Thanksgiving is almost here, y’all. Scroll through any social media channel and you’ll see people sharing their thoughts on gratitude. Daily reflection on the things I am grateful for is important to me. I keep a gratitude journal on my nightstand.
While writing this column, an unexpected event crept into our lives. I have been overwhelmed and somewhat numb for the past several days. Life does not slow down when living with a life-threatening illness like pulmonary hypertension (PH). But my family never saw this curveball coming.
My husband was experiencing odd symptoms. He had an episode at work more than a month ago that he didn’t mention to me, even though I worked as a nurse prior to my diagnosis. He reasoned that my doctors have said that adding stress to PH is bad.
He is a cyclist who rides 40 to 80 miles a week. Recently, he was carrying groceries when I noticed him stop to catch his breath. I knew something wasn’t right. He insisted he was OK, but admitted that he had stopped after 10 miles on his last two bike rides because his right arm was numb.
My wife and nursing brain kicked into overdrive. Without trying to freak him out, I told him that we needed to have him checked out by a doctor.
He agreed to see his primary care provider, who ordered an electrocardiogram and messaged a cardiologist friend of hers. Little did she know that she would save my husband’s life!
We saw the cardiologist that evening, and he sent us to the emergency room. A catheterization was scheduled for the next day. I prayed for clarity and that any major heart issues would be ruled out. I gave it to God, but I was terrified. I’m thankful that the kids were there to wait with me. I tried to distract myself by working on projects and writing. But my heart and mind were with him, my rock.
My husband had to have stents put in. The cardiologist told us that it was possible that he wouldn’t have made it another week without treatment. He was shocked that my hubby had managed a two-day bike ride in April. He said that with his age and demographics, he never would have guessed the blockages were that bad. The genetics on both sides of his family likely played a role. I tried wiping away the tears before my husband saw me feeling paralyzed.
I am beyond grateful for the care and concern from his doctors. And I am thankful for the kiddos, who dropped what they had planned to offer support.
When you are the “sick” partner and your partner is dealing with something massive, it can take a toll. I am thankful that I can perform my basic needs. Still, I count on him and the kiddos to be there when I need a helping hand. Others may require more care if one partner is out of commission.
My emotions have been all over the place. Anxiety, fear, devastation, shock, anger, and gratitude are still hanging around in my mind.
Marriage is teamwork, and the dynamics may change at any given time. When one partner is lacking, the other picks up the slack. Our goal is to live our longest and healthiest lives together, doing what we enjoy. Together, we will get through this.
Have y’all dealt with a sick partner? If so, please share your coping tips and thoughts in the comments below.
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.