Getting adjusted… or not

I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a man who is frustrated by his daughter’s attitude.  She is in her late 20s, and he feels she should be getting a better handle on her health problems as she gets older.  He equated it to his age-related health issues.  At 60, he has aches and pains that he didn’t have in his youth, and he handles them.  He feels that his daughter should handle hers, too.

I explained that having predictable aches and pains at 60 is very different than having more severe problems at a younger age.  In addition to feeling worse now, she knows that she will likely be doing much worse at 60 than he is.  Her future is uncertain, and the bit of certainty she does have isn’t very promising.  Even illnesses that are unrelated to her CI (which he referred to) can be troubling.  They remind her of her weaknesses, and her CI may make things worse.

I wish I’d had more time, so I could remind him that when someone receives a diagnosis of a chronic illness, they go through the 5 stages of grief as they grieve for the loss of their health, the loss of their own idea of their future.  I would have reminded him that even though he wants his daughter to reach acceptance, and she will, that it takes time.  Even when someone does reach acceptance, they can slide back into one of the previous stages at any time.  I like to think that I spend most of my time in acceptance mode, but I certainly slide back into anger and depression from time to time.  It happens to the best of us.  He needs to be patient.

Now, having said and thought all of this, I need to say that he’s a wonderful, supportive father.  His wife is a wonderful, supportive mother.  I have known them for years, and I know that they have done so much for their daughter.  His frustration is natural, especially since his daughter can be quite moody.  She takes out her own frustration on her parents quite a bit.  She needs to work on that.  Hopefully one day, with time, maturity, and wisdom, she will reach that point.  Until then, I hope they can continue to be patient.

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