Stand and Support

Daily Draw February 8th, 2012

My friend’s husband had an aortic aneurism and open heart surgery almost a year ago and he is not doing well. He has excruciating nerve pain and can’t walk and has been confined to one room for several months. He can’t digest food and weighs 90 pounds and is fighting to keep that weight on. He has periodic bowel hemorrhaging too.

Apart from that his mood is bad, he is angry and depressed, and my friend is finding it hard to deal with that while she tries to look after him and drive around on errands and doctor’s appointments. He lost his place for physiotherapy because he could never make the appointments.

My immediate reaction was to suggest changing his diet and go with a natural hygiene or celiac diet, even though he has been tested for celiac disease and the doctors said he didn’t have it. He lives on tea and toast, muffins, milk and eggs, and wheat and dairy are bad, particularly if your bowel is trying to heal. They fasted him for 17 days in the hospital and it cleared up for a while which leads me to think a holistic approach to food would help.

They don’t believe in such things and are not interested in trying it. So with this in mind I drew these cards today from The Runic Tarot:



I got alarmed when I saw this Sympathy card related to the third week in March. The book suggests sharing a burden and being a shoulder to cry on. My friend does phone me when she gets down; I’m the one she can say things to that she can’t say to her family and neighbours. I have been talking to her weekly for most of the past year, which is saying a lot since before that we only spoke about three times a year. I must share the burden as long as I have to, says the card.

But of course the word “sympathy” reminds me of death and funerals, which makes me weepy. I found myself considering how I could get out of going to his funeral, and feeling like a weak-willed rat this morning while crying sitting on my bed. I get to the point at funerals where I can’t stop crying. Apart from being embarrassing it takes a lot out of me at a time when I have little emotional resilience anyway. Selfish ratfink I am. I know people take sedatives at funerals to cope but I can’t do that.

The Challenge card is about preparing for battle, and facing something rather than running away. I need to face the challenge before the sympathy. The card says what has to be done must be done regardless of success. It could refer to me badgering them to go to a holistic doctor in conjunction with their regular specialist, but I feel this approach would only alienate them.

I simply have to face up to supporting them no matter what. That includes facing his funeral.

I am still hoping he can turn it around and regain his health but it seems unlikely. The hard thing about death is knowing what to say or do to help people. Sometimes you just have to stand there and take it beside them.



6 thoughts on “Stand and Support

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with you. I would recommend avoiding gluten, dairy (as well as most grains, soy, refined sugar, etc) and adding tons of probiotics to rebuild his gut.

    Maybe do some research of success stories and send them her way. Maybe if she’s feeling vulnerable enough she’ll be more open to it. I know there is only so much you can do and I’m SO sorry that your friends and you have to deal with that feeling of helplessness when someone is sick.

    With my daughter, her having seizures and being on high doses of heavy-duty AEDs for the rest of her life was not acceptable to me. So finding an integrative doctor who has worked with these issues and implements biomedical approaches, even though he is not covered by insurance and the supplements are expensive and the diet is difficult (Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, peanut-free, refined sugar free, etc). It has helped tremendously and she’s now on 1/4th of the dose of her seizure meds and we may be able to remove them entirely.

    Tell your friend that I have seen this approach work firsthand. Not just my own daughter but several others I know personally.

    Anyway. It is just a difficult thing. I am hoping they find the help they need.


    • Okay, that is great to know. They seem to be relying heavily on the doctor saying he doesn’t have celiac disease but I am not convinced because I have 2 people in my family with it. Sometimes those tests do not show accurately and then you go on the special diet and “poof” the problem gets better.

      I’ll try. He apparently is getting ready for a big emotional meltdown (which I also believe is affected by the fact that he is getting no nutrition)and I am not sure I can talk to him directly. His wife won’t talk to him as he gets so very angry.

      Maybe I could try writing him a letter? Sometimes he calls me on a cell phone for a chat, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that he does. There seems to be an odd marital rift developing between them and they speak to me but don’t tell the other one they’ve called. It’s so sad, they are just falling apart.

      I REALLY appreciate your comments.

  2. To be honest, there is no test that is truly highly accurate for gluten sensitivity. There are ones that are more or less accurate, but they are not foolproof. Allergy tests are so unreliable as a whole.

    The absolute most reliable allergy test is elimination diet. You can Google that as well and get some good info for your friend. Maybe just see if she’ll at least try it for a month or two. It’s just a month or two out of her life and it sounds like they’re getting desperate.

    I’m not a disciplined person. I’m very artsy and I hate restrictions, rules, etc, but when my daughter started having seizures I NEEDED an alternative to the heavy-duty drugs and procedures that mainstream doctors give. Because they were compromising my daughter’s health and dumbing her down. The side effects were worse than the treatment.

    Anyway, even knowing how bad I am about discipline, I managed to implement this diet and stick to it 99%. Even slipping up once in a while is OK. Furthermore, I do feel that food allergies are very common. If your friend’s husband has been on antibiotics a lot in the past year (which I’d wager he has been, at least a few times, if he had serious surgeries, etc) then his own gut is probably depleted of good bacteria and needs to be repopulated.

    My daughter takes a hypoallergenic probiotic that’s 100 billion CFU’s. She takes that every day and it has helped her digestion issues tremendously. The good bacteria help overtake the nasty ones, and the candida. The brand she uses is Klaire Labs Therbiotic Complete. She takes the powder but there is also a capsule.

    I recommended high dose probiotics to two of my friends recently for their bowel issues and both of them took my advice (amazing–lol!) and they were both able to stop significant bowel issues and bad diarrhea with it.

    I am sending tremendous amounts of luck to you and your friends with this. May they find healing ASAP.


    p.s. sorry for the long comments. I am glad you appreciate them but I DO apologize if it sounds preachy. I am as worried as you are and I don’t know these people…

  3. (hug)

    I’m really sorry. You tried and that is all you can do. Sorry if I was a bit pest-like about it. I definitely understand that if it’s nothing something a person is comfortable with or believes, then they won’t do it.

    Big hugs to you.

    • Oh heavens I loved what you said–it helped me in my resolve to take care of myself. Not a pest at all, and you have been through the wringer and know about regular medicine and holistic medicine and various approaches.

      I felt like a pest bugging these people but they just shut down when you start talking about it. He has been on all kinds of antibiotics and is on warfarin for a blood thinner for the rest of his life–all poisons. I totally agree with you, I’d look elsewhere for help myself but they don’t believe it–what can you do?

      Even my husband, who is much more hands-off than I and much less interested in holistic approaches, thinks this man isn’t bothering when he could go to a naturopath or someone else, so you get fed up when people don’t want to help themselves. We aren’t talking about quackery here, we are talking about eating real food and not eating food that’s causing inflammation and intestinal sores. Why these people can’t open their eyes and see that is totally beyond my rational approach.

      If I was dying I’d scramble around looking at all approaches, not just lie there and let someone kill me.

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