A man whose health has been declining of late, goes to the doctor with his wife. The doctor checks him over and as they leave, he asks to speak to the wife alone in his office.
“Your husband is gravely ill,” the doctor says. “But if you follow my instructions to the letter, he will be able to live a long and satisfying life.”
The woman leans forward, listening intently.
“You must provide him with a stress-free environment,” the doctor continues. “He must have three home-cooked, healthy meals every day. For cardiovascular health, you must make passionate love to him; for mental health, you must participate in his sexual fantasies, to the best of your ability. You must not bother him with housework or paying bills, as this will surely cause a relapse. If you do all these things, your husband will be fine.”
The wife, understandably stunned and visibly paled, stands up and thanks the doctor.
In the waiting room, the husband asks, “What did the doctor say?”
The wife replies, “The doctor said you’re going to die.”
But seriously, folks
I wonder how many of us, who are siblings of autistic and other severely handicapped individuals would help the husband live a long and satisfying life. In a previous post I commented on something my father told me when I started to end a visit to him at the hospital. He said, “Where are you going? You don’t have anything better to do.” So I stayed a while longer. I couldn’t convince myself that I did have anything better to do.
Words from a brand new sibling
On the other hand, I interviewed my granddaughter, just before she became a sibling a week ago. She said, ” I don’t exactly want Mom and Dad to expect me to drop everything to take care of him. Just because you have a sibling doesn’t mean you can’t live your own life.”
Old habits are hard to break and I wonder how many of us siblings do not stand up for ourselves and put everyone else’s priorities before our own.