Support for Spousal Caregivers

Swallowed by a Boa Constrictor
by Elizabeth Damick

I'm sure you cannot imagine that title being anyone's favorite song in life, nor even a top-10 number on the all-India hit parade.  Nevertheless it became my theme song for a time.  Because it was a ridiculous little ditty, a silly song kids might sing at camp, it made me laugh and relieved some of the stress I felt much of the time.

It was early Saturday afternoon, I was going to the laundromat.  I never go there on Saturday; Monday is laundry day.  Perhaps a great deal of urgent laundry had piled up because of my husband's health problems, I don't remember. But there I was, on my way about 1 PM.  I turned on my van radio to listen to a gardening program I enjoy.  I had missed the first few minutes so did not hear whatever introduction there was.  I heard a light tune, then these lyrics:

I'm being swallowed by a Boa Constrictor,
I'm being swallowed by a Boa Constrictor,
I'm being swallowed by a Boa Constrictor,
And I don't like it very much!

That's all there was.  I looked at the radio and laughed out loud. "That's it!" I cried.  "That's my Caregivers' theme song."

My husband and I had been married more than 50 years. More and more I was beginning to have detailed care for him, at first giving appropriate meds and going with him into examining rooms at doctor appointments, keeping a record of what went on.  No need to go into details, but Caregiving had become pretty much a full time task requiring strength, endurance and patience.  Only other Caregivers, I believe, can fully understand what happens, but the emotional, physical, and mental feelings can be similar to being swallowed by a Boa Constrictor.

I've long been a person who meditates on spiritual applications in life experiences and I did so now.  Satan is described in Scripture as a serpent who wants to squeeze and swallow us, to render us useless to God, our fellow man and ourselves.  If I were attacked by a real Boa Constrictor I would struggle and kick to get free.  As a Caregiver I sometimes felt that role was squeezing and swallowing me, and I didn't like it very much!

To defeat the serpent-Satan, I needed to utilize spiritual weapons and I did so.  I prayed that the Lord would produce in me the Fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) 

Day by day I felt I was being rescued from the Boa Constrictor, even though the Caregiving work and difficulties were still there for many more months.  And the funny little ditty provided many moments to chuckle over.

Copyright, Well Spouse® Association.

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Phone: (800) 838-0879