I have it easy, being the sick one.
I know what you’re thinking, and no, I haven’t lost it. At least, not yet. But I’ll back up a bit for you.
I’ve been battling this current flare since right around Valentine’s Day. It’s had me particularly concerned because this time around, I have neck stiffness and pain along with a pretty constant headache. This is not a common symptom for me, and has had me worried that RA may be attacking my spinal joints. Not a promising prospect.
My doctor has me on a pretty aggressive course of steroids and pain medication until my appointment with the new rheumatologist on the 1oth. I’ve been doing okay, resting as much as I’m able and laying low, but things really amped up this weekend. I spent most of Friday night wide awake, fighting the urge to burst into tears from exhaustion and stress. By Saturday evening, I was dizzy, the headache had reached the point where I thought my head would explode, and I had developed a whooshing sound in my left ear.
So off we went to the ER.
They took good care of me in the hospital, and after administering medication for a migraine, which worked well, they sent me home with orders to rest and not let my pain medication wear off.
I awoke Sunday feeling almost human. I dutifully took my meds and even felt up to a run to the store for some much needed groceries. My fiance said he wasn’t feeling well, but we both thought it was from a lack of good sleep over the past two nights.
We made it halfway through Safeway before he gave out. While contemplating a sale on cookies, all the color drained from his face and he said he felt weak. He insisted I finish shopping while he waited in the cafe area. I rushed through my list, torn between worry and my own pain.
We made it home safely and I quickly ordered him into pajamas and went about loading him up on medicine and fluids. He curled up on the couch where he dozed off and on while I tried working on a few projects, reaching over every so often to check his forehead for signs of a fever.
Y’all, I don’t know how he does it.
It ate at me ALL DAY to know he was sick, hurting, miserable, and there was nothing I could do to take it away. I sat helpless as he napped, my hands itching to DO SOMETHING. I wanted, NEEDED to take away his pain and discomfort. I needed to make him feel better and it was all out of my hands.
Last night, as we got ready for bed, he thanked me for taking care of him. I nearly burst into tears as I asked him how he does it. He takes care of me EVERY SINGLE DAY. Every day he spends worried about me, checking me over for new symptoms, watching me for signs of disease activity. Every day he handles me with gentle touches, careful to not cause me any further pain. Every day he watches helplessly while I battle RA.
And there is nothing he can do.
He can’t take away the pain or the fatigue. He can’t erase the swollen knuckles. He does the little things, like rub my back and warm up the heating pads, but in his mind, it’s not enough. He loves me and wants so desperately to heal me, to take away my pain and discomfort.
Like I said, I have it easy being the sick one.
Fortunately, he seems to be a bit more himself today. It’s likely he’s picked up a bug and that combined with the lack of sleep and worry over me kicked his butt. He has his own invisible illness though, so the worry is always there that it’s something more.
I guess that’s the crux of truly loving someone. I live with my pain because I don’t have any other choice. But I would give a year of good days to take away his pain and illness. In a heartbeat.