In Sickness and in Health

Spring break came not a moment too soon. It’s not making that huge of a difference for me, but from where I’m sitting right now I can look past the beautiful vase of daisies and lilies and posies across my deck to see my dear husband out for a run. It’s so good to see him resting from the pace he’s maintained since our honeymoon.

I’ve been sitting around like it’s spring break for over a week now. I found out yesterday I have mono. That was after a few days on an antibiotic that was making me throw up. Over five days I might have eaten enough yogurt, applesauce, crackers, pears, and Silm-Fast shakes to make up one solid day’s food. I finally have an appetite again, precarious as it is, so I’m making pork chops and rosemary potatoes and caesar salad for an early dinner. Then I’ll bake those apples I prepared for dessert on Sunday when I thought I could actually stomach them.

This first day of spring break we enjoyed a lazy morning. Once again we have a beautiful, clean house. It had descended to quite a state through my week of illness and I can take no credit for what it looks like now. Mike just busied himself from the time we got home last night, taking out garbage, washing dishes, emptying the dishwasher, doing laundry. At one point I messed something up and he teased about “his” nice, clean house. There’s a role-reversal! He’s got even bigger shoes to fill now. Not only does he have to provide for and lead his family and juggle his classes, he has to nurse a sick wife and help her run the house when she can’t.

Finding out that, on top of my usual limitations from arthritis, I now have to battle against the fatigue and headaches of mono for the rest of my time in college has been a bit depressing. It’s going to take creativity and careful strategy to pull off my senior recital on April 29. I was feeling like giving up last night for the thousandth time since feeding myself became the hardest work I did in a day. For the thousandth time in our relationship Mike saw my despair and asked, “Be strong for me, OK?”

That’s when I remembered what I promised: to love him in sickness and in health. I think we undersell the full meaning of that vow when we interpret it to mean “I’ll take care of you when you’re sick. You take care of me when I’m sick.” Last night I knew I had to be strong for Mike even though I was facing months of sickness. I have to be strong for him when I’m sick. Or as Solomon said, “Two are better than one.” But not just so that when one of them falls the other can help him up, but so that when one of them falls, he has love as an incentive to get himself back up again.

So begin the months of mono.

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