My Two Favorite Dorks

My Two Favorite Dorks

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The other side of things

It may not have been the smartest thing to create a blog, which I have pledged to myself to post on regularly, right before I leave town for eight days. But that's what happened.

Some of you know that my dad was in the hospital with lung/heart issues a couple of weeks ago for about a week. I drove up here to Cleveland last weekend to help out after he was discharged. I was afraid that I might have missed all the action but I was wrong.

When my dad has a bad breathing day, he has a bad breathing day. It means that it is hard for him to get up and walk across the room. Fortunately most days aren't like this for him. But being so soon out of the hospital, he has yet to get back to his baseline. It's hard to see stuff like this happen to your parents. I keep telling myself that it is a natural - albeit very difficult - part of life that most people go through. But that doesn't really make it any easier.

For my whole life, I was the one in the family with health problems. I was the one who would get sick, go into the hospital, be feeling like crap, miss work, need to learn to listen to and respect my body's limitations. And since my dad's health problems started becoming a little more predominant the last two years, I've seen what it's like to be the patient - the person everybody worries about and sends their love and well wishes to - from the other side of things. And let me tell you, it's a little bit of a trip.

I guess I have two observations about it. First of all, it is much harder seeing someone you love have health problems than having them yourself. Frankly, I don't know how T, my friends and family all handle it so well. When you are the sick one, at least there is an illusion of being in control even when things are beyond your control: I have realized how very much my loved ones go through.

Secondly, I think that one is a better supporter of a loved one with health issues when the person themself has had some sort of health issue. When someone is sick, people always want to help but they don't know how. But an experienced patient is more likely to know the kinds of things one wants in that situation - there is a fine line between being helpful and overbearing, empathetic and emotional, helpful and overly suggestive.

So yes. Every day I know that CF has taught me things. But today I can appreciate that it has taught me to be a better daughter, too. Something that is most unexpected.


  1. I've always thought I'd much rather be the CFer than the parent of one. I guess the same is true for illness in general; I'll gladly take it rather than have it bestowed on someone I love. I hope your dad recovers quickly and easily.

  2. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I know that Gess has a really hard time seeing other people when they are sick. I also agree that it can be really hard for us on the outside to know how to help. I have learned a lot in that regard over the years, but I still struggle with it and I know that others that want to support us have a hard time with it too. What this means for me is thinking about what can help in advance, so that I can have something to say when someone asks. Often during the "time" it is hard to think of something, but I find that if I know, x, y, and z help, I can just spout out those and it makes everyone feel better. I think that doing something similar and sharing that information with those that are around during this time can be extremely helpful.