My husband texts me every morning. It’s a simple thing. It’s kind of romantic, kind of corny. I’ve teased him about it, all the while grinning because I like it.
Until I found out the other reason he does it.
There are nights I don’t sleep. There are mornings I am sleeping so deeply, he can barely tell I’m breathing, let alone wake me up. And then there are the mornings after I take my methotrexate.
I’m one of those patients that endure unpleasant side effects the day after my medication. In particular, I am physically ill and weakened for a day or two while my body adjusts.
I do this every week, every month, every year.
It’s unpleasant enough that sometimes I’m too exhausted from the night before to be able to wake up the next morning when my husband leaves for work. In my defense, he does leave early … however it never occurred to me the impact on my husband because I thought he just missed getting a goodbye morning kiss.
He texts me, that morning after, to make sure I’m still alive.
I will be honest: I broke down and cried when he told me that. I always knew my chronic illness affected him because he cares about me and doesn’t like to see me in pain. And, sometimes, it’s damn inconvenient not being able to do all the things we want to do. It just never occurred to me that day in, day out, he lived with my disease that way.
If you’re like me, we sometimes forget that our loved ones are also impacted by our chronic disease. And, sometimes, we just don’t realize how deeply.
They stand by as we cry from the physical and mental pain of inflammation, fatigue, and injury.
They stand by as we battle infection, complications, and depression.
They stand by as we manage the healthcare system.
All the while, they balance doing things for us with allowing us the dignity of doing for ourselves. These are the people that stand up for us when we cannot, that hold us when we need holding, that quietly manage their own needs after ours.
Anyone that doesn’t demand that care-givers need a voice simply hasn’t been there.