Friday, July 31, 2009

For Better or Worse, In Sickness And In Health...Did They Mean This?

My husband and I have been married for 28 years come this October and we have been through many ordeals as any couple has that has stuck it out for this long.

Tragedies of deaths of family members, close friends and others we knew, have hit our hearts hard and made us appreciate life all that much more.

We have struggled with family addictions to drugs and alcohol and filled in the holes in our hearts with long work hours, higher education & video games so we could pretend it wasn't bothering us, when inside, it was ripping our hearts out.
Throughout our lives, we have clung onto each other and at other times, we shoved each other away, unable to bear the pain or losses in our lives at the time. Yet, through it all, we have endured. I've often times stated I was to damn stubborn to let go. But I know it was in Gods plan that we endure.
We have also endured our share of downtime such as when I had C-sections to deliver our children, when he had a hernia repair, his foot operated on and lastly, my spinal fusion. We both managed to still participate around the house and help, but right now, I am at my most vulnerable and he is becoming exhausted.
What is happenining? He is working at his job, 6 days a week most weeks and we are grateful he has a job, but it is long hard hours, the temperatures have been so high here the last week (for our area) that he has even become sunburned and the exhaustion is setting in.
In addition to working long hours, he is woke up in the middle of the night to help me get up, roll over, get my medication. He has to ensure I have a phone near our bed before he leaves in the morning and that the children are up and out of bed during the week for their summer program.
He comes home after work, shops, cooks dinner, cleans up the mess, does laundry and in the mean time, our house needs painting, he is trying to prepare things for winter and he is becoming weary. He is also very much aware that my paycheck I received a few days ago was the last one I will see in awhile...his shoulders begin to droop with the load he is carrying.
Do we really ever prepare for a long illness of our spouse? What happens when the 'in sickness' part becomes in our face reality? If we have family that can help out, we are blessed. In our case, my hubby took 3 weeks off work, our church brought meals daily for awhile and our wonderful friend (really family member) John, has come up to help for days at a time, giving of himself so unselfishly, that he can never know how much we love and appreciate him.
I try to help when I can and where I can, however, I can only sit up for about 30 minutes at a time now (any longer and my back spasms and legs draw up in cramps), I have to wear this huge bulky brace that requires someone helping me into it and I can communicate with friend via the internet.
Our grandchildren have been wonderful throughout this, sitting with me, keeping me company and doing their best to help where they can. They are still children and as such, make as many messes without thinking about them. Yet, they give 100% of themselves in all they try to help perform. It is my job each day to ensure they have ample time to play with friends and be children.
Having a spinal fusion means that I cannot:
carry anything over 5 pounds
put on my own shoes and tie them
bend over to pull up my jeans
get up out of a soft chair without assistance
These things if I am to heal, require I have help. So I wear slip on sandals, light button or zip robes and sit in a hard backed chair.
No one expected me to return to the hospital for a second surgery 3 weeks after the first one. No one expected me to be back in the hospital for another 5 days. A bump in the road to recovery, but to my husband it may as well be a mountain in the roadway.
Yesterday I was happy. The kids were out playing and hubby was working on 2 old dressers he got free so he can place them in our patio area and use them to hold his tools. He also prepared a shelf for me for under a window in the front of our house. A neighbor came over and all of a sudden the project turned into so much more than hubby intended. Our neighbor is a really sweet person, however, he tends to become involved in projects we or others are doing and meddles more than anything.
So, it was without surprise when hubby came in last evening that I became the object of his anger. He was yelling at me and telling me he is tired, I don't know how tired he is, he has to do everything around here, anyway you get the picture. And me? Oh, I just listened because I heard the same thing last week and I brought that on myself last week. Yesterday, our neighbor brought it upon me.
What I am trying to say here, is that our spouses hurt when we hurt. They feel helpless, when we are helpless and when we can't do anything for ourselves, they must stop what they are doing to help us out. Marriages are team efforts and much like the major league ball teams, when one of their players is out of the game, it takes a bit to find someone else to fill that empty spot.
My step-dad is in the same game we are in. My mom has RA and cancer. They are not as young as we are, but he is there for here to help when and where he can. I can only imagine how weary he is or how weary anyone is going through a long-term illness.
Sometimes, God puts us in a place so we can have our eyes opened and see what His plans are for us. For me, a Type A personality, He is assuring me things can and do go on without me. For my hubby, God is showing him how things are when only one person is carrying the load and perhaps He is working on him in ways I do not know. I lift my husband up in prayer.
So, when it comes to the 'in sickness,' part of your marriage vows, be prepared as much as you can ahead of time. Let others know how long you will need their help. More than that, ensure that each day or each evening your spouse has time for themselves, precious down and me time that they need so they can continue to help us get stronger each day!
As my son Justin told me in a letter I received yesterday,'mom, I know you are strong, the most strong person I know and I know soon you will back up better than ever, if dad can only make you stay down and care for yourself as you have cared for us all our lives.'
Now, where did I put the telephone number for the pizza place? While I may not be able to do much, I can order pizza, ask a friend to drive me to the doctor, one step at a time, one day at a time and soon, this will be behind us.
As for hubby? I know he is asking himself, In Sickness and In health? Did I bargain for all this?

1 comment:

Helene said...

You both sound awesome and so lucky to have each other as tough as times may get.