A spinal column with pain emanating from a portion of the vertebrae.

Hurt Back and Guilty Conscious

Last updated: January 2023

I’ve talked about the guilt I deal with in regards to the amount of work people need to exert in order to assist me throughout the day because of my spinal muscular atrophy. It can be hard to manage this guilt. The one thing that I try to do is not project it on those that are helping me. I enjoy helping others and I want to give the person helping me the same feelings of enjoyment.

Feeling guilty about what others do for me

It’s always in the back of my mind that someone will injure themselves while assisting me. Suzanne now provides 100% of my care. I try to do one or two “easy days” during the week. These are days where I’ll skip a shower and try to minimize the amount of transfers we normally do. This also helps me concentrate on work I need to do. I’ll spend the day on the computer being productive.

My injured caregiver

Recently Suzanne was outside doing some yard work. As she was pulling out some overgrown weeds she tweaked her back. At first she didn’t think much about it. It was turning into a rainy day so we decided to make it an easy day. She showered and then ran out to do some errands for us. When she got home she was walking like an old lady. It was readily noticeable that she was in pain.

After dinner we decided to go lay down so that she could rest her back. This is when I found out how much pain she was in. She wasn’t able to bend down to do my transfer.

Phone a friend for help

Luckily I have friends who live close by. My friend Brian was able to stop over and help me with my transfer. The next day Suzanne was still in a lot of pain and while she wanted to try and get me up out of bed. I wouldn’t let her. These are times where we need reinforcements.

My brother Dan lives about an hour away and luckily it was the weekend and he was able to come over for the day.

Feeling guilty for interfering with their plans

This is where my guilt creeps in. He’s married with a 7 year old daughter. His weekends are usually filled with family outings and now I’m pulling him away from that. On this particular weekend he and a neighbor of his was installing a Murphy bed in their home office. He spent the night before working on this project.

The trickle-down effect of injuries

While Dan was up helping me his neighbor came over to finish installing the Murphy Bed in their office. Dan’s wife didn’t want their neighbor to have to come back so she pitched in. While trying to anchor the bed to the wall it fell on my sister in law!  Now I understand accidents happen and are out of my control. However this is an incident where I felt somewhat responsible. If Dan wasn’t helping me he would have been home and his wife would not have been injured.

Unfortunately my sister-in-law had to go to the ER. She suffered a mild concussion and hurt her back. Their neighbor and I both felt horrible. Luckily she and Suzanne fully recovered. Now the guilt, how do you work through those feelings?

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