32 years ago today, I married my best friend. Little did he know that when he said those classic words that we all relate to our marriage vows (in sickness and in health), that he would be tested on a daily basis.
It’s easy to be the loving spouse when things are going great and life is good. But what happens when chronic illness joins the marriage and family? The patient with chronic illness is not the only victim.
I tried to reverse the situation in my head to contemplate what kind of spouse I would have been all of these years if my husband had been the one dealing with chronic illness.
Would I have:
- Been there before, during and after all 16 surgeries and medical procedures?
- Been by his side for important doctor visits?
- Cared for our children in every way, when he was unable to?
- Worked a full day and then cooked, cleaned, took out the garbage, did laundry and met everyone else’s needs on numerous occasions when needed?
- Run to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions or over-the-counter medications when he needed them, but did not feel up to the errand?
- Offered to rub and massage every painful hand, foot, neck or back whenever needed and then did so?
- Deliberately brought flowers, a movie or simple surprise just to cheer him up?
- Always been a caring and supportive listener at times that he felt down and needed to vent or cry?
- Always cleaned up pet accidents, no matter how gross, because I knew that he had a weak stomach and could not?
- Stood by his side with a thermometer; liquids and a cold rag for his forehead when he dealt with an acute virus or flu?
- Stood by his side, holding his head when he heaved over a toilet with nausea?
- Always kept a positive attitude and made every effort to cheer him up whenever he was feeling anything less than happy in spite of how I might have been feeling?
I could go on and on…
I would like to think that I would have been and have been the extraordinarily kind, wonderful, loving and generous spouse that my husband has been to me all of these years.
11,680 days…In Sickness and In Health, till death do us part.