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Handicap GF

 
 
Reply Wed 16 May, 2007 10:33 am
Hello,

I have been with my girlfriend for over 2 and half years. I am 24 and she is two years my junior. She was born with Rhumatoid (sp?) arthritis, and because of it, she has extreme limited mobility. She is going to have major surgery (both hips replaced) and I am looking for ways to be supportive of her. I have full compassion but no way of emulating empathy. I feel unable to relate to what she is going through, and I feel like I can't be help without having some sort of relevant experiance of my own.

Ideas? Thoughts?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 2,026 • Replies: 23
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Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2007 10:47 am
This will all sound a little corny, but I hope you'll find that the words ring true to you.


Trust that your love for her will help guide you. You're young but I'm sure at some point in your life that you've suffered (human hearts generally have empathy built-in). You don't NEED to have the same experience to be able to relate to her situation. She loves you and you love her -- your heart will find the way to help her and be supportive.


May she tolerate the operation well and her recovery be swift.
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CoastalRat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2007 10:58 am
Sometimes just holding her hand and saying nothing says it all.

I recently had surgery to remove my gall bladder. During my stay in the hospital, my wife spent as much time as possible with me. Funny thing is, we didn't talk a lot and she didn't try to pretend she could relate to what I was going through; she was simply there. That was more comfort to me than any words she could have said.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2007 11:12 am
One of the dangers of wanting to "do well" in love is to concentrate on how much you want to help--and how loving you feel--as opposed to simply being there for your beloved who is suffering.

Self-effacing support is the best sort of support.

Take your cues from her. If she wants to be light-hearted, laugh and smile.

If she wants to cry, offer her a shoulder and a tissue.

If she wants a chocolate milk shake, get her a chocolate milk shake--and not a rocky road milkshake or a chocolate marshmallow milkshake. Get the kind of milkshake she wants.

Is she into research? Are you? What can you find about hip replacement on the net that the two of you could absorb together?

Enlist her parents--particularly her mother--for ideas about what little surprises she would enjoy.

Be companionable. After surgery she's going to have lots of dull physical therapy. Your companionship can make a big difference here.

Assure you love her--"bionic" hips and all.
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I Stereo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2007 02:31 pm
Thanks for the input.

I'm a big nerd and I've told her jokingly that I'm the luckiest guy because I'm the only one of my friends who actually gets to date a cyborg. she liked it.

If I made it sound like she is really sad earlier, she actually isn't. she has been restricted by limited mobility her whole life and she is excited for all the new things she may be able to do. For instance she usually buy slip on shoes, because she cant reach her feet to tie her shoes. She's really excited.

Here is a scenario I'm curious about:

What If I act too excited? I've always loved her the way she was, I'm worried that if I show too much excitement with her, she may start to focus on her disease and wonder if I've been unhappy all this time with the "old" her.

Mind you, women are self conscious enough without complication. If it's not obvious already, I'm really protective of her.
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 May, 2007 04:02 am
I think you're very sweet for worrying about this.

I have a friend with a similar condition who had hip replacements a few years ago. I don't think they did her a lot of good but she already had some other problems so please don't take that as a lack of endorsement of your girlfriend's decision.

It is major surgery and she will be flat on her back for a while, then in PT. She'll need news of the world (I mean your world, not the stuff she can get from TV or the newspapers), help with a lot of stuff and may need a little time to adjust to a different view of herself.

Books, rented or purchased movies or TV shows on VHS or DVD and maybe a few new magazines will probably all be welcome. Something pretty, maybe not the traditional flowers, perhaps a pretty picture frame or the like.

Also, she'll be on crutches and then a cane, most likely. She may or may not be able to haul her stuff around with a regular purse or backpack or even the way she has been all along. One idea might be to ask her about this, she might do better with a messenger bag you can put over your arm and neck. My friend uses a fanny pack a lot.

Sure you're excited, because it's a new experience. Take your cues from her. If she's feeling like you're being overly excited, tone it down.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 May, 2007 10:41 am
I Stereo--

Quote:
What If I act too excited?


Take your cues from her and moderate your enthusiasm, if necessary.

Remind her that you love the bud and plan to adore the flower as well.
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I Stereo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 May, 2007 03:45 pm
New information: Being that she is in good heath, and doesn't have much body fat, she is a good candidate for inavasive orthoscopic surgery. This would speed up the recovery time from 6 months to about 2 months.

This is good news!
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Bohne
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 02:01 am
I cannot gove advice, but I think you will do well!
You just sound like the kind of guy!

Good luck to you both!
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BubbaGumbo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 May, 2007 12:02 am
Run for the door. You're just going to be miserable if you spend your life waiting on this amputee day and night.
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I Stereo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 12:15 am
Well, it has been a long time since I posted. I'm here to give an update I suppose.

It's over.

She survived her surgery, and is currently recovering. He is adapting well to her new hip. I am very happy for her.

However, on a sad note. We have decided to split up. Before her surgery, she became very conscious of her own mortality and began going to church because she was affraid to die. More than affraid to die, I would describe her condition as living in terror. It was very hard for me, but much harder for her. She would cry every night.

After the surgery, she was less affraid. However, she felt that she wanted to make religion a larger part of her life. I was supportive. I was very supportive.

Later she brought to my attention some big picture questions she felt she needed to ask. Moslty the questions were centric on raising children.

At this point we became unable to reconsile differences in beliefs and dicided to part ways. We've done a good so far being respectful and staying amiable. We're trying to stay friends.

This is a very hard time for me right now.

Any words of encouragement?
0 Replies
 
I Stereo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 12:16 am
BubbaGumbo wrote:
Run for the door. You're just going to be miserable if you spend your life waiting on this amputee day and night.
I'm sure this was hilarious for you. It's not appriciated.
0 Replies
 
mrhunt
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 02:51 am
while i have No advice as to your topic directly i must say I really think that its great To be in a Relationship With someone Handicapped......

Dont take this the wrong way...

but my mother has been handicapped with A muscle deseise all my life and ive watched her health decline to the point where she's now 49 and cant walk in our home without a walker and cant get out of chairs by herself......I know what an EXTREME CONSTANT Stress that can put on loved ones around them....Im not saying my mothers situation is the same as yours....

im just saying that that same amount of stress and worry about her health is there with you as well and i think its wonderful That your there to Support her and be with her as theres alot of assholes out there that Probally wouldnt....

2 thumbs up for you sir.
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Bohne
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 04:51 am
No advice, just my best wishes to both of you for the New Year, whereever it might take you, together or separated!
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mrhunt
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 06:09 am
oops.....I didnt read that you had Recently broken up...Im sorry and best of luck to you Sir.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 03:06 pm
I Stereo--

I think that your ex-girlfriend is a remarkable person for looking clearly at the sort of future she wants for herself and her children and making the necessary decisions now.

Obviously this is very difficult for you, but better difficult times now than a marriage filled with fighting over basic differences.

Are you up to dating yet or are you still getting used to a very painful amputation?
0 Replies
 
I Stereo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 04:42 pm
mrhunt wrote:
oops.....I didnt read that you had Recently broken up...Im sorry and best of luck to you Sir.


I appriciate your words of empathy all the same. Thank you.
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I Stereo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 04:49 pm
Noddy24 wrote:
I Stereo--

I think that your ex-girlfriend is a remarkable person for looking clearly at the sort of future she wants for herself and her children and making the necessary decisions now.

Obviously this is very difficult for you, but better difficult times now than a marriage filled with fighting over basic differences.

Are you up to dating yet or are you still getting used to a very painful amputation?


I agree. I told her so too. I respect her very much for being so honest. It's still hard, but I am somewhat comforted by the idea that she loved me so much that she knew she had to let me go.

Both of us don't ever want to have a divorce in our lives. I think we stopped ourselves from having one in 10~15 years. I have to keep telling myself that.

As for dating. I'm really affraid to get back out there. I'm moving in 4 months, so it would be foolish of me to start a new relationship. At the same time, I know she will be very sensitive to e meeting new girls. I'm really a mess in this department.
0 Replies
 
cyphercat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 05:21 pm
Well, it's kind of good that you have a reason to stay away from dating for a few months-- might be a pretty good length of time to wait, too. Just take the four months to get used to being single, and to find the good things about it that you might have forgotten about in the 2 1/2 years you were in a relationship.

You sound like a really caring and giving person, by the way! I'm envious of the next girl out there who finds you. Smile Take care of yourself.

By the way, I love your Mr Sparkle avatar! That was a hilarious episode-- what were those lines from the commercial, something like "I am disrespectful to dirt! Can you see I am serious?" ...heeheehee...
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SULLYFISH66
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2008 06:07 pm
Let's go over this:

You dated a person who had a handicap for over 2 years and were very much in love.

She had surgery and you two decided to break it off.

The break-up had nothing to do with her being handicapped OR the surgery.

The break-up just happened.

Well, you are going to have to LEARN from all that, and then go on.

You had a nice thing going, and don't have it now. Be thankful, and then keep going on.

There is more love out there.
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