Dependence

Without a doubt my life has changed.  This experience goes deeper than the confused stares I receive when walking into a room.  It also means, as the title implies, that I am now more dependent on others than I ever was in the past.  Initially in the hospital I was dependent on my wife or mom to perform simple tasks such as tying my shoes, or eating.  Now, although I am less dependent on others for these rudimentary tasks, I am not completely physically independent. For example, I still need someone with me to traverse stairs without railings.

———— Social Dependence ————

My dependence on my wife goes beyond the physical aspect; I am also more subtly dependent on her in the social arena.  Because of both the titubation and possibility of a fall, I do not attend large gatherings without my wife.[1]  This also means that she decides where and whom we speak to—I am grateful that she is there for me, but there has been an occasional instance when we are at a gathering and I do not say ‘hello’ to someone because I am following her lead.  I realize that she cannot read my mind and know to whom I want to speak, and it would only take a simple suggestion from me and she would take me there without hesitation.  But as I once described to a friend: “one of the disadvantages to my condition is that, I am often led places.”

This need of others is more obvious when I am not with Fleur.  In January this year, I took a trip to San Diego by myself, which entailed a three-hour flight to the San Diego Airport from Detroit.  My imbalance is usually enhanced after any stint of prolonged sitting.  Needless to say, I was quite wobbly leaving the plane, prompting another passenger to say to me, “Whoa, do you need help?”  I remember my thought at the time was that, I wish my wife were here to help me.

My wife and my younger son
My wife and my younger son

———- Speaking ————-

With my being voice affected, I try to avoid speaking over the telephone when I can—if texts or e-mails are an option I will use it.  At home, this results in more work for my wife.  I try to stay on top of tasks such as paying bills (although I’m not doing a great job with that) and correspondence to friends, but once the situation calls for a telephone call or conversation I immediately defer to my wife.  Even though she understands, I’m sure this is a source of great frustration for her. She has never, however, expressed or even hinted at feeling frustrated.

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I work on my speech every day, completing oral motor exercises on a daily basis.  My hope is that in the future, my speech will not show any trace of impairment and my conversations with others won’t be littered with “what?” or “excuse me?” Most of all, I hope I won’t avoid conversations and will be able to socialize freely.

—– The Lone Ranger —–

I’ve realized through this that no one goes through life or times like this alone. We as a society put Lone Ranger types on a pedestal.   Heroes in movies always seem to do most of their work on their own.[2] When John McCain ran for president, he attempted to revitalize his campaign by calling himself a ‘maverick’, implying that not only did he go against the grain, but that he often acted on his own too. However, at closer look, even the Lone Ranger had Tonto to rely on. The reality is we need other people; nothing is done alone. What separates us as a human race? It is our ability to communicate with each other—this allows us to work together—this is what separates us. Even though in my current condition I perhaps am more dependent on them than I was before, I would be fooling myself if I thought I didn’t depend on them before.

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[1] I’m sure there’s a psychological aspect to it.  If the titubation were to occur then she could explain it to those with me; holding her hand as I walk prevents any falls.

 

[2] There are a countless number of examples here. Characters like Superman, Thomas Crowne, and even James Bond.

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