Thursday, April 06, 2006

Not Often Seen

Several months ago I wrote about one of my most favourite patients, Mrs S. She's a vibrant, colourful character that demands the attention of your heart immediately upon first meeting. You cannot help but be pulled in by her personality.

I have always marvelled at how energetic and vivacious this wonderful 85 year old woman is. She touches and warms all those that come in contact with her. Each time she leaves my waiting room, I feel a void. It's like opening a book and having your senses assaulted and energised by a plethora of bright colours...only to turn the page to find a dull grey looking back at you.

In contrast to his wife, her husband is a very quiet person. He seems a doddery old man, walking in the shadows of his more spirited wife. I've watched him reverse his car in the carpark straight into a stationery vehicle, and drive off without even realising. It was always him that rang and made appointments to see the doctor, for either of them.

Last week Mrs S came into the surgery, she was quiet and withdrawn and looked 'old'. I found out later that afternoon, she'd just moved. And what I mean by that is, that she'd moved....only her. She'd left her husband and was staying with a friend.

When she went in to see the nurse that day, she'd cried against her. Apparently he'd driven her crazy for years. He controlled everything she did.... there wasn't much she could do without his say so. She'd had enough and finally found the strength to do something about it....ending 66 years of marriage.

We never really know what's going on behind those closed doors, do we? The personality we show the outside world, although for the most part, represents alot of the type of people we are inside...it can also be very different in comparison to the face we show to those nearest and dearest to our hearts.

There is a definite security in knowing that those who love us most, will always be loyal and understanding of our less loveable traits. We take the good with the bad...for better or worse....and we hold our heads up in public, never allowing others to see we could be slowly building a wall of resentment...until one day it can get all too much and we disintergrate in whatever way. We all react differently.

While I feel a deep sadness that they are both dealing with the hurt and confusion of this separation after such a length of time, I can't help but feel even more admiration toward this ballsy lady for taking this step at the age she is. I hope she feels free and happy to do as she pleases for as long as her health allows her to.

At the age I am now, there will never be such an anniversary on my horizon...but that's not to say that I don't applaud and appreciate the longevity of those that manage to make it that far down the road...regardless of the end result.

Looks truly can be deceiving, can't they?
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