I recently had the unpleasant experience of my husband being ill for nearly two years. He was diagnosed with an abdominal hernia, the symptoms of which escalated rapidly from the onset of diagnosis.
Because his work included lifting heavy weights, I tried to show him that it was better to lift with his knees as opposed to his method of lifting with his back. He completely ignored me. His diet was another concern of mine.
I could hardly get him to eat vegetables. His preference was flour dumplings and food cooked in a lot of oil. Eventually, he began to suffer and was often in a lot of pain. I saw this robust man (who was already slim) lose a lot of weight to the point of tremors (which he was not aware was happening). With all that, he continued with the diet that was slowly destroying him.
Eventually, he had surgery and has made an effort to be conscious of how he lifts things as well as agreeing to include vegetables in his diet occasionally (I’ll take the baby steps).
He was not the only one who suffered. There were the times I had to rush him to the hospital in the middle of the night as I watched him agonize in pain, throwing up everything he had eaten. On these nights, while he slept sedated, I paced up and down the public hospital corridors (they would not let me be with him) as I waited for morning to come. There were the sleepless nights as I helplessly listened to him groaning in pain as he slept fitfully. There were the occasions when the swelling and subsequent strangulation would be so severe that the hospital would prep him for surgery, only to cancel when the symptoms abated. (Believe it or not, some people have been on the waiting list for this surgery for as long as 5–10 years).
Eventually, the lack of sleep, the frustration, the helplessness took its toll on me. I became high-strung, stressed, worried, impatient, and of course, my blood pressure kept spiking.
I kept reminding him of the Word that said that a husband must love his wife even as his own body (Bible Reference: Ephesians 5:28) and urged him to demonstrate his love for me by taking care of himself. As couples grow old together, there is also the facing of our mortality and the acceptance that one day, one of us will be left behind. It is bad enough that we have this to face every day without the process being hastened by not taking care of our health.
I found myself wondering if he continued in the way he was going, how I would cope with any issue of aftercare. I started mentally rearranging my schedule and arming myself with scriptures that would help me to cope with the mood swings that would come from him being inactive. Would I be able to afford a nurse if he became incapacitated? I found myself creating scenarios and anticipating my reaction to his actions.
The truth is that as husband and wife, we have truly become one. It is a mystery that even Paul was hard pressed to explain. To me, this means that because we are one, whatever affects my husband in any way, affects me. We declared in our vows to love each other in sickness and in health, and we are prepared to honor our promises.
Author: Sylvia M Dallas
Poet, Author, Photographer, Teacher of the Word and CEO and Director of Creator Services at The Publisher’s Notebook Limited based in Jamaica. She is married to Rohan Dallas, is a proud grandmother, loves coffee (Jamaican, of course), loves great tasting and healthy food, love to cook and is an unabashed follower of Jesus Christ. Her books AND THE PRISONERS HEARD THEM, THE RIGHT KIND OF INTIMACY and THE BED DEFILED are available on Amazon.