To be honest, I can’t even remember if this was in our wedding vows. I don’t remember anything we said, just that I was with Mr. Lyndsy and we were pledging forever. I’m pretty sure we both meant “in sickness and in health.
Things took a worse turn for me than either of us expected. I think it’s pretty clear that Mr. Lyndsy got the short end of the stick when it comes to this particular clause of the vows. I will be the *first* person to admit that. His back pain comes and goes, but with exercise, he manages to keep it in check most of the time. When he’s having a flare, I do what I can to make him feel better.
I was chatting with my mom the other day about my upcoming back surgery. I have no idea how it came about, but all of a sudden, I hear her saying something to the effect that if it were her, she’d have said “I can’t handle this anymore, this isn’t what I signed up for this.” I was like, “What are you talking about?” (I thought she was maybe talking about work.) “Your surgery and health. This is a lot.” She finished up the odd chat by saying that he must really love me if he’s staying with me through all of this.
It’s been suggested to me that she meant well and that living with someone who has a chronic illness or pain is hard and that couples who have been together far longer than us have broken up over less serious illnesses.
Had I thought Mr. Lyndsy would leave me over any of this, I never would have married him in the first place. There is more surgery in my future – my back condition is degenerative. From the first surgery in 2011, I was just asking for more. I didn’t really have much of a choice though. The same with my upcoming tendon transfer. I could live in a brace that causes me pain for the rest of my life, or I could try to do something to walk more normally and hopefully with less pain (“no pain” is unlikely since I still have nerve issues).
I do not take Mr. Lyndsy’s support for granted. I was engaged to a man who didn’t even stay at the hospital while I had my first back surgery. He didn’t even wait for me to be under before he left. I was in a room, crying and in miserable pain, by myself for a while until a friend showed up.
I do everything I can to be as self-sufficient as possible. Because I am home most days, I clean the apartment. When I remember, I do all the laundry – his and mine. If we’re eating at home, I do the cooking most of the nights. I do the dishes the vast majority of the time. We go out and do things we both want to do. If he wants to see a sporting event, we go. We got to the movies. We go walking sometimes.
I do all of this despite the fact that most days almost every step hurts. My back pain is back with a vengeance. I do it because I made a commitment to him and our marriage. I HATE feeling like I’m a burden to him. I HATE knowing that our trip to see his parents and family, his first trip home in over two years, isn’t going to be what it could be because I’ll be in a space boot and not really able to walk. I know how much it hurts him to see me in pain.
When we got married we had to decide where we were going to live – in the US or in Qatar. Because he loves his job and mine was no longer healthy for me, I chose to move 8,000 miles away from everything I’ve known. To a place with weather I hate (I miss Seattle), where dust tries to attack me every chance it gets, to a medical system I knew nothing about even knowing I needed good medical care, and where I had one friend. My dress fits local customs and I watch how I behave in public so I don’t get deported. I did this because I love Mr. Lyndsy and I want him to be happy. Ultimately I don’t mind living here. I have a comfortable life (until I walk outside from May to late September). I have made other friends.
Why did I mention that? Him marrying me, knowing about my medical conditions – including the need for the surgery I’m having in a few days – was a choice. None of this came as a surprise to him. He knew what he was getting himself into when he said, “I do.”
When I mentioned my conversation with my mom to him, I asked him if he was burdened by my illness and injury. He looked at me like I’d lost my mind. “In sickness and in health, Wife.”
*This post is Day One in the 30-Day Project for June*