one of which was my food allergies which came up as she was observant enough to notice I was actively thinking while browsing a table full of foods. 

Turns out she suspects she might have allergies too as she gets pain and discomfort after eating certain things.  However, her husband doesn't Believe her...and won't "allow" her to go seek help in form of medical testing, even though they have really excellent extended health coverage! 

She behaves like she gave up all the rights to her life when she decided to be a stay at home mom.  And because she isn't currently bringing in any income (but supported him while he was in school), she feels like she has to ask permission to do stuff, buy stuff etc... 

Obviously hearing this really bothered me.  And in many ways, I'm the last person she should be talking to about this kind of stuff because I can get so worked up when faced with unfair things in general but especially when someone is clearly short changing themselves.  And I'll want to encourage them to overcome it as it's painfully difficult for me to witness someone being mean to themselves.  However, that may not be what they were hoping to hear. 

The truth is I have had a whole lot of "unfair" things (some quite horrible) happen to me growing up.  Knowing just how much it has taken to move beyond it, I tend to spring into action when witnessing self defeating behaviour. 

I thought her husband was an OK guy, a bit old school in terms of how he runs his household with "old European" views on family but seemed reasonable.  What happens behind closed doors can be very different.  I did have to rein myself in because I don't know her well enough to feel comfortable asking certain questions that may come across like I'm trying to create a wedge in their marriage.  But it sounds like it is might already be there.  And this is a couple in their mid 30s. 
I feel a key issue is respect.  Respect for a spouse that is doing non paid work.  Respect for the Mother of your children.  Respect for self/life/health.  I'll be the first to admit to having control issues but that level of it enacted on someone else can be construed as abusive if it is interfering with their well being. 

She doesn't have an assertive personality and I know I was trying to light a fire under her feet a bit but I believe you can be sweet and strong at the same time.  Personally I feel that makes for an even more attractive woman.  Her dream was to get married, have kids and not have to work.  So in that sense, she got what she wanted.  But being with someone who appears to not care about your health?  I know if it were me, I'd be feeling pretty hurt and neglected (and steaming mad).

Here's a contrasting story.

Our return out west allowed my buddy and I another opportunity to get together.  Things are still really tough on his end with respect to his wife's health.  It is still agonizingly difficult for her to work even two 4 hours shifts a week due to pain.  (remember she is an MD)

Because our week was so jammed pack full of assorted appointments and meetings, there was only one day that worked.  We went for a morning coffee at a French café D and I discovered and ended up having gelato instead.  Walked and talked with coffee after, then continued onto lunch. 

He looked at me with such sadness when he said that what we just did in the past few of hours was no longer possible with his wife.  What?!  Go for coffee, ice cream, walk on flat ground and have lunch at a restaurant over a period of 4 hours?!  I was speechless.  And the gravity of how much their lives have changed really hit me.  I immediately lost my appetite. 

I knew he had changed up his whole office schedule to accommodate her various ongoing appointments.   That was why he was able to offer me space.  He didn't feel optimistic that his life was going to allow for full time work anytime soon or maybe ever again.  But he has accepted what could be "the worst" and will continue to be her support for as long as it takes.  They are in it together.  His commitment to her is unfailing.  Almost made me cry.

When I told him of my upcoming laser surgery, he had an immediate reflexive mini "freak out" reaction.  That told me just how sensitized he had become with anything associated with health issues.  I had to assure him that it was not serious a couple of times before I saw that alarmed look in his eyes go away.  To which he replied with, in a very low controlled tone, neither was his wife's first surgery and look at how things turned out.  Fair enough.

He was really disappointed we weren't moving out there.  Told us we have a standing offer of lunch or dinner on him whenever we don't feel like cooking -- Just come on over.  I think we'll consider doing a short layover on route out west as we now have met a number of great people during this adventure and it would be super to see them all again. 

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