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Paralyzed Son Needs More Care than I Can Give

Questioner

E (32-female-US)

Reply Date

May 22, 2019

Question

The problem I have with my son is because he is paralytic. He needs more care than any kid. Maybe in the past, it was easy, but now it is a problem; like when he has a bath, helping him to get dressed. This makes me close to him more than his brothers, but it will get more difficult when he gets older. I want to help him, he is my son, but I don't know.

Counselor

Answer


Paralyzed Son Needs More Care than I Can Give

In this counseling answer:

•It is time you got your other sons involved. Help them to understand the needs of your physically disabled son. Show them what they can do after all, he is also their brother.

•Encourage each of his brothers to take responsibility for his bathing, going to the toilet and eating.

•You need to keep up your good health and fitness, so take a break, learn to do something relaxing during the times that your other sons are in control of the situation. Visit a nearby friend, relative or just go for a refreshing walk.

 


As salamu `alaykum my dear sister,

I am sorry sister, but the only thing that can be ascertained from what you have said about your circumstances is that your son is paralyzed and has been paralyzed for a long time. It would seem that he is completely paralyzed and he is not able or it has been unrecognized how much he can do for himself; as such he is totally dependent on you for all his needs. As your son gets older (and heavier) it is getting more and more difficult to care for him in the way that you have always done.

It is easy to forget that:

“It is He Who created for you all things that is in the earth” (Al-Baqarah 2:29)

We forget, because we unknowingly set limits on our endurance, our love, our faith and our trust in Allah (SWT). You have done all that you can do, and maybe this is where the problem lies. You are a complete family (i.e. you are not on your own), and the son you care for has brothers. The son that you care for is not the oldest and not the youngest, so the question I ask is what role does your other sons and your husband play in the life of your physically disabled son?

karim serageldin & naaila clay

As a mother you do what you are supposed to do, but the idea of being in a family is not about taking on ALL the responsibility – it is about shared responsibility. Even a paid caregiver has to have rest, to do other things in order to return refreshed. Do you intend to outlive all of your sons? There will come a time when you can not care for your son anymore by the very nature of life and death.

It is time you got your other sons involved. Help them to understand the needs of your physically disabled son. Show them what they can do after all, he is also their brother. I assume that the son whom you speak of is not mentally disabled or learning disabled.

Even if the son you speak of is disabled in other aspects of his being, it does not mean that he should be treated any less. Maybe, by working together and sharing the responsibilities together, the family would be stronger and closer to each other. Maybe this is the lesson in your son’s disability.

“Narrated AbudDarda’: I heard the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) say: If any of you is suffering from anything or his brother is suffering, he should say: Our Lord is Allah Who is in the heaven, holy is Thy name, Thy command reigns supreme in the heaven and the earth, as Thy mercy in the heaven, make Thy mercy in the earth; forgive us our sins, and our errors; Thou art the Lord of good men; send down mercy from Thy mercy, and remedy, and remedy from Thy remedy on this pain so that it is healed up” ( Abu Dawud 28 #3883).

As much as you have considered the son you speak of, it is time to consider a) you and b) the family. You can begin with the tasks where your son’ weight is a stress factor on you.

Encourage each of his brothers to take responsibility for his bathing, going to the toilet and eating. As the son you speak enters his adolescence, regardless of his disability, he too will start to rebel a little even if it is for the simple fact that as manhood approaches; he will want to have a little dignity as far as ‘mother’ is concerned.

By involving his older brothers, their role in your paralyzed son’s development will be crucial as the desire to establish a sense of a) individuality, b) self-reliance and c) male identity separate from his parents, will come into his own.

For yourself, you need to keep up your good health and fitness, so take a break, learn to do something relaxing during the times that your other sons are in control of the situation. Visit a nearby friend, relative or just go for a refreshing walk. Also the more you know about what your son can do, the more you will be helping him and the whole family.

Sometimes it is all too easy of everything for someone because we assume that they are totally helpless. We are not aware of what they can do, and maybe they too are not aware of what they can do, because they never had to. There will be accidents and mistakes along the way, but this is how we learn after all.

Currently, if you have no support outside of the home, then it is the time that you get some support from the services that are available. This would help in your understanding of what your son can and cannot do, and at the same time, available services could provide access to education and the social development that your son needs. Try the following service and we pray that you will be pleasantly surprised and relieved:  National Organization on Disability

Salam

***

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About Hwaa Irfan

Late Hwaa Irfan, may her soul rest in peace, served as consultant, counselor and freelance writer. Her main focus was on traditional healing mechanisms as practiced in various communities, as opposed to Western healing mechanisms.

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