Helplessness

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This December has not been good in terms of health for our family.  I was literally sick for 3 weeks, starting at the end of November.  Then, about 4 days ago, Adele came down with a fever and a cough.  Since this happened over Christmas, there were some mandatory family events that we could not miss.  So, we dragged her with us to a couple of parties, and even to my own birthday party (which was a surprise, by the way...but more on that in another post).  This is the 4th day that she's had the fever and we're starting to get a little worried.  My brother, Eric, who's a family doctor, took a brief look at her and thought she was not in too bad of a shape.  But he didn't have his "tools" (what are they called anyway?), so he couldn't properly examine her.  In any case, she's just constantly tired and is sleeping probably 80% of the day.  It sort of worries me what infection she's got.

Her cough is also not helping.  Because she's so young (almost 20 months), she doesn't really know how to control a cough.  So, for the past couple of nights, she's gagged herself during coughing and threw up in bed.  It's the most painful thing to see...the poor little girl going through all this pain.  I never understood why my parents always hassled me to see a doctor when I was sick, but I guess now I do.

To make matters worse, Renee seems to have contracted the infection from Adele.  She's feeling dizzy and has a headache and a sore throat.  They're now sleeping upstairs.  And what can I do to help?  I just feel so helpless and useless.  I remember reading or hearing somewhere (believe it's originally from St. Bernard of Clairvaux...after some googling) that there are 4 degrees of love, in ascending order:

  1. Loving self for self
  2. Loving other for self
  3. Loving other for other
  4. Love self for other
The least selfless love is loving the self for the sake of the self.  E.g.) I buy an iPad for myself because I want to own an iPad.  The second degree is loving another person for sake of self.  E.g.) I love my wife, because I feel good when I love somebody.  The third degree, often thought of as the highest degree, is loving the other for the sake of the other.  E.g.) I love my wife and sacrifice for her so that she would be better off.  However, that is not the highest degree.  The highest degree is loving the self for the sake of others.  And here is where it applies to my situation.  I must love myself (i.e. take good care of myself) for the sake of Renee and Adele.  Since they are both sick, I need to care for myself first, because if I also become sick, then that would do them no good.  So, the love of the self is in fact, a selfless love.  It is the highest degree because it may be most difficult, but yet, the right thing to do.  The direct application in "real" life is during an airplane safety video, "when the oxygen masks drop from the overhead compartment, put the mask on before helping others with their masks..."

So, I'm going to go to eat some fruits, take a nice hot shower, shave (yeah, I shave in the evenings...weird!), and go to bed early tonight, because I need to love myself!  And to all you caregivers out there, please take good care of yourself too!


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