Monday, September 5, 2011

Carol is My Fifth Child

Carol is my fifth child.  When she was little, her Care Bear was Grumpy and she identified with Eeyore.  It became a joke.  Carol always saw the gloomy side.

She married John who was quite caustic.  Maybe her gloom protected her from his acidic personality.  When she was 23, she was diagnosed with RA.  Her baby was three months old.  John died seven months ago.  Now she is 45, totally disabled, and lives with me.  You would think that Grumpy Bear and Eeyore would define her personality.  At least they seem to fit the situation.

Now let's view her through a different lens.  When her pain is intense, she wants medication and alone time.  She doesn't complain or gripe.  She likes to have the Golden Girls or I Love Lucy on TV--nothing too loud but always funny. 

For more active viewing, she likes game shows and food shows.  Jeopardy is her favorite.   She is a good player.  She is very quick on responses and knowledgeable about questions.  She claims she doesn't like school, but she knows a lot of facts about history, biology, and current events, and she is very analytical.  Basketball and Tennis are her favorite sports.  She is knowledgeable about the players and coaches.  She was thrilled when the Mavericks won the NBA title.  She was upset when she slept through one of Roger Federer's games.
She also likes more demanding plots like stories of intrigue and mysteries with red herrings, and of course, a good love story.  Since her activities are severely restricted, TV occupies the majority of her day.   She will engage in a lively discussion of foolish behavior of celebrities, and she has little patience with the commentators who exploit them.

Difficulties with sitting on pews restricts her involvement in church activities. When she goes to church, she likes a preacher who deals with the Bible passage and gets serious about why we came. Even though it may be painful, she does not enjoy the light and easy kind of worship.

Over the years many caretakers have commented on her resilient spirit and attitude.  She is always ready to try a new course of treatment even though none of them has provided much relief.  Don't let anyone tell you that artificial joints don't hurt--Carol will argue!  Phantom limb pain is real pain even though the limb isn't there.  She is able to joke about these things.  

In a strange and paradoxical way her limitations and scars, rather than limiting her growth as a person, have revealed the spirit within as generous and joyous.  I am constantly supported by her infectous optimism--optimism that knows that pain is real, bad things happen, and we go on anyway.  God has blessed me to allow me to carry some of her burden.

1 comment:

unikorna said...

Carol is a brave woman, Carol is my hero and her mom is a beautiful example of strength and love. I am sure Carol has a lot of frustrations, I know I would, but the fact that she can be more optimistic than me, for instance, speaks a lot about her strength and endurance. I would love to find out more about her, maybe even some pictures, with you as well, your house, your city :). I imagine you Gayle as one of those fascinating Southern ladies that I have read about in the books.