I'll tell you one thing--almost no one ever gets it correctly! It's kinda like how much I weigh. I look smaller than I am. However, this blog post is not about my climbing weight brought on by major stress eating.
Here's the deal. I've become acutely aware of how others view me in regards to being part of a couple over the past few months. When my husband got the news that he was sick, we embarked on exhaustive and comprehensive consultations with not one, but two different medical centers.
I hadn't been working that much as I desperately needed to take time off when my father became sick. I had already been feeling like I needed some sort of break, and hearing about my dad, and his prognosis, seriously shook me to my core.
Learning about my husband literally brought me to me knees (only this time it was not for the purpose of fellatio). I made a silent contract with him that I would support him as much as he needed and that included scheduling and coordinating doctor's visits, body scans, and his future treatments. Hell, I even threw in a verbal "I'll even see your family face to face" for good measure. Believe me when I say that this was no small gesture. My husband and I had decided years ago to segregate me from his family. It's less stress on him, and he doesn't have to worry about me face-punching a particular person while in the middle of dinner at a fancy restaurant.
I've been through A LOT in my life, and I can tell you that there is nothing more excruciating than waiting for a diagnosis and treatment plan when it comes to a loved one. I can't express this enough.
Something curious started happening once we were plugged into the 2 medical centers. My husband was still working pending a final diagnosis. What ended up happening is that he saw no less than 3 specific doctors at each medical center. Each individual doctor ordered at least one (if not two or three) additional tests. And guess what? All those tests need to be scheduled. It became very clear to my husband that the medical team were calling me a hell of a lot more than they were calling him. They had all met me at one time or another, so it didn't seem weird to me. But, it kind of felt weird to my husband. After all, he was the one who was sick, and I was getting all the medical calls. Don't get me wrong, he wasn't hurt or upset by this. He just found it amusing that I had so quickly bonded with the medical teams (he calls this my "super power"), and that they opted to call me first.
Thankfully, he has completed his initial treatment. There is still much more to come, but I see this as a huge accomplishment.
I know that I am extraordinarily lucky to have the option of stopping work. Working for myself allows me that flexibility, and I'm not sure what my game plan would have been if I were working for the "man". It became increasingly clear that the vast majority of the patients were alone when getting their treatment. Very few had a partner, family member, or someone else waiting for them in the waiting area. I know that everyone has their own set of circumstances, and many partners are simply not able to accompany their loved one to medical appointments due to work, children, and what have you. Again, I know my situation blessed me with the freedom to accompany my husband to all of his various treatments. I honestly don't know how people get through daily medical treatments without a strong support system. Being able to spend this time with him allowed me to help share the emotional, physical, and psychological distress of his diagnosis.
To be honest with you, it never even occurred to me that I would NOT go with my husband (and drive the 90 mile round trip) for his daily treatments that lasted for 6 weeks. Even though my father had just recently passed away, I knew deep down that it was what needed to be done. If nothing else, I know for certain that I can look back upon this difficult time and admit that I did good by my husband. In fact, it was one of his doctors who noticed me everyday in the waiting area. This caused him to ask my husband about the frequency of my attendance. He was surprised to hear that I literally didn't leave his side since he has become sick. He also told my husband that he was "a very lucky man!"
We both got to know the members of his medical team pretty well--at least as much as one can possibly connect with medical staff when seeing them 5 times a week for many weeks. Now, I've already mentioned that my husband and I look quite young for our age. After a few weeks of treatment, we began asking the staff how long they thought we had been married. Most said between 5 and 10 years. That is not at all uncommon for us to hear. The most wrong answer we ever got was from one of our most like-able physicians. His answer, after thinking about it a moment, was 3 years. I had no problem telling him that I didn't want to hurt his feelings, but that was the single most wrong answer we have ever heard. When he told him we have been married for over 17 years, he was quite shocked. In fact, I believe the next words out of his mouth were "wow...you guys still seem so happy." My usual response to this is that we are happily child-free.
I guess the point of the this blog post is having the realization that people can obviously see how much my husband and I adore each other. To many people, we appear to still be in the honeymoon phase. Thinking about this humbles me and brings a huge smile to my face.
I never expected my husband to become gravely ill, and having that occur at the same time of my dad's sickness was almost too much for me to handle. Luckily I have an amazing support system. I can not say this enough. The people in my life who have and continue to support me are doing the work of angels.
This may be wishful thinking, but I would like to imagine that my husband has found new ways of falling in love with me. He has never personally experienced the "getting shit done" Catherine mode in this particular way before. His sickness has helped to solidify our relationship, but it goes way beyond that. Being able to get people in the medical world (and remember that they see a ton of people every single day) to believe we are still newlyweds is kinda priceless.