Caregiving: In Sickness and in Health

Caregiving: In Sickness and in Health
My husband Patrick and I recently celebrated our third wedding anniversary. June 7, we will mark nine years since our first date. Patrick was the first, and only, man I dated following my Crohn’s diagnosis. I hate to sound cliché, but when we met I had a feeling that he was “the one” so I looked for the right time to tell him what he was signing up for in regard to my health issues. I sought to find a delicate balance of telling him before either of us became too emotionally invested but waiting until we were close enough for me to share the intimate details of my life. I wasn’t overly worried that Patrick would walk away because he would have to take care of me or that I would be a burden. I wasn’t looking or asking for his sympathy. But I needed to explain the rashes on my hands, arms, feet, and legs. I had to let him know not to take it personally when I didn’t feel like going out. Most importantly, I wanted to make sure that he kept his bathroom well-stocked with toilet paper. Telling him about my Crohn’s wasn’t too bad because at least inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is treatable. The difficult part was telling him about my Crohn’s-related primary sclerosing cholangitis. How do you tell someone you might start a life with that you don’t know how long that life is going to last because you’ll eventually need a liver transplant? I don’t remember when or how we first discussed my health issues. I may have been running a fever one weekend and told Patrick about an upcoming doctor’s appointment. When I asked him what he remembered about learning that I was chronically ill, he said, “It was very sad. I was quite c
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