Saturday, 1 November 2014

Empathy

Some experiences in life give the opportunity for a bit of empathy for those that you live with, and give you a better understanding of what happens when what you take for granted is taken away from you. This week has given all of htose in the house to do precisely that.

On Monday night I had a stabbing pain in my abdomen and it just didn't seem to go away, it just got worse and worse. After trying hard to ignore it and then curling up in a ball on the sofa, I was eventually conviced by my wife to take a trip to A&E in Polán. I was inspected and prodded by a friendly village doctor, and then told to go to Toledo to the main hospital as they thought I had apendicitis. After a few hours, it was confirmed that this was probably the case and the next day it was decided that I should have an operation.

So I now find myself with a tummy full of staples and in a state of empathy; my other half is also in the same condition.

I say empathy, because I now have a deeper understanding of what it is like to have been operated on and trying to function normally. It would be seriously crass to compare the pain after a simple apendix operation to that of having given birth, but I now understand a lot of the complaints that Sonia had that I really couldn't have before. I have lost most of the use of my abdomen, can't bend down for things, can't lift weights, and am generally unable to do ten thousand simple things that are taken for granted every day. I now understand a lot of her worries after giving birth, a lot of the things that she wanted to do but couldn't which just seemed perplexing at the time. Back then she seemed fine, so why couldn't she walk to town and back with me? Why couldn't she give me a hand with a few of the things that needed doing? Surely a few bags weren't that much weight?

Now I am in that situation and can see it with a much clearer perspective. Even the mundane thngs like coughing and sneezing cause a lot of pain, bodily functions become a source of panic, and getting up and sitting down seem to take hours. It's frustrating to watch everyone else beaver on around you and not be able to do anything any quicker than a snail's pace. Sonia has battled on and managed to keep everything going, get the kids up and to school, and to look after her wibbly burden of a husband.

She has said that it's now that she realises how much I actually do, and how much I am in charge of too, the kids have always been my responsibility, getting them ready, dressed and to shcool in the morning, making the beds and tidying up before going to work are also my domain. When she needs anything then I'm there to do so without complaining whatever time of day or night it might be, because that is my role as her husband.

So we now have come a lot closer having understood each other by being forced to take life on from a new perspective. As said previously I would never presume to understand anyone, no matter their age / sex or condition, however, any opportunity for empathy should be taken on to bring greater understanding of the people that surround us. I have tried to walk a mile in her shoes, but I can't cope with the heels or the distance yet - which only make those shoes ever more admirable for all that they do on a daily basis.