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I turned to my husband and read aloud:
“Mostly, however, [they] are just immensely lazy. They spend up to twenty hours a day asleep, normally emerging to look for food just after sunset. They seldom venture more than 150 feet if they can possibly help it. This may be part of a survival policy for mortality rates rocket whenever they are compelled to migrate.” (Bill Bryson, “At Home“, page 287) *
And he said exactly what I was thinking, “It’s me!”
Yes. It is.
Rage Against the Minivan has an ongoing series entitled, “What I want you to know“. Last summer she had one that really hit home, “The Loneliness of a Having a Spouse with a Chronic Health Disability“. I’ve wanted to write a similar post since reading it (and maybe I will submit this to her as a guest post).
My husband is 38 years old and wishes he could die. (Read here for multiple posts about his pain)
We can’t pinpoint exactly when the groin pain started, but it was around 11 years ago. He had surgery, which helped for a while, and then things got worse. The doctor found a hernia so he had surgery again, which helped. Until it didn’t. He had an electronic device implanted into his spine. But it didn’t help. He went from not being able to go on hikes, to needing a walking stick, to the cane, then the wheelchair, now even the wheelchair is too painful to be in for more than 30 minutes.
The cluster headaches began about 12 years ago. Something you have to understand about cluster headaches is that un-medicated they are more painful than childbirth. On heavy, constant medication, they are reduced to the level of a bad migraine. Because my husband is now a “chronic”, he deals with these 6-12 hours of every. single. day.
So I worry. Every day I worry.
Will he be able to sleep today at all? Will he sleep all day and not get up when the kids come home from school?
Will he wake up at all or will the pain and medication finally overcome him? Will he give up and end it?
Can he safely drive the kids to school? How much longer can he drive?
How many more Christmases will he miss the kids opening gifts because he can’t get out of bed?
How many more “family vacations” will he miss because he cannot travel?
Will the child-like faith he once had return? Will he be jaded forever?
Should we move hundreds of miles to be closer to family (we have none for 500 miles)? Should we stay and keep the doctors and friends that we have?
Will I make enough money to cover the bills? Will he get the disability that he applied for long ago?
If something happens to me, who will take care not only of my kids, but also my husband?
So many worries on my mind. Almost all the time. Sometimes the only relief I have from family worries is when I am at work, but then no one is home to help care for him or the kids. It is a constant balance of caring for my husband, caring for my kids, and trying to care for myself. And it hard. And I worry. A lot.
*And the creature from Bryson’s book that was so similar to my husband? The rat. He has become like a rat.