Oooooo to be young again… you walk down that isle ready to begin your life with the man you love. You have all these plans and you swear it will all be PERFECT. You will have the perfect children and the perfect house and the perfect marriage. You WILL live a storybook life!
Yeah.. okay.. how long did it take YOU to figure out that it doesn’t work that way? Didn’t take me long. In fact, I regularly give this advice to any young person who is willing to listen. NO marriage is perfect…NO life is perfect, and NO child or adult is perfect. If you go into your new marriage realizing that, you have won half the battle. I think that is the biggest issue that contributes to divorce these days…that everyone wants instant gratification and perfection and if they don’t get it they want out. MARRIAGE TAKES WORK. And if you put the work in, the good times out weigh the bad and the good is REALLY good. And you are much better equipped to handle the bad. Because… THE BAD WILL HAPPEN. But, if you have the love and the commitment to stick it out, no matter what, it will always get better. But, it has to be on both sides and divorce cannot be an option. I truly believe God has a soul mate picked for all of us. He creates the fate that brings you together. And when you just give up on that union without trying you are telling God, “No thanks..I will look for something better.” Now I realize there are extenuating circumstances like infidelity, abuse, etc. and that’s a different story. The Bible speaks of this and there are legitimate reasons to leave a marriage. But I will tell you, there is nothing more satisfying than looking back on a 32 year marriage, ( YES! 32 YEARS!) and seeing the fruits of your labor, and feeling so fulfilled that you worked at it even when it was hard. And I really think that having that history with the good and the bad makes your love grow stronger. You are INVESTED and you WANT to stay. And with that investment comes a bond that you can only achieve through time, trials and tribulations.. joy and heartache and accomplishments… miracles of childbirth.. raising your children… loss…supporting each other even when you don’t agree.. swearing you hate this person then realizing you don’t and feeling guilty because you did…sickness and health…richer and poorer.. it all adds up. And like any investment, you don’t walk away. Because we all know sometimes investments are stable, sometimes they grow and sometimes they lose, but you don’t give up, you just change your investment plan until it works. I hate to compare marriage to investments but it really makes the point.
And, let me tell you, you better have a really good foundation and investment in your marriage when a spouse falls ill. Because it will be the BIGGEST test of your marriage. I had seen many others go through it in my life and I often marveled at their strength and wondered if I could be that strong if it ever happened to me.
And when you are faced with that situation it doesn’t hit you until way later… when the nurses and doctors go away and the reality sinks in. When YOU realize that this person SOLEY depends on you and life will never be the same. Your MARRIAGE will never be the same. In fact, it takes on a whole new definition and meaning.
When you suffer with heart failure and diabetes, the lower extremities can have all kinds of issues. Poor circulation and water retention become a real challenge. And that paired with side effects from way too many medications makes you wonder what is worse…side effects or the actual illness?
Hubby began to suffer from horrible severe water retention and lovely constipation. We laugh now at how swollen his feet and legs were. They were huge!! And it made it very difficult for him to walk which was crucial to his recovery. He was also dealing with a pesky cough that wouldn’t go away and made it very hard for him to sleep. So he wasn’t walking well and wasn’t getting enough sleep.
The cardiologist had him on the max of diuretics and Hubby peed more than anyone I have ever seen! LOL! It also made his skin SO dry and it peeled off him like snakeskin. I literally had to vacuum our bed and sweep the floor twice a day to keep up with his skin flakes! Not very fun for him. There were just no moisturizers that would work. We tried everything. My Arbonne oil probably worked the best, which doesn’t surprise me.
He also could not get a handle on the constipation. Stool softeners, fiber, laxatives, we were trying it all. This was at a time his Mom was staying with us and she would insist that an enema was the only solution. We shied away from that concept as long as we could. Because with Hubby’s condition guess who was going to have to administer this enema? The loving, invested, for better or for worse, no matter what.. wife. Okay.. I had already been helping him daily with his “bathroom hygiene” which was humiliating enough for him (it didn’t bother me, I raised 4 kids!!) but now I was going to have to tell him to bend over buddy and take a deep breath! Here might be a good time to reiterate the whole commitment and investment in your marriage thing. There is NO way a spouse could have the guts to do these things without a VERY deep commitment..no pun intended :).. or no way a spouse could withstand ALLOWING their significant other to do such things without being sick with embarrassment, without that long built investment in each other.
I won’t go into gory details of our marital bathroom adventures of constipation relief.. but I will tell you it is now a great go-to joke in this family and after 32 years of marriage I can now say that I am officially familiar with EVERY square inch of my husband. And that was an anatomy lesson I am quite sure he could have done without! 🙂 I tell him it just made us closer, but no way never EVER never EVER on this God’s green earth will I allow HIM to take care of me in a constipated state! Ain’t happenin! I guess I will just have to explode! 🙂
It was becoming closer to the date Hubby was going to try and go back to work, but we both felt he wasn’t quite ready. The swelling was just not subsiding and his doctor was getting concerned. The reason the swelling is such an issue is because it means that the heart is not doing its job and the damage to it is significant. So we went to see his doc and he wasn’t very positive about the whole situation. He simply said, his heart is obviously unable to pump hard enough to keep everything from swelling and now it is affecting the lungs (the cough) and it has to be addressed. So we looked at each other and knew full well what was coming… another hospital stay.
*** Please note the gray hair, reading glasses, and happy wrinkles…all rewards of an invested, committed, long and happy marriage hee hee 🙂 This was us on a LONG awaited little date (selfie!!) at our favorite restaurant in OHIO. First one since he was sick 🙂
Hubby already hated hospitals before this even happened and now is being told he has to go back after that long 17 days we already experienced. Turns out they needed to put him on a Lasix drip, which is the diuretic he is on in a pill form, to really combat the fluid. Having fluid in the lungs is dangerous and we had to get that under control. And his fluid in his legs and feet was becoming worse and very painful and walking was just not easy for him.
We didn’t even go home, they just admitted him right from there. I could see in his eyes he was defeated. It broke my heart. I think he felt very hopeless at that moment…like it was never going to get better and this was now what his life would be like. And I know he was worried about if he would ever be able to go back to work, and I was too. As much as you are worried about your Husband’s health and well being you can’t help but worry about your future and supporting your family. Especially for him, when you are the man of the family, and all of a sudden you feel helpless and not much like a breadwinner. And you don’t feel like the strength that has always bonded the family together and you are petrified about what will happen. I felt in my heart the fear he was feeling. Another thing that happens when you have that invested bond, you can always feel what the other is feeling.
Now hubby had to make the call to work that it would be another couple weeks before he could come back, and get to begin the mounds of disability paperwork that goes along with it 😦
And now we begin Day 1 of “5 Days”….
Until next time.. be a blessing… share a blessing… be blessed xoxo
** The pic at the top (the computer screen doesn’t do it justice) was sketched by my very talented son who is an Artist/ Art teacher and recently surprised us with this beautiful keepsake. Please notice his signature of the swirling heart and intertwining swirls between us… Love that talented boy! 🙂