Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Balance: When to Push and When to Nurture

**My fantastical girlfriend Mandi has agreed to do more guests posts after the overwhelming appreciation of her posts in the past**

I get that I don’t get it. I don’t know what it’s like to wake up everyday with lungs that feel tight. I will never know how it feels to exercise with “only a straw to breathe through”. I won’t get sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I’ll never quite get CF!

But while I’ll never get CF, there are certain things, as a CF loved one, that I can work to understand. One of the most important, in my opinion, is knowing when to push and when to nurture. There’s a delicate balance between pushing someone to do their best and pushing them past their breaking point. At times, we all need to be encouraged to go further than we think we can. There are also times that we feel so crumby we just want to be loved on. For example, there are times while running that Ronnie feels like crap (excuse my bluntness). At times, it is advantageous for me to say, “Come on get going, your body is supposed to hurt like it is”, when he’s so winded and I hear him gasping for air. Now do I know that he is, in fact, supposed to feel like he’s feeling? No, because like I said, I don’t get it. But I have learned, that afterward, he often feels good, so I push. There are other times, like when we were making our way home from China, that he wasn’t supposed to hurt like he was hurting. How did I know that? I’m no doctor, but I certainly can tell when someone’s skin looks flush, they appear to be passing out in flight, and have trouble completing whole sentences without keeping their head from drooping, their eyes from glazing over, and gasping for air with a pained look on their face. Also, I know Ronnie and unless he’s feeling really bad, he doesn’t let on.

Now let me come back to the statement: “there’s a balance”. What is it? I have NO clue. I think it’s different for every CFer. For loved ones of CFers, I encourage you to watch your CFer closely. Study them. Learn what they look like when they’re “just being lazy” vs. when they’re actually suffering. A good way to tell is by trial and error. When you see them slacking, being lazy, not doing treatments, not exercising - push them. Pay attention to see if they end up being able to push through or not. Then reflect and make note what they were like prior to the success or failure and use that as the gage for next time. There is no science to this, unfortunately. For CFers, help us non-CFers out. Tell us how you’re feeling. Communicate with us why you can or can’t push through at certain times. That will help us help you be more successful in your day to day struggles. We don’t get CF; we can’t. But we want to get you, so help us out by explaining to us how we best can help you.

5 people had something to say...:

Kellee said...

Yes!!! Im way excited!!
I love Mandi post!!
Thank you!

Graciy said...

I agree 100% and i still and having trouble with that balance. But I love J enough to keep trying.

Lisa said...

Finding that "balance" is really hard. I have been at this for 12 years, and it is still a struggle :) I find that talking to my husband when he is not in the middle of an "issue" about it and how I can help, etc. really helps to deal with situations when they do arise.

niki36 said...

thanks for posting Mandi! it is great to hear the other side.

Cystic Gal said...

I like the Mandi Voice too. Maybe she can be the first "Cystic Girlfriend" to start a blog :) ?