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jerzeycate, June 4,  2020  4:56pm EST

As long as we both shall live...?

Marriage is a decision to walk through life together..
Marriage is a promise.
Marriage is a pledge.
Marriage is a commitment.

Most of us look back with fondness on our wedding day.
We remember it as a celebration of love.
I vividly remember reciting my marriage vows before my family, my friends, and my God…

“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 as long as we both shall live.”

I had a partner I had dreamed of.
It was even better than I had imagined.
I told my BFF, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”
I was right.

Like most people, I hadn’t given “the sickness” part of the vows much thought.
Why would I?
I was healthy.
We were in love.
Thought we had the world by the tail.

Illness is just a temporary situation...
Untl it isn't.
No one thinks they’re going to become chronically critically ill.
Certainly not in a matter of days--or a week.
Absolutely not from a common “virus”.
Truth is, serious illness can happen to anyone…
At any moment in time.

I got sick over a weekend.
It was a “simple respiratory virus”
Until it wasn't..
Until I didn’t get better.
Until this "simple virus" bought me a bed in ICU.
Seems the “simple virus” had settled in my heart.
Decimated the cardiac electrical system.
Made my heart grow 3 times it’s n normal size
Which, except if you're the Grinch, is not a good thing.
In a matter of weeks I went from a “simple virus” to “without transplant you have 3-months-to-live.”

Once I got sick...
I was sick all the time.
For five years we went from bad to worse back to bad
From hospital care to home care to hospital.
Crisis to crisis.
ICU to PCU to CCU…
Telemetry to home
Home to ER to PCU

A never-ending supply of symptoms to be diagnosed, treated, endured.
Moods to fluctuate.
Tempers to flare.
Guilt to set in.
Just enough patience to run short of...
Medications, treatments, devices, and outside help needed just to get through each day--
More than enough to drain our physical, emotional, and financial resources.

Living with chronic illness is like shooting at a target in the dark, with one hand tied behind your back. Yet, in some ways, I was better off than my husband. When things got really bad there were medications designed to remove any memories of “the incident” from my brain. These magic meds are never offered to the family members. What a shame.

My husband was the “well spouse.”
The one with Options to consider.
Decisions to make.
Responsibilities to fulfill.

Being married to someone who is chronically ill is exhausting.
In every sense of the word.
In every direction you turn.
No matter how deep the gratitude runs.
I was the one classified as the “patient”, but my steadily increasing needs did a real number on his well-being

My husband was the “well spouse.”
He faced his worst fear -- I was going to die.
He stood next to me while doctors examined, assessed, and treated me.
Held my hands for endless PIC lines and tests.
Sat nearby while therapists worked to get me moving.
Then he took me home.
Then he took me back.
Over and over.
Week after week.
Month after month.
Year after year.

He encouraged me.
He held my hand.
He promised me that I would be "fine."
He gave me the Hope I needed.
He told me that everything would soon be "back to normal."
All the time fearing-- knowing-- it wouldn't.
All the time...
Preparing himself for the worst.

Chronic Illness holds many secrets.
Loves to take prisoners.
Shows no mercy.
Transforms people.
Changes lives forever.
Everyone is thrown into the turmoil of abrupt change.
Though little by little I was getting a bit better…
The battle changed us.

Changed us as individuals…
Changed us as husband and wife.
Things would never be the same again.
And that was a "best-case scenario."

As my health deteriorated his moods went from anger
To resentment
To guilt
To compassion
To resentment
To guilt
Back to anger.
It always came back to anger.
Anger at the “circumstances.”
Tell me.
How does one argue with “circumstances.”

My caregiver desperately needed a caregiver.
Or a vacation.
Maybe a vacation with a caregiver.
Instead we got Divorce.

Our final Divorce Hearing is Scheduled for tomorrow.
It will be a Virtual Divorce Hearing.
Few words left for Family.
No invitations sent to Friends.
Most comments go unanswered...
Except for God.
He, as always, will make his presence known..

It’s been a year-and-a-half of paper and hearings…
And more Papers.
And more Hearings.
I keep wondering where it went so wrong.
How many ways can you say “I’m Sorry…”

Marriage was a decision to walk through life together..
Marriage was a promise..
Marriage was a pledge.
Marriage was a commitment.
Divorce has been...
Papers and Hearings.

3 Replies
  • AlyAHA
    AlyAHA, June 4,  2020  7:32pm EST

    Reading your post brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry for the circumstances you and he were faced with. Sending you strength to get through the final hearing tomorrow. 

  • jerzeycate
    jerzeycate, June 5,  2020  10:38pm EST

    Thanks so much for your comment and for investing yurself in readig this post. As is sometimes the case, ours is a "cautionary tale." about what can happen whn a fmily is ****** into the life of Chronic Illness. We have come s far. Yet we have so far to coe in order to help our patients ad families navigate the systems of treatment and recovery without lsing theselves and/or their loved ones and relationships. You, my AHA Staffer have a role in proting Change in these areas.

    What are we going to do?

    I can always tell by the number of engagements and Shares a post gegts on my 5 Social Media Pages This post was shared oved 200 times . That is the most Shares one Blog Post has ever gotten. It really struck a chord.... A very sad chord.

    It;s A Great Day to be Alive...



  • Halfrunner
    Halfrunner, August 10,  2020  4:13pm EST

    I want to try to give you some hope. Someone out there will love you even with your condition. The man I love has ischemic cardiomyopathy. When we started dating, I learned he had had 6 heart attacks. He told me at the beginning: "This condition is part of me, it will shorten my life. Sometimes, it makes me angry and I'm not fun to be around, but I promise that you will always know you are loved and that I think you're beautiful. If you think you can handle the hard part, I'll make the easy part great. If you don't want to take on the hard, then no worries. We had a fun couple of weeks." We've been together for nine years now. The hard has been hard, but we promised to make the easy great and we've been true to our words. Someone is out there that is strong enough to handle the hard times and cherish the easy times and that is who you deserve. 

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