From the series, Polio Survivors Ask, by Nancy Baldwin Carter, B.A, M.Ed.Psych, from Omaha, Nebraska, is a polio survivor, a writer, and is founder and former director of Nebraska Polio Survivors Association.
Q: As I get older and accumulate more secondary conditions, it is more difficult for me to get around. Do you have any suggestions as to how to communicate my knowledge about my post-polio health to my grown children when they really don’t want to “hear it”?
A: There may be more than one hurdle lurking in this question.
We should start with US. Some of us talked with our children about our post-polio experiences from the get-go. Others played the role of the brave soldier, quietly marching on in the face of adversity, full of pluck and certain sacrifice—and never revealing the polio reality to anyone. Which has been the approach to our disability?
Some of us have spent years nurturing a fantasy of our capabilities, always telling ourselves, “No problem. I can handle it myself.” And suddenly now, just thinking of making the effort fills us with dread, exhausts us beyond measure. Have we reached the point when we can say, “Sorry, gang, I simply cannot do this anymore?
We may have a new truth to tell ourselves about our physical status, now that polio and aging have come crashing into each other.
How can we approach the subject with our children who have a hard time considering they have a parent with increasing health issues? Think about venturing into these areas:
It is important to have someone “in the know,” however. Here are some things we can do:
Mainly, our health care is up to us. Getting our children involved may be helpful, but it isn’t a requirement. They observe the struggle and they love us in a very special way. Sometimes that has to be enough.
Source: Post-Polio Health International (www.post-polio.org)
Tagged as: communication , family