Caregiving is a challenge when back surgery is involved, and Stephanie admits it definitely challenges your marriage. Stephanie also admits that she, as a caregiver, thinks all caregivers need support for themselves too. With Andy “feeling fine” they are back to enjoying their life together and planning for the future. Their children are now getting married and having children of their own. She and Andy have been present for those events, and Stephanie is thrilled.
Where our physical relationship was concerned, it was obviously medication and prescription medication. It affects your performance, it affects your staying power, it affects your presence, just being present in the moment, or even being creative. Cause there’s kind of just one or two ways to do it with a back problem. I was alright with that, but then what was interesting, is he started getting frustrated because that was all we could do, that certain position or that certain way, and it’s like it was like rote. But it was hard because the more it got boring, to him especially, the more he got frustrated.
We just past the year point right around Christmas and he was doing so much better. Other friends were starting to notice, like Andy’s back, there is the Andy we knew and loved, there he is. So, it’s been a year and two months, and he is excited, he’s even talking about trying to dive again, I mean wouldn’t that be great.
Caregiving is a challenge. You can be a cheerleader but when you don’t get the crowd coming back at you, you kind of lose your motivation there. You kind of get to the basics of food, nutrition, hygiene, then you kind of don’t know what else to do. I think it puts a big stress on your marriage, it really does. You almost need somebody else to come in, we didn’t have the means to do that, to help. And I think that would takes the pressure off, so you could just be there for the kindness, and the nurturing, and the love, and it’s not mixed in with wiping their rear end, or making sure that it, everything hits where it’s supposed to hit, and just your basic hygienic care, it kinda takes the bang out of your buck a little bit.
I would say to another caregiver that has been in my situation, just try to be as honest and straight up as you can on what to expect. In my situation it’s been long term, but when I look back, six months isn’t really that long for us to see any kind of success. But I would probably say get some help, align yourself with a few close friends, one or two or three, that really love you, that really understand the situation. If you can afford it, try to get somebody in there to give you a break, so you’re not so stuck in every single aspect of the recovery. Get somebody to walk alongside to you.
Life after this back surgery is great because the one thing I can say is there’s hope. Andy has hope. I have hope. I’ve always have hope, but he really has hope. We just recently had a grandchild in August, and his daughter got married in October and he married them, and it was all about so many things were going right at the time where he was feeling better. We’re having a wedding and a baby. Now his daughter is pregnant. So we’re making plans for our semblance of the future. I mean how exciting is that!