Testimonial: How the Recovering Our Families Program Helped ME.
My wife was recovering from a very serious and disabling surgery; the brain surgery component resulted in a brain bleed immediately post-surgery and we very nearly lost her.
It also caused her to be paralysed down one side of her body, impacted her memory, mental acuity and changed her voice. The stress and trauma of this totally unexpected change in our lives was extreme. Living in ICU and high dependency units was surreal and trying to talk to medical professionals from 5 different disciplines required enormous persistence.
I recall weeks and weeks where the pressure in my chest was so strong that I felt like I had to concentrate to breathe, I didn’t but that’s how it felt. Despite others being with me I’ve never felt so alone. I couldn’t express my feelings and my own wellbeing HAD to take a second place to her recovery. I was in total despair at the thought of losing her.
I remember watching other people around the hospital doing ordinary things and going on with everyday life and I felt completely detached from this, as if I was watching a movie. Friends and family would say things which seemed completely irrelevant to me, much of which seemed completely insensitive and uncaring. I had to remind myself that it was because they could not possibly understand the severe situation we were in.
In the evenings when I got home from the hospital I would do research for hours as there was so much information I thought I had to know. Come 7am I would be back at the hospital so I didn’t miss the rounds and daily contact with the teams who were monitoring her condition each day.
After 3 weeks in hospital, my wife had 5 weeks of recovery then 6 weeks of daily radiation back at the hospital. The radiation was very traumatic as she had to wear a heavy plastic mask across her head and shoulders, and this was bolted to the table. She was left exhausted after every visit. From about the third week onwards, it was a real effort for us to return each day. The side effects were painful to her already traumatised head and face and there were other physical side effects that left her tired and emotionally spent.
Following all of this the next 6 months was focused on her survival and recovering some strength.
Our world became smaller and smaller.
We worked very well as a team and really came to depend solely on each other for support. I recall being very proud of how effectively we communicated and worked together.
When she started to regain some physical capacity and strength I remember being frustrated that she wasn’t taking on more. In my mind I thought I had been supporting her to do this. Before all of this happened she had been extremely fit, fiercely independent and physically strong and here I was, struggling with returning to work, balancing work, dealing with her recovery and juggling all of what used to be ‘our’ regular household tasks.
At this point I commenced the Recovering Our Families program.
It wasn’t until then that I realised that I was not really empowering her to regain her independence. In fact, I was actually sending very mixed messages. I was taking her confidence away and I was not looking after myself.
During the crisis I had put all my energy into survival and that had been appropriate at that time. I had lost my own balance and because of that I was being less effective in supporting and caring for her. My own extreme stress had led me to a state of significant anxiety, and I was feeling helpless and losing my hope.
The program helped me to move from survival mode to a new ‘normal’.
This is a very powerful program that provides hope for a life beyond the crisis, whatever the crisis is that you find yourself in. I would do it again in a heartbeat!52-year-old Husband, Bondi Sydney Australia
If you know anyone that may be experiencing or has experienced a crisis in their family, please share this with them. Recovering our Families is an online fully facilitated 8-week program.
For more information, please call 08 9427 7100 or register at http://recoveringourfamilies.com/register/