I remember standing at the altar saying our vows when we got married. Ian always tries to make me laugh, and even then he didn't miss the opportunity. The line, 'in sickness, in health', he gave me a look which had me chuckling a wee bit. I had warned him not to do that. That was my biggest fear...standing at the front of the church, giggling uncontrollably and unable to speak. Somehow, I regained composure and I carried on.
But that wee bit of laughter is a sign of how we've lived ever since, even throughout health issues. Throughout the pain, throughout the hardly able to move days, Ian has always managed to make me laugh. Laughing can be bad when you have trigeminal neuralgia, but that's a breeze compared to laughing when you have a broken rib!
It's probably important to stress that Ian isn't actually laughing at me, but laughing with me. And a bit of laughter while I am in a lot of pain is so good for my mind and soul. It makes life a wee bit nicer. And if he has succeeded in making me laugh, I am sure it has made his life a wee bit nicer too.
I always say that my pain not only affects me, but my husband too. How true this is. For every person who lives with any kind of chronic illness, there is most likely at least one person living with it along with them.
Living with a chronic health condition
It's not easy.....but it's not easy for the partner either
It's frightening......but it's frightening for the partner too
It's stressful.....but it's also stressful for the partner
It affects so many aspects of life.....for their partner too
It affects social life, work life, home life....for both
I don't know where I would be without Ian. He is the one who keeps me strong. He looks after me when I am needing looked after. He is the one who picks me up when I am down. And yes, he picks me up when I fall down! He is my carer.....but he still my husband.
I don't know how he copes. He sees me when my pain is at its worst. He watches me count out my meds every day, sometimes he has to get them for me in the middle of the night. He takes me to countless doctor and hospital appointments. He sees the way the meds affect me some days.......I'm sure I must drive him crazy at times. I drive myself crazy. Like when I sleep most of the day. Like when the words won't come. Like when the memory doesn't remember. Like when I just do plain silly things sometimes. Like when I tripped over my own big feet and nearly landed in the chicken plucker! (Rest assured that I am bruised, but unplucked!)
But he just raises his eyebrows and shakes his head and laughs it off. I'm not trying to say he's a saint. He's not.....but neither am I. But I am extremely lucky. Somehow, we cope with it all together.
Perhaps, along with the meds which we are dished out, maybe doctors should think about our partners too. I know that there is no magic pill to make life easier, just like there is no magic pill to take away the TN. But maybe if partners knew that the doctor was looking out for them too, it could maybe help a little. Sometimes a little care for the carer is in order to make sure they are coping.