I live with a disabled partner. Sometimes, it's just…hard. Things that other people take for granted don't always apply in our family. Simple tasks sometimes take extra time. Moderate tasks can be difficult to perform regularly. Hard tasks can be impossible.
Thankfully, I am an able-bodied person, and so I can pick up a lot of the slack when it comes to chores or dealing with heavy or far-away things. But this cuts to the core of my personal struggle: where exactly do I draw the line between offering my help and allowing my partner the opportunities to be self-reliant? It seems like the appropriate threshold is different from day to day, mostly based on how many spoons my partner has available. Yet knowing where this threshold lies on a given day is opaque to me unless my partner explicitly shares where the line is.
I am thankful that we are fortunate enough to have sufficient help beyond just us. Recently, we installed a stair lift to make it much more easy to travel between floors in our home, and this has greatly increased our quality of life. Almost as important are the emergency services officials in our community; twice this month they have been extremely helpful when we have needed it most. But at the same time, I find myself worrying; needing outside help two times in a month is two times too many. I feel as though I need to find additional solutions — like the amazingly helpful stairlift — that will help to ensure that we can get by even on bad days.
Currently, my partner uses canes to get around in the house. I think that will likely continue. But when it comes to being outside the home, I believe that we may need to switch to a wheelchair. I know this will only be positive for us. It will allow a level of mobility that has been lacking as of late. Yet at the same time I find that it brings somewhat unpleasant emotions. Without good reason, I sometimes emotionally feel as though I am somehow failing my partner, merely because we are needing to turn to additional expensive devices. I'm enormously grateful that we can afford these things, but it's not the price that is seemingly getting to me. It's more the unjustified feeling that, somehow, if I were a better partner, I'd have been able to make things better without resorting to these devices.
Things are just really hard in my personal life at the moment. I am doing my best, but it scares me that perhaps my best is not good enough.