This year, my husband and I will have been married for seven years. They say there is a thing called the “seven-year-itch,” and that absolutely terrifies me. We are just now finding our new normal.
When Warren and I met, I recently had undergone a nasty breakup. My ex’s parting words were deeply hurtful, and they stayed in my mind (and still spring to the front whenever I am having a low day). I knew I had to be honest with Warren from the very beginning. I told him about my condition, and said that before things got serious I needed to know if he really would stick around through the good and bad. He said he would, and my heart was full.
About two months later, I had ovarian cysts removed and my bowel was nicked during the surgery. I was getting sicker and sicker but we didn’t know why. Warren told me to stay with him as he was concerned about me being on my own. When things didn’t improve and I couldn’t get answers locally, he drove me more than an hour to see my neurologist. I was admitted immediately and rushed through a series of tests and scans before being taken to ICU. A tube was inserted through my nose into my stomach to try drain all the muck that my body was producing. At this point, I had been vomiting for more than a week and was in so much pain.
After my first night in the hospital, we got the results and I was rushed into emergency surgery. I had septicemia. My insides were quite literally dying. I had an abscess from my left bum cheek all the way to my chest and over to the right-hand side. The doctors said if we had waited one more day I would have surely died.
The last thing I remember is being wheeled into surgery. I woke up 10 days later, after being in a medically induced coma and flat-lining a couple of times. I was on a ventilator and had an incision from the bottom of the ribs to my pelvis. I took some time recovering with my mum, but knew I had to get back to my house and try to carry on.
Warren refused to allow me to be on my own, and moved me into his cottage. He had to bathe me, clean the wound, and do all the household chores. I still wonder how I managed to end up with a man who loves me for me, warts and all.
We were married within a year, and he has continued to love and care for me. We have been through more in our time together than most couples have in a lifetime. He has been there for my good and bad times, through my hospitalizations, and failed fertility treatments. He has supported me when I couldn’t work, and encouraged me throughout.
Now we are having to find new roles in our marriage. Warren has been my caregiver for so long that we have never known what it is like to have a “normal” relationship. We were worrying about hospital bills and the next doctor’s appointments — not whether our house had been cleaned or if we had the latest gadgets. We know what it is like to fight fiercely for each other. Warren has been strong for me since the very beginning. Now he is having to learn to hand over the reins and let me be strong for him.
We don’t know what the future will bring, but one thing is for sure: I have never been more proud to be this man’s wife. He makes me smile so much and I know that he loves me deeply. We will figure out this role of husband and wife, not carer and patient. We cannot wait to see what our future holds!
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