My Supportive Partner
Yesterday was my wedding anniversary, which got me to thinking about how much I love and appreciate my husband. Especially his role in helping me live with RA.
While it may be my body that hurts when my RA flares, I’m not the only one who has to deal with the consequences of my arthritis. I don’t think there are very many people who truly understand how much my RA affects my life – but there are even fewer who realize how much it affects my husband’s life.
But despite this extreme lack of recognition, my husband has somehow still found the energy to be endlessly supportive as I battle my RA. When he can, he joins me at important doctors appointments to help me remember the questions I wanted to ask and advocate for me when I can’t seem to do it myself. My husband will help me fight with the health insurance company or do battle with the pharmacy during inevitable mix-ups and delays. Despite his fear of needles, he is always willing to help me with my shots. He opens jars and carries heavy things and takes out the trash – and I don’t even have to ask him to do these things for me. (Ok, ok! Sometimes I have to remind him about the trash!)
Even when he has had a rough day himself, he is always willing to listen to my complaints and frustrations when I am struggling. He cooks for us or picks up dinner when I am running low on energy. If I have a particularly painful day, he’ll massage my joints or run me a bath. And if I have to limp to keep moving, he’ll slow down and hold my hand. He makes me laugh when I feel like nothing in the world could possibly be funny. He’s patient with me if I accidentally take out my emotions on him.
Because of my RA, my husband’s path to fatherhood has also been a unique one. He had to support me through six months of weaning off my medications. Then, when it was finally safe to conceive, he was extremely understanding and supportive about my aches, pains, and limitations. Now he is an amazing dad. When I am exhausted at the end of the day, he gives our two-year-old a bath and puts him to bed so I can relax. He takes over morning parenting on the weekends so I can get extra rest when I need it. He’s teaching our son to be compassionate and understanding when I am in pain. He has been right there beside me through what has been a difficult second pregnancy, and despite all this he is still excited to add another member to the family. I can’t describe how grateful I am to have him as my partner.
Anniversaries tend to provoke expectations about romance – where everything is supposed to be perfect. But here in reality, life is hardly ever perfect. And when you have RA some days are a whole lot harder than others. In my opinion it’s on the difficult days, not the “special” ones, that we really out to be showing our love and appreciation for the people who support us most. So if you are lucky enough to have a partner who supports you, I hope you will let them know exactly how much they mean to you – no matter what day of the year it is.
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