When A Wife Has To Question Her Marriage Vows

More than five years ago I married the love of my life. I can honestly say that he’s the love of my life as I’ve known him since I was 9, my first kiss when I was 11, and wrote his name on every notebook I had. We had a break-up of over 30 years, but we found our way to each other again and married quickly, knowing it was right. We stood in front of family and friends and made promises and vows to…

…to have and to hold
from this day forward,
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
all the days of our lives.

We always believe in the better, richer, health and love and cherish; but what happens when the “sickness” takes over. Shortly after we were married I began to feel really lousy. I thought it was a pretty standard UTI aka bladder infection. I’d had a kajillion over the years, so it was no big deal to me. It was however a big deal to my favorite Nurse Practitioner. She saw some unusual flags in my lab work and immediately requested more labs. Fast forward several weeks; I’ve met my new doctor, a nephrologist; a kidney doctor. It has been determined that I have Chronic Kidney Disease; a progressive disease. Simply stated, my kidney function is declining, and will likely continue until failure. It could be decades until that point, if ever; but some life style changes are needed immediately.

Together, my hubby and I, took a realistic look at my future and what it may mean; dialysis or transplant. We have been realistic and he’s amazingly supportive. He’s my Jiminy Cricket, he helps to keep me positive and on track. We have been transparent when people ask why I can’t have ‘brown pop’ or a big fat steak when we dine with friends. Yes, there are cheat days when I just ‘need’ a Diet Coke or sneak a bite (or 5) of hubby’s medium-rare steak. He’s not a chronic-cop, but he helps to keep me in check.

Here we are, after five years of marriage, facing another medical hurdle. For months I’ve been wrestling with multiple issues. Random weird, things; a rash on my face, extreme fatigue, horrific pain that was come and go, and ridiculous sleep patterns. Doctoring for independent symptoms, mainly because they seemed to have zero connection. At the end of April, I had such crippling chest pain that I went to the ER. Long story, longer; I was admitted to the Heart Hospital with ‘inverted T-waves’ on my EKG. My experience was less than favorable, but that’s another blog for another day. During my follow-up visits, I felt as though they though I was nuts or over reacting. I was told my chest pain was Acid Reflux and my fatigue was part of my Depression. I’ve battled depression/anxiety for decades; I know the difference.

I’m not sure if it was a quest to prove my sanity or just to prove the doctor wrong, but I kept pushing for more tests and demanding action. It seemed as though more medical professionals were scratching their heads and rolling their eyes. It wasn’t until I was referred to a Rheumatologist that I got some answers. Her answers were actually questions, questions no one else was asking. She connected dots and pursued more options. Today, I’m readying for an MRI to prove/disprove a diagnosis. As of now we have some answers, none of which are catastrophic, but not something to cheer about.

It’s in the waiting that I have such unrest; I’m not a patient, patient. It’s my husband that keeps me grounded. Perhaps part of his easy manner is a thread of naivety or disbelief, but he’s not one to dwell on my illness. I tend to be the one to dwell, roll around and be miserable, in my illness. I feel guilty for my illness, I want more for my family. I want to be more for them. I don’t expect them to be the Web MD freak that I am, and know each symptom and prognosis. It’s on days when I feel as though I can’t move, I have terrible pain and want to be a pitiful puppy that I question my marriage vow. Not necessarily my vow, but his.

I know that my husband professed before our friends and family that he would love me in sickness and in health, but neither one of us signed up for this. Husbands are amazing creatures, and have pretty similar natures; they are fixers. When I say that I’m having a tough day, he asks why. It’s not as though he doesn’t know why, but he’s wanting to now why so that he can fix it. His kind and loving nature wants to keep me from experiencing the ugliness. It’s in those moments that I get angry for the years I ‘wasted’ and lack of gratitude. It isn’t fair that the best years of my life, prove to be the most unhealthy.

But this is where faith steps in, the belief in something that is unseen. Our future is just that, unseen. No one knows or can predict what tomorrow holds. In sickness AND in health, we aren’t promised a tomorrow. It’s in that promise that I made, MY vow to love my husband in sickness and in health, that I understand that it wasn’t a promise of his sickness or his health or mine. We promised. WE have sickness and health. WE have better or worse. We promised.

It’s on that promise, that I will stand – or lie down in this instance – to pursue my sickness. I will take my 2 Xanax and cowgirl my way through an MRI, that I dread!!! I will seek answers and pursue treatments as my promise to him. No questioning my vows, but answering the call to love, all the days of my life.

 

Gone Baby Gone

I’ve come to the conclusion, I’m a curmudgeon. That old cranky broad that bitches about “this generation” and “you call that crap music”. Yes, I am she, but totally ok with it…
This generation will never understand the simple joys of growing up in a small-small town. Before the “nuke plant” came to town, when Super Value was the only grocery store and we didn’t have a stoplight. Gone are the days of the school kids painting the storefront windows (uptown) for Halloween. The quiet battle of getting to the shop owner first to claim your window. 

Gone are the days of going into Claire’s Crafts & Hobbies and actually see Claire, the small business owner minding the store. Where you can buy the model rocket kit you needed for Mr. Bradfords’s Science Class and poke at Taco the parrot, the store mascot. Not to mention, being a squealy girl watching the boa constrictor eat mice. 

Gone are the days of the “snake dance” through town for Homecoming. Where the town would turn out to join hands in a long pseudo-conga line to wind through the streets. It was often a crazy ride for which you would hang on for dear life. Many of us have battle scars to prove it. An event that would now have everyone sign a waiver, wrapped in bubble wrap and shin guards. Weenies!

Gone are the days of walking into Ma’s Place and seeing the same guys, sitting at the same table, having the same BS conversations, drinking lava like coffee, day after day. It was reassuring actually, you knew all was right with the world because it was being solved at the table in the middle. 

Gone are the days of pizza at Leombruni’s after the football game. We thought we were oh so cool. We were a rowdy group of punks!!! {{Please allow me a moment to apologize to Annette for being a little shit and lousy tipper.}} We didn’t really understand how people earned a living or how the world worked at that time. 

My heart is stirring with the memories of the old days; when we thought life was so complicated. The simple beliefs of honor and community were always revealed  on Good Friday. When all the stores uptown would close their business from noon to 3pm to honor the death of our crucified Lord. The hours He hung on a cross, dying. It was a proclamation of values of a small-small town. We celebrated faith. We expressed it outwardly. And yes, as a small-small town, everyone knew your business. The home-room-mom had likely called your mom to let her know you got in trouble at school and by the time you got home, even bigger trouble was standing in the doorway waiting for you! We also knew those same neighbors would be at your doorstep with a meal when a loved one died. They would be at your doorstep with a freshly crocheted afghan for your your new baby. 

Yes, this cranky broad misses her simple hometown life. But it ruminates within my heart, my soul and leads me forward. No, I don’t long to trade my iPhone I for the bright red teen-phone I had in my room, but I long to look at life through that filter of simplicity, community and values. A Good Friday indeed.