For Better Or For Worse: The Real Story

By YourTango

For Better Or For Worse: The Real Story
An author talks about caring for her brain-damaged husband.

In the apartment it's difficult to do anything for myself when I'm on duty with Scott. If I try to do something for myself, like read, he can't tolerate it. So, in the interest in loving what is, I don’t try to read when he's with me. That's what it means to adjust, to adapt.

Part of being in a relationship is creating new memories and Scott can't, while you can.
We're out of synch as far as the memories. Scott has long-term memory. He remembers the number of the motel room where we first made love back in 1950, but he has no concept of the future he can't even imagine what making a plan looks like. He is totally disoriented in space and time.

In your book, you talk about the sweet things Scott says from time to time. Is that the same old Scott or the Scott after the accident?
He's the same person. I'm the same person. We've just moved into a different place in our lives with different capacities. When Scott sees me his face still lights up with happiness and he says "Oh, look who it is! It's my beautiful wife." After the accident he reverted to his former self, always asking me out to lunch because he couldn't stand to see me cook since I made him into somewhat of a feminist. But now when he asks, I can say "Sure, later," and he won't remember when later comes along.

When did you realize Scott wasn't going to fully recover?
After the first year, I realized I had to change our lives from trying to heal Scott to trying to make both of our lives as satisfying as possible. For me that had to include my writing; my work is not over. I still have a lot of books waiting to be written.

At some point you say there is an equal chance that something like Scott's accident could happen to anyone in a long-term relationship.
When you marry or commit yourself forever you think about how you are when you make the commitment. If your relationship continues into old age, one of you is going to be healthier than the other. One of you is going to wind up taking care of or surviving the other. And when that happens you must adapt, and hope adaptation won't feel like a sacrifice, just a new way of living. When the time comes, it's helpful if you have the kind of commitment and love that Scott and I had.

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