By nature I like things to be neat and tidy. I'm by no means fanatical about it, but if I see a pile of papers, or a load of clutter I want to sort it out. Throw any unnecessary stuff away or put it out to be recycled. I can't stand not being able to get to something or being unable to use something because there is a load of 'stuff' cluttering it up.
Unfortunately for me, Eric is the complete opposite. He is a hoarder by nature, hates housework and is more than happy to have piles of stuff here, there and everywhere. He tends to just leave stuff lying around, items we've bought stay in their carrier bags rather than being put away. The kitchen was always one of the worst areas, as he never seems to put anything away after using it. Periodically I would completely blitz an area, throwing stuff out, cleaning and generally de-cluttering it. In between I would do my best to keep things tidy but it always seemed to be a losing battle.
Now, pre CRPS this wasn't a huge problem because I could do something about it. Now I can do nothing except watch the clutter build up and the place become more and more untidy. I have forced myself to ignore it as the years have gone on, only too aware of what Eric has on his plate just caring for me. Me complaining about the state of the place isn't going to help him when he feels overwhelmed with everything he needs to do anyway. There is no way I can help him much as I'd love to. Let me take the kitchen as an example. The distance to the kitchen from my chair isn't far but it may as well be miles away when walking is so difficult and painful. I simply can't get that far, even if Eric wraps his arms round me and we shuffle along together. I have a walking frame but no matter how hard I push down with my arms it doesn't give enough support. How then can I tidy, dust or put things away when my arms are constantly used to hold me up? Especially as the pain increases exponentially the longer I'm standing? The house is too small to use my wheelchair to get around, it only just squeezes through the door between the living room and the kitchen. I can't reach the work surfaces and having to have my legs up makes it even more difficult.
This blog post was prompted today because I let my frustrations overcome me. I wanted to go in the garden, something that sounds a quick and easy task but in reality takes ages. Eric has to move stuff around in the kitchen before he can open both patio doors. The wheelchair itself always has stuff piled on it, which has to be moved somewhere else, usually onto another pile. Other bits and bobs get shuffled around. Once uncovered he then has to find and put the leg rests on, get my fleecy thing, manoeuvre the wheelchair into the living room. In the meantime I am sitting in my chair waiting, feeling more and more frustrated that it is taking so long. These feelings are only compounded by the fact that the path in the garden is cluttered with various tubs, buckets and piles of weeds making it harder to move around or get near the railway sleepers that form the edge of our raised beds. I inevitably sit outside waiting whilst Eric gets things organised out there for me as well. Toys out of playpen moment... said I wouldn't go outside because of the hassle.
My frustration isn't aimed at Eric, it is entirely to do with my inability to just get up and do things as I once did. Everything seems to take forever, when of course, the reality is, that it is only a few minutes. It is totally unfair on him, because he does everything he possibly can to make life as good as it can be for me. No, my frustration is squarely aimed at myself because I simply cannot bear being so useless, unable to do anything to help. I hate the fact that he has to waste his time moving things and getting me organised to go in the garden. I would much rather he spent the time doing something he enjoys. He still hasn't seriously tried the camera I bought him for his birthday, which was at the end of April. Much as I hate it the nature of the beast is that everything I do has to be brought to me or done from afar, such as using the computer. That isn't very helpful when tidying etc involves you moving things, putting them away and so on.
It is made all the worse because Eric is so wonderful, never complains and ignores my frustrations. As he is the only person I see and speak to for days, a week, if not longer sometimes, he bears the brunt of any frustrations I may be feeling. I try desperately hard not to lash out, but sometimes you just can't help yourself.
Did go in the garden after all. Eric insisted as he always does when I've been stupid about something. Thank you Eric xx
What would I do without him?