Tag Archives: sickness

Reaching my limit: The story of one of the toughest weeks of my life

I have discovered that sometimes advice is easier to give than it is to live out.  A couple months ago I wrote about the importance of stepping up your game when your wife is sick.  The idea was that you’ve been practicing how to be a good husband and then it’s game time…time to step up and take care of your wife and kids no matter how tiring it is.  Well, this past week tested me on that philosophy.  I can honestly say that this was one of the toughest weeks of my life.

I did ok for a while.  Julia had a procedure on Friday where she had to recover by lying down for a day or two.  That wasn’t so bad.  I was all about making meals and taking care of things around the house.  It was a fun challenge!  About mid-day Sunday she started to take a turn for the worse though.  She had developed a spinal headache, which was the main possible side effect we were hoping to avoid.  She’s a pro at dealing with migraines, but this was much worse.  The plan from the doctors then was to take a couple more days to lie down and hope it recovers.  Ok…a couple more days…I can do this.  More meal prep, more dishes, more dog care, more Eli care.  It’s ok, this is what I’ve trained for!

IMG_2670Then, everything got even worse when I picked Eli up from school Monday.  He was complaining about his neck hurting and legs being tired.  I could tell he wasn’t his normal bubbly self (only speaking 500 words per minute instead of the standard 800).  A temperature of 103 prompted a call to the pediatrician.  Because of his symptoms, they were worried about the flu or meningitis, so off we went to the doctor.  Thankfully it wasn’t anything too serious…just a virus that would take a few days to run it’s course.  So now I’ve got two patients to take care of…and two dogs…and a house…and my work to balance around it.

wellstarhospitalThe next two days were a blur of exhaustion.  Julia and Eli weren’t physically able to do anything, so I stumbled my way through.  More meals, more dishes, more water cups, medicine, blankets, remote controls, pillows, and work.  Just when it all SHOULD have been getting better, it got worse again.  Wednesday afternoon, Julia realized her pain wasn’t going away, so we had to go BACK to the hospital for another procedure.  This one was ROUGH!  She equated the pain to the late stages of labor.  So then we went back home and Julia could move even less than before.  The spinal headache was gone, but then she had back back pain to deal with.  And of course, Eli was still running a fever ranging between 100 and 103.  I would have cried, but I was too tired.

I had high hopes for Thursday.  I hoped Julia’s back AND head would be better and that Eli’s fever would be dropping.  The morning was still tough, but as the day went on, Julia’s back got steadily better, which was great.  She was able to move around more, but still needed to take it easy.  Eli seemed to be feeling better and the fever was a little lower.  Just when I started to get hopeful though, Julia started to develop a regular headache…not a spinal one like from the procedure, but a normal headache…like the ones she used to have all the time…the ones that all this work was SUPPOSED to get rid of.  And…right before bedtime, Eli’s fever was 104.6!  Thankfully, after that point (7 days in) it got much better.  Eli’s fever dropped steadily over the next day and Julia started doing much better and able to get around.

It’s tough for me to emphasize how difficult this week was for me…physically from the non-stop serving I had to do, and emotionally from the back-and-forth health swings  that seemed to punch me down as soon as I got optimistic.  Thankfully I “survived” because of some amazing people who brought tons of meals, watched Eli, and went to the store for us…meeting our needs before we knew we had them.  Thank you family and friends who constantly found ways to help…and many more who offered!  I felt like I was climbing a mountain from the effort to simply heat up the meals, I can’t imagine what it would have done to me to have to prepare and cook them too!!  One night, I was so tired I actually almost posted on Facebook soliciting someone who would be interested in coming over to clean up the dishes.  I guess I felt it was a little too desperate, so I got up and did it myself.  Each night I was in bed around 9:15 because I just needed to sleep.

IMG_2680I had a realization Wednesday night.  Eli was burning up and just wanted to lay down with his head in my lap.  I reflected on how tough things had been and laughed at how ironic it was that the blog I wrote earlier about stepping up during sickness was written for times like this…but I felt incapable of doing it.  I felt like I didn’t have enough in me to keep going.  As I sat there stroking his hair, I thought…”This is what it is all about.  I am his father, and I am Julia’s husband, and the ONE thing that matters in life right now is that they are taken care of.”  The weariness and the pain of exhaustion is a very real act of service that I CAN give to them.  I can’t take away their pain, or make a fever go away, but I CAN stroke his hair as he rests…and hand his him water cup…and clean Julia’s dishes when she’s done eating.  I fought to keep the tears from coming, and I realized how desperately I love these two.

I don’t have a specific challenge for you this week other than reminding you of the importance of caring for your wife when she’s sick.  Basically, I just wanted to share my story.  I hope it was encouraging for you…and that I never have to go through it again…but I would if needed…every time.  :-)

…in sickness and in health

Close Up of Football Players Face in HelmetProfessional athletes spend most of their lives preparing for the game. They work in the off-season. They practice in the pre-season and between games. During this time they are conditioning their bodies to be in shape. They are fine tuning their swing, working on their routes, studying the plays, and practicing their shots. They go through scenarios of what the game will be like over and over, and then they rest. There is a purpose for all this training. When it’s game time, they need to be ready. Their bodies have to be at peak performance the whole game. They have to know how to execute all the skills they need during the game flawlessly. And, most importantly, they don’t have time to rest. They have to give it their all and then some. This is what they trained for.

Back when Julia and I got married, there was something that was asked of us at the ceremony, which is very common to most weddings. We were asked if we would love and care for each other in sickness and in health. Of course we said yes and went on our married way (see what I did right there :-) ). It’s easy to agree to that statement, but it’s much tougher to live it out.

stock-footage-sick-woman-in-bed-checking-her-temperature-and-blowing-noseOn a regular day, marriage can be tough. Some days are easy, but many are not. I’ve found that when one of you is sick, the difficulty is amplified significantly. If your wife is sick, and you want to care for her, you are going to step the work you do. You’re going to take care of the meals, and the household chores, and the kid duties. Plus, you’re going to be extra attentive to what her needs are, physically and emotionally.

I’ll be honest…this can be exhausting! When I am at my weakest, I sometimes feel…that I just don’t want to do it! But, then I realize…

My regular day-to-day life has been my practice field. I’ve been conditioning myself to learn how to do the chores. I’ve been practicing how to make meals and take care of Eli. I’ve been honing my skills so that meeting her needs becomes like a second nature. And now…IT’S GAME TIME! She needs me now more than ever. It doesn’t matter how tired I am or how much I want to relax. If I start to feel bad for myself, I just remember that she feels much worse. So, I will not stop. I will not slow down. I will do everything I can to meet her needs and take work off her plate. This is what I’ve trained for!

My challenge to you:
If your wife is sick, you better bring your A game. It will be tiring, but it will make a world of difference to her. Try to anticipate and meet every need she has. And, don’t stop until she’s feeling better.