To The Partners of the Chronically Ill
While I work hard to provide you with accurate and up-to-date information at the time of publishing, as time passes some information may no longer be relevant or accurate. The field of medicine is a constantly evolving science and art. Thankfully! In 1951 a woman was given a lobotomy to treat her ulcerative colitis. That wasn't even that long ago!
Last night I met one of my readers and his wife. How cool is that? He’s just down the street right now staying in the hospital where I have had most of my hospitalizations and all of my surgeries. The nice thing about meeting another person who has the same chronic illness is that you instantly have things to talk about. There is always a chance of meeting an occasional weirdo that you don’t click with but usually it makes for instant friendship. I spent over 3 hours last night at the hospital sharing stories about good doctors, bad doctors, and all sorts of experiences that we have had in common.
This wasn’t what I came here to talk about today though. I wanted to talk about thoughts I had after meeting my friend’s wife and observing how great she is at caring for him. It was lovely seeing her by his side sharing their stories together; in this as a team. One thing I have not discussed much here are the people who take care of us. Being a partner of someone with a chronic illness almost means you have to live with that chronic illness yourself; just in a different way.
They Are Living with Your Illness, Too. Just In A Different Way.
Being a caretaker can require a lot at times. It means spending time with us when we are in the hospital and taking care of the home, pets, and children (if you have them) while we are unable to do as much as we normally would. It can mean a whole lot of stress financially. It can sometimes mean a stressful or absent sex life. It means being worried and scared about the health of the person you love and sometimes not feeling like you can talk about that because you feel as though you have to be the strong one.
This doesn’t even begin to cover it. There is a lot that goes into being with someone who has a chronic illness if it’s severe. It can be challenging to make a relationship work when stress and emotions from both parties run high.
We often feel guilty and like burdens on those we love and they feel all sorts of things themselves. Sometimes things are said out of anger that are not meant to be said and it requires a lot of communication to make it all work.
Not everyone is cut out for being with someone who has a chronic illness but that doesn’t mean those people don’t exist. I have had my share of both good and bad experiences and I sure know about the stress that illness can put on a relationship. I’m not sure about marriage but one day if someone is silly enough to want to spend their whole life with me. I hope it’s someone strong enough to handle the chronic illnesses that comes with me.
This post was edited on 7/15/2019 for appearance, grammar, and clarity, as I transfer my site from Tumblr to WordPress and rebrand Inflamed & Untamed.