I am engaged to a man with chronic nerve pain issues, as well as severe joint damage. He is constantly in pain. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The amount of prescribed narcotics that he takes on a daily basis would put most professional football players in a coma. He takes them in order to function on a somewhat “normal” keel. Don’t misunderstand me. When I say “normal keel” I don’t mean that if you take his pain killers away he will go full on addict withdrawal crazy (o.k. yes he would), but that his body literally cannot function without these medications at this point. Because of where his nerve damage is located, without the medications, he cannot breathe. At all.
Now, considering all of that, I am very patient in regards to his quirks, methods of unwinding after a long day at work, etc. But there comes a point when it becomes too much for me to deal with. Particularly when I am also in copious amounts of pain due to a physical injury. I have an insanely high tolerance for pain. I’ve had 4 kids and I’ve had major surgery. I’ve been back on my feet living life within a matter of hours or days following each. I work through illness and injury, all while taking care of others. He gets sick and is literally in bed for DAYS, not getting up at all except to use the restroom or eat. I get sick and it’s business as usual. Cooking, cleaning, and caring for the family.
Yesterday I pushed a bit too hard during my workout and managed to strain several muscles in my lower body. Today, moving at all has been next to impossible. Yet I managed to get up, get myself and his daughter dressed, take her to preschool, carry on with my day, and pick her back up from preschool. When we got back home, I put her down for a nap and decided it would be best that I rested as well.
A few hours later, he comes home from work. Does he come to check on me? No. He gets his daughter out of bed and plops her on the couch in front of the television and proceeds to get on his computer to play video games. I finally pry my body out of bed around 6 o’clock because I was being whined at by an 80 Lb retriever, only to find the 3-year-old sucked into the television and him sucked into his computer. Nothing has been done regarding dinner. It was 30 minutes past dinner time for our 3 dogs (and they knew it). So what do I do? That’s right. I hobble into the kitchen at a pace reserved for most 90-year-old women with canes and proceed to make dinner (after feeding the dogs of course). He never looks up from his game. Guess who got to clean up dinner and the kitchen. Yep. Me again. He was still buried in his monitor. He managed to put his daughter to bed, but only because that’s the ONLY thing he does for her each day.
So here I sit. At 11 pm on a Tuesday night in January, reminded yet again that the only pain that matters is yours.