Greetings! I have just stumbled across this forum, and it seems wise to introduce myself before I launch into any issues. Here are the basics: I'm a 45-year old educated woman and mother of six (ages 22 to 12); my wonderful significant other is a 71-year old educated man whose initial diagnosis (about eight months ago) of Essential Tremor was recently followed (two months ago) with a co-existing diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease. I have been with this benevolent and generous man for six years, so he has helped me launch the three oldest children into their respective colleges and has provided a stable home life for the three children at home. I love him dearly, owe him much, and respect him enormously.
Unfortunately I am finding myself short on patience and long on irritation. He is in early stages of PD, and I know that 1) many (or most) caregivers have it worse than I, and 2) his physical limitations are mild compared to what they will likely be in the future. That being said, I am finding myself silently tiring of circumstances such as: cleaning up spilled beverages and food -- constantly; avoiding the bleachers at the kids' sporting events because he can't climb up or down -- most weekends; and nurturing him through computer tasks and home repair projects he insists on doing but that I would rather do myself to save time and frustration-- quite regularly. Yes, I am turning into someone I don't like and I don't sound very loving, do I?
To add another wrinkle, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 34, which remained small and unchanged for nearly 11 years, and about four months ago was determined to be growing; surgery is not yet recommended, but my cognitive deficits have been documented, particularly in areas of executive functioning (task flexibility being my biggest challenge). My significant other was fully supportive through my three months of medical appointments. Honestly, we were especially close during those months because we napped together constantly. His PD has manifested itself most significantly in sleep disorders, and the barrage of tests for my tumor was tiring for me, so we both needed naps, and both took them. We are a snuggly couple anyway, and his routine tremors stop when he sleeps briefly, so napping brought us closer.
If there are any ideas out there for how to develop and apply patience I would appreciate hearing them. I don't want to sigh loudly, look irritated, or snap at him. I keep trying to appreciate the stability he provides us and being conscious of my rising irritation so as to redirect myself, but it seems to be a losing battle. We just came back from a travel sporting event for my youngest (and her "12 going on 21" attitude was problematic, to be sure), and I had plenty of time to stew while driving three hours, thinking about how I don't want to take him on travels again. I ended up telling him that later, at home, when I got irritated with his fumbling with his iPhone. I did apologize sincerely, but better if I don't speak harshly in the first place.
Well... that's my introduction to you. Any ideas for developing patience would be appreciated. I don't want to punish my guy for his symptoms, and I don't want to enact a 'just stay out of my way because I can do it myself' philosophy that hurts him more than it reassures him.