Wednesday, September 27, 2006

1963...The DR’s ORDERS we should have ignored


Retrospect is defined as “contemplation of things past.” How easy it is to do that & to see where life’s journey COULD have gone, instead of where it actually WENT.

In 1963 our family moved to upstate New York from the city. We needed a family doctor...primarily for Dick who was a Type 1, very brittle, diabetic. Endocrinologists were unknown then and we settled on a sweet and kindly country doctor.

Our “getting-to-know-each-other” visit went well and, in all good faith, he gave us two recommendations that he felt would ease our lives. #1 was addressed to me. He said that diabetics react adversely to stress and that I could make Dick’s life much easier if I were to always keep a calm house-hold and try not to argue or do anything that would upset him.

#2 was in answer to his question about our lifestyle. Did we smoke or drink? “No” to the smoking and “yes” to the drinking, but only on weekends or when we were out socializing. His advice was to either quit drinking or to have just one drink a day. He felt that keeping the same daily pattern would help in regulating Dick’s insulin intake.

We took his advice to heart. “Not drinking” was never an option since we’d never had a problem with it. So, now we were daily drinkers and our house-hold was as calm as I could possibly make it with three small children and a brand new Real Estate business that we were trying to make work.

I guess you can see where I’m heading with this. I was convinced that I could never express my feelings for fear that it would “upset the apple cart” and, as the years passed I regressed further and further into myself. We were like many couples who find themselves not communicating...living side by side, sharing a household but little else.

The children were a great diversion and we kept our energies concentrated on them. We never lost our love for each other or for the family unit but I found myself relying more and more on our nightly “one drink” ritual. The progression had started. The handwriting was on the wall but it would be 25 years before I was able to read it.

9 Comments:

Blogger truth said...

Isn't it sad, the things we do to try to be a good wife, only to find out later that we nearly died in the process?

8:56 AM  
Anonymous colleen said...

I felt a sense of oppression just reading...and it was doctor's orders! My feeling is airing what is honest only frees up more energy and makes for more happiness in the long run.

1:27 PM  
Blogger saz said...

The minute I read his advice I felt myself bristling...I can see why this would drive a person to feel guilty all the time and try and run from it.

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Like many things in life, it begins so "insidiously" doesn't it? By the time you realize you have a problem....you really have a problem. I look forward to your sharing follow ups on this, Ginnie. And what you said about not upsetting the apple cart....I'm reading a fantastic book, a spiritual memoir, right now and I'll blog on it next week when I finish it. HOW true that is what you said.

7:01 PM  
Blogger gawilli said...

My first thought was that this was indicative of the way women were regarded in the 60's. Then when I look back at my own marriage in the 70's and 80's, it was really not that different. The good wife kept a good house and kept the kids quiet as not to upset the routine. It took me many years to stand up for myself.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Rach said...

Hi Ginnie
Hope you are well tonight?
It saddened me to read this entry - I must admit that David (husband of 10 years) is my best friend. Whilst I don't tell him everything (how boring that would be!) and some things are best left to yourself or to chat to the girls over, I would miss not speaking to him about things that might be worrying me. Personally for me that has led to a big outpouring of feelings that have pent themselves up - usually over a drink! This in turn has led to an inevitable argument (due to the drink) so have always endeavoured to talk to him as life goes along. Sorry to hear the results of the advice you were given.
Rach

10:34 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I think that intentions are important, and it did all begin with good ones.

12:35 PM  
Anonymous colleen said...

Fancy Gap is pretty close! Only about 35 miles from us. Let me know if you're ever in the neighborhood. Maybe we could meet half way...on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Claude said...

Thanks for sharing this, Ginnie. A very interesting story. I remember that when my husband died, friends often invited me over and would pour me a drink, and in those days I suddenly realised how relaxing this was! As we hardly ever drank, I felt alarmed right away. Had I had doctor's orders then, who knows what might have happened?

4:26 AM  

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