The positive carer
In a special guest blog for PH Awareness Week, Terry Jewson shares his experience of supporting his wife to live well with pulmonary hypertension.
Hello, my name is Terry Jewson and I’m married to a well-known PH’er, Tess. She has suffered with PH for ten years and only in the past four years I have been helping, caring and falling for her. During this time, I’ve had to think of what I needed to do to be there for her emotionally and physically. Below are a few things I do to keep a positive attitude, that will eventually lead to a positive outcome.
I always try not to say no. I hate saying no! I hate saying you can’t do this. I hate never being given the chance to prove to others and myself that I am capable. So why should I do the same for my wife? I believe in knowing your limits and working your way around a problem.
For example, today we went to play Mini Golf near where we live. Before we left, we first found a car park that was close by to the building and checked if it was disability friendly… it wasn’t! When we arrived, we were faced with two staircases without lifts, so our solution was for me to carry Tess up the stairs. This was her one thing that she could do today and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I will say though, I’ve had to say no a few times, when I feel she is pushing herself.
It has also helped me to find a hobby away from caring. I found having my own space away from Tess made me recharge my batteries and think of ways to improve both our lives. I also think it’s important to do something active and keep your focus away from it all, when the times are hard, to really help the PH fight. I ‘try’ to play golf at my local club, I’m still rather new, so I won’t be winning any trophies soon. My other hobby is walking and running with our dog Izzy. As a small poodle, she has enough energy to chase every rabbit round the park twice… literally! By keeping fit and healthy, physically and mentally, I’m able to be there for Tess when I’m needed most.
So why do I think that carers should have a positive outlook? The simple answer, is that life would be boring and hard without it! I would hate to live a life where worries of what can happen to someone I love override what is happening now. PH doesn’t only affect the patient, but the family around them too. Don’t let it get to you! You are in control of your lives, and with the support around you, you can achieve so much. Nowadays the whole world is starting to become more disability friendly, meaning the adventures you wanted to do in the past, may still be achievable.
In conclusion, it’s up to you to enjoy your life. Don’t be held back by PH, hold your head up high and say, ‘together we can do this!’