When the support isn’t supportiveOctober 14, 2009 at 8:27 pm | Posted in Barton's Blogs, The Nitty-Gritty | Leave a comment
Tags: Barton Cutter, daily living, disability, personal assistants, personal care assistants
Yesterday, as Megan said in her post, we had to let go of my morning help. While on one hand this was extremely difficult for me as we had been without help in the mornings for over a year, it became apparent that there was a clear disconnection between my needs and her understanding of this situation.
As a person with a disability, I have a strong conviction that I was put here in this form to help teach. Moreover in situations where I require the support of others, I expect that at a very fundamental level that they will enhance, in one way or another, the relationship or task at hand. Much of what I attempt to do, in every interaction, is to provide an example of inspiration despite any physical limitations. In my own experience, this comes from a strong determination to do what I believe to be right in any given circumstance. Often this involves great patience, deep faith, and the ability to act on the need of others at that time. Most of the time I have found that people respond favorably with a willingness to learn and grow from our encounter. Yet in this particular situation this was not the case.
While I do rely on the support of others to perform certain physical functions, this in no way lessens who I am as a human being or as a man. So what happened when someone who is supposed to support me does not view me as a whole and capable human being? I understand that because of her training as a nurse she had a very clear understanding of what was required to get the job done. However, as often happens in nursing homes or other atmospheres where human dignity is compromised, there was, from our perspective, a resistance to acknowledging that I was capable of asking for what I needed in the way that was most appropriate to my situation.
I found that in this situation I gained a unique perspective on what happens to people living in nursing homes and institutions who lose their passion for life. I found that after several times of asking for things in the way I needed them done I soon quit asking as I realized that my attempts were nothing more than wasted breath. This lack of respect began to impact the way I viewed my decision making ability. At the same time she continually placed Megan in the position of sole decision maker which over time began to erode the balance in our relationship.
While both Megan and I had attempted to address the situation with her, both as a couple and individually, our attempts did not prove helpful in changing the circumstances. As you might guess, the emerging patterns and behavior that I noticed in myself as well as in my relationship to my family were in drastic opposition to the way I choose to live my life.
It was for this reason and this reason alone that Megan and I chose to let her go. Interestingly in the past 36 hours or so, Megan and I have felt more aligned than we have in months and it has felt incredible.