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Happy Monday! I want to give ya’ll a brief update on Carl. His surgery went well and his kidney stone has been blasted into a bunch of tiny pieces that he won’t even feel when they pass. After the surgery, the doctor sat with me to give me all the details. She ended it with this, “I warned him the recovery will be very painful, many say it’s worse than the actual kidney stones. Men don’t handle it well, particularly young men. You have your hands full and I wish you the best of luck.” She was right. Carl is in a lot of pain that he says is without a doubt much worse than the pain that took him to the ER twice. He’s been strong though and I’m incredibly proud of how well he’s been doing. I’m also super thankful my sister and brother in law have been visiting and help keeping him company. He continues to improve and should we back to 100% in about 10 days.

I must admit my naivety when it came to the challenges Carl and I would face in our marriage. When Carl and I were married last May we vowed to love and care for each other for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, etc. till death do us part. It’s pretty clear this past month has tested us on the “in sickness and in health” portion. I never and still never question my commitment to Carl, but I’m constantly amazed at the ways our marriage has grown and strengthened since taking those vows. Before this, I considered only the minor and major possibilities, not all the things that come between. My vague perception of them has changed with our kidney stone experience and I wanted to share with you all the expanded meaning of in sickness and in health as I now understand them.

The Real Meaning Of In Sickness & In Health // Vowing in sickness and in health involves a lot more than giving them cold medicine and holding their hand. Here's a look into what else is involved.

It involves a multitude of illnesses

This sounds terrible, but when I thought of “in sickness and in health” prior to marriage, in my mind it meant flu season and/or cancer. Yes, those are two extremes. I guess I just thought of the minor and the major and all the in between never made it to the front of my mind. There will be times when Ibuprofen does the trick, there will also be times you spend days trying to figure out what’s wrong. Unfortunately, there may also be times you spend months or years fighting a battle with much uncertainty. You’ve made a commitment to being there for your spouse through it all.

It involves much more than holding their hand and giving them medicine

It’s telling them it will be ok, even when you have no idea what’s wrong. It’s making sure the right people are notified about their condition. It’s knowing what doctors need to be called and having the phone numbers. It’s driving them to their doctor appointments. It’s keeping track of insurance information and making arrangements with their employers.  The little things like making sure their comfiest clothes are clean and their phone stays charged. Even driving to get them the random food they are craving and filling their prescriptions on your lunch break. Setting alarms in the middle of the night to make sure they wake up for pain medicine. I’ve learned the little things are just as important as the big things. It can also be as easing as asking, “what do you need from me to help you through this?”.

It’s sacrificing in multiple areas of your life

Using vacation days to take them to the doctor and staying home with them to make sure they’re ok. Rearranging your monthly budget to account for the extra expenses.  Never sleeping for more than four hours at a time because that’s their medicine schedule. Making sure they have food when they need it to go with the right dosage. My biggest sacrifice is privacy, for both of us. I’ve helped Carl do things I never thought would be a part of marriage. I’ve also given up being alone because Carl needs and wants the company.

It’s taking the financial hit

When this is all said and done, Carl will have been out of work for nearly more than a month. Not getting paid for a month or so of work isn’t too great. I can’t just look at Carl and say, “welp, sucks for you,” and leave him with all the medical bills. My money goes towards his debt too and I have to budget to keep everything taken care of.  Fortunately, many factors are allowing us to make it through this without financial ruin. We’re very lucky our insurance is through the hospital and he gets several perks for being an employee and we’re also lucky we managed our finances the way we do.  I’ve now realized just how easy it is for a family to fall into crippling debt just from a single medical issue. Be sure your family is prepared for such challenges and understand that cutting back will be necessary.

I knew marriage would be a lifetime of growing and changing in ways planned and unplanned, and this kidney stone is just an unplanned event in our story. It has taught us new ways to support each other and helped our love grow even more. I am in no way looking forward to our next time of sickness, but I know for certain that there’s no challenge we can’t handle together.

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  • Those are really wise words. It’s so true. My husband knew that I was chronically ill–that I would need outpatient treatments every couple of month for the rest of my life and that I will be different variations of sick. He amazes me every day because I’ve gotten sick way beyond what we ever thought would happen and he goes to work every day for us, makes my life more full than I thought it could be when I’m sick, and is just there for me to cry on. And I still need additional help from family to take care of myself. I’ve asked him why he stays and it STILL amazes me that “I love you,” can be enough. I hope that I would be the same in his situation.

    • What a wonderful husband you’re blessed with! It’s amazing the strength love can give us. I always roll my eyes at the typical Disney “love conquers all,” lesson, but I’ve learned that love for a person can motivate you to push through whatever situations life surprises you with.

  • somecallmecj

    Wow, thank you so much for this wisdom. I am engaged now and I want to share this with my fiancé. It is something we need to be preparing for. I think we’ve gotten a good start with it, though. I actually feel bad for him because I am the one that has a few medical conditions that require time and attention when I give it to them. The financial aspect, and more importantly knowing where both of our insurance cards are and such and having files and being organized and merging our lives, was such wakeup call just now.

  • Since DJ and I moved in together two years ago this coming May, we’ve gone through so much in the health category. We may not be married [yet] but since I met him almost three years ago, we’ve already surpassed so many sicknesses and tests in health. The financial hits are huge. The stress of caring for one another is also huge. But we’ve made it, and it only proves to me just how strong we are, and stronger since experiencing each instance. It’s a real test to a relationship, and I feel like we’re doing great.

    I’m so happy your husband is doing better! My aunt actually has this kidney thing going on right now. She has, apparently, almost 30 stones in one of her kidneys… It’s the most painful thing in the world to have to go through. Sending prayers to y’all. <3

    -Sarah
    http://fromdogwoodstomagnolias.blogspot.com/