I kind of alluded to this very briefly in my post What If I Had Been Alone? My grandpa has been very sick the past few months. I was very reluctant to put a lot of details in that post, because he is a proud man. Even though he’s not a very tech-savvy gent and doesn’t know about this blog, I feel he wouldn’t like me putting his personal information on here. Someday, with his permission, I will make a detailed account of his story because it’s very important for diabetics to know. For now I’ll just say he’s a diabetic who ignored his disease for way too long and is paying the price. He’s not blind. He still has all his limbs. But he’s in constant pain and for a while he couldn’t even walk. He’s very lucky that his condition can be fixed, though I doubt he feels that way right now. Anyway, this isn’t entirely about that.
I want to talk about coping with a sick relative. Yesterday I just…it was a horrible day for everyone involved. It was a mess filled with communication fail, stubbornness and just overall angst.
Without going into too much detail, here’s a few things that I always knew, but really became clear to me yesterday.
- If your parent or relative can’t get food on their own without help, always ask them if they need anything. Even if you’re just passing through to use the bathroom.
- Take that extra fifteen minutes to make their food the way they like it. It won’t kill you, and wouldn’t you want them to do the same for you?
- Your parent or relative is probably really depressed. Losing your independence sucks, especially when you’re used to being the one who takes care of others.
- Depression and pain tend to make people angry. Your relative will probably say something hurtful to you. They might get angry and have short tempers. Maybe they’ll be stubborn and refuse to eat if you don’t make their food exactly to their specifications. I can tell you from experience, it hurts. Let’s just say I spent most of yesterday crying. The important thing to remember is they don’t mean it.
- Getting angry will just make things worse. When you’re angry you’re not any more rational then they are. You’ll snap at the rest of your family (who need your support), you’ll make yourself sick and you may come fairly close to kicking your dog. In the worst case scenario, your anger will drive your relative into a deeper depression. As much as it hurts, try to be strong for them. It’s hard, but it will help in the long run.
Yesterday I was angry, frustrated and tired. Wow, I was so tired. All of a sudden everything just became so overwhelming to me. That and being on the receiving end of my grandpa’s anger kind of ruined my day. Once my temper kicked in I blamed everyone around me, even my aunt and uncle who live two hours away. After I had a K-Pop marathon, I was able to calm down enough to think, “What happened to that awesome person I wanted to become?” I wasn’t being awesome or zen. Instead there I was butting heads with my grandpa, when I should know better. I’m the healthy one. I’m not in near constant pain. I’m still exhausted, but today on until he recovers, I’m going to make more of an effort.
Face it, in a lot of cases this person probably raised you. I know my grandpa was a big part in raising me. I’m sure during all that time they were taking care of you, you had your moments where you were a little douchebag, giving them all sorts of attitude left and right. And to think your worst problem was probably puberty.