“Sometimes it’s the Princess who kills the Dragon and saves the Prince”
– Jammel Lowe
Today Dale had it tough. He had about six Anxiety Attacks due to his upcoming Cochlea Implant Operation (Thursday 16th). Putting it into perspective, the last time he had this many anxiety attacks in one day, was when he had a breakdown about ten years ago.
Dale, for the last week has been trying to avoid the chance of getting ill, as becoming ill before the operation could cause the operation to be postponed for another three weeks. He’s fought so much already for the date that he really can’t wait anymore, and it being called off to be rescheduled would cause so much stress to him, more then what it is already. Today (and a little of yesterday), Dale was getting fleeting symptoms of a Cold, so of course has been worrying himself sick that he might be getting ill.
And when I mean worrying himself sick I LITERALLY mean worrying himself SICK.
Quick biology lesson; when you stress out, you tire your body out. Your breathing and heartbeat rises higher then usual, which is why when you’ve had a stressful day you’re a lot more tired at the end of the day. Because your body is tired and worn out, sometimes you’ll find that your body will act differently and seem to get symptoms of illness.
This is what has been happening to Dale. With the stress doubled by six anxiety attacks, his body is already quite exhausted and started showing signs of tiredness. That and the boy hasn’t been eating or drinking normally for the last 24 hours. When I picked him up from work, I could tell my funny-punny-laughy-jokey Dale was far away, replaced by tired-stressed Dale.
So I tried to make our night tonight after he came home from work relaxing and stress-free. How did I do this?
Normally I don’t make decisions, not because he’s controlling, but because I’m very indecisive. I’m that girl who says “I don’t mind”. Which, of course, annoys Dale. A little. He does well at encouraging me to make decisions. Well, tonight, I took control and decided on what we did. So we sat, watched Monsters Inc and chilled. He was able to sit back and reset himself (a term he uses when he’s overloaded).
Not too long after we got home and he had relaxed did I have my Dale back. He has the most loveliest of smiles (his laugh is even better). I find the key to making him relax (and ‘Force Reset’) is to keep talking to him, whether or not he talks back. He’s also told me it helps him, because he’s concentrating on other things other then just what’s troubling him. I also try to hide the pain I feel when I see him upset or in pain, by smiling and showing him everything’s okay. I really wish I could take all his worries away and permanently make him Happy-Clappy-Hypo Dale.
He eventually accepted that him worrying and stressing and thinking that he had a cold was practically making his body have a cold, which, funnily enough, the symptoms disappeared when he wasn’t thinking about them.
It’s also a good thing to look for support from outside the relationship.
In our church we have a strong support network behind us who I am forever grateful for. What’s even better, is they know Dale and what’s happening right now, so asking for that extra support (and prayer) is easy and rewarding. I certainly was rewarded by a calm happy Dale.
One important thing that I heard, and keep telling Dale, is that he’s not in this alone. Yes, I may not be Deaf, have Anxiety, Asperger’s or whatever else, but I certainly am not about to abandon him just because he has all of that. Same as even though I have a boyfriend with all of this, I’m not abandoned by my family and my church family because of my choice in boyfriend.
I think, another person/people worth noting in this situation, and who gave me this wonderful man, is his parents. Just before I left him to come home, Dale phoned his Dad to explain the situation and why he was quite upset today (of which I’m not too impressed with the Hospital about, but unfortunately happens all the time). Even though Dale couldn’t hear that well, he listened to his dad and accepted some truths in which his Dad told him.
Today was hard for both of us, but we made it through.
Even though Dale has told me that it’s gonna be difficult for the next few weeks (he’ll be completely deaf so will be frustrated and agitated more than usual), I know that because of today, we’ll definitely be strong enough. All it takes is a little understanding and compassion on my part to be able to see through all the struggles and see my funny-punny-happy-clappy-jokey-Dale.
Dale’s had his operation and he’s doing well. We mainly communicate now through BSL (British Sign Language) which is a good and bad thing; good because it gives me practise and bad because sometimes it takes a little longer to say things because of me lacking the knowledge of signs.
The hardest thing about this, was seeing him in recovery after the surgery. He wasn’t critical, and he was coming round from the anaesthetic, but it was hard seeing him out of it and not being fully there. Although it was quite funny when he didn’t believe he had had the operation, because ‘he felt fine’. I don’t think he was quite understanding he was on pain meds.
The next hardest thing was hearing that he is slowly forgetting the sound of my voice.
If I’m to be honest (and very selfish), it’s been quite emotional for me over the last few days, but Dale’s been great and making me laugh and practically forgetting the worries. I’ve very sternly told him he’s not allowed another operation (which of course, he told me it’s something I have no control over). I have cried quite a bit over the last few days, and I’m not 100% sure why. I don’t really have the right to either, but I guess knowing how much this means to him, and in turn to me, and that it is finally here and somewhat over; I think body has finally been overwhelmed and released it’s pent up stress, stress that I didn’t even know was there. Dale keeps telling me that I’m so much stronger then he is, but I really think he’s a lot stronger then me. I’m just putting up a facade so my worry and emotions don’t bring him down, as he needs to keep positive and up beat especially while recovering.
Dale knows my feelings, in fact, I’ve cried (once since the op) in front of him.
There is also some other good news too. Dale discovered, that despite believing that he would be 100% deaf (to the point that if the Cochlea did fail, a hearing aid would be of no use), he can still hear a little. Mainly really loud noises, but it gives us hope that even if the absolute worst should happen (which won’t), the option of returning to a hearing aid is still on the table.
Also, his ‘Switch-on’ is sooner then what I expected too (when the doctors turn the CI on, henceforth allowing him to hear). 13th August. I am full on rooting for that day. I still have to figure out what I’m going to say as the first words he hears. I was going to have me saying “I love you” as the first words, but we both couldn’t wait any longer to tell each other, and as we didn’t have a date for the CI op, we didn’t know how long we would be waiting.
Anyway, thanks guys for all your support. We know we’ve been slightly lazy over the last week on posts, but a lot has happened so we’ve been unable to write interesting material worth reading (this post alone has taken nearly a week to write). Hopefully, as we start having more normal weeks, we can keep up with the Blog.