Friday, May 6, 2011

Being Selfish

Richard has a rash on his feet. It's gray and white. It puddles mostly around his toes. It looks like pond scum. He is treating it with ointments and antibiotics. He has to steel himself to keep from scratching it. I have very little sympathy.

In fact, I am a bit disgusted. Mostly avoidant. I don't want it to get on me, anywhere. I want it to go away. And if it is on him, I want him to keep away.

I am being utterly selfish. And, it feels OK. Maybe even good.

I also know that this is about as minor an ailment as it gets. And it will go away with no harm done.

But I am asking myself, if this kind of response is in me for an insignificant thing, will it be in me for more serious health matters? Have I already been hard-hearted when he suffered with cardiac symptoms or vision problems? How awful is that?

Is it OK to be ungenerous when your sweetie is ailing?

I would tell anyone else -- of course it's OK. It's normal to have moments of wanting to run away. And it's healthy to actually get away from time to time. Replenish yourself before your well of empathy runs dry.

But right now, I don't feel as liberated as I did when I began to write this post. I think I'll go find Richard and tell him that even though I don't really care about his foot condition, I do care about him.


Bad Caregiver said...

If you're the ailing caregiver, it's probably in bad form to whine too much about your relatively minor suffering. If you're the chronically ill person, though, it's nice if you can give a little sympathy. It doesn't have to be elaborate. A warm sentence or two will do the trick.

The chronically ill person's needs are always going to be greater. There's nothing anybody can do about that. But if the chronically ill person doesn't provide any support at all, you don't really have a relationship anymore.

Peny@scrubs sale said...

"I think I'll go find Richard and tell him that even though I don't really care about his foot condition, I do care about him."

Got it. You really cared for him, and though your attitude seemed to be selfish, you are just driven with pure instinct when you want to go away from him. Anyway, speaking of being selfish, I guess all people are manifesting it from time to time. Well, for one thing it is part of our human nature, eh. However, part also of our humanity is compassion, and it is always up to us to choose between selfishness and compassion. :)