January 4, 2012

The Stress of Poor Health

For various different reasons Mark and I have been stressed over things regarding his health lately.

His broken chest wire, the infection it caused, having the wire removed only to find out the infection was bad.  Spending 3 days in the hospital right before Christmas to treat the infection and help the chest wound heal properly.  Being on a wound VAC requiring M-W-F visits to a clinic for dressing changes and carrying this heavy purse-like thing around and trying to sleep with it....

All of this caused much tension and anxiety all the way up until Christmas Eve.  Thankfully, Christmas Day went well.  It was a true Holiday.  I was so thankful that Mark woke up that morning a little more rested and in good spirits because I had been worried all week that I would have to put on a happy face and make Christmas good for the kids on my own.

I life truly is "one day at a time".

In the week after Christmas, Thursday I think, while shopping at Target with gift cards, Mark got a phone call from his dialysis center telling him he no longer qualifies for the state-funded Kidney Disease Program which was helping us with his medical insurance costs.  This caused our stomachs to turn and blew the wind right out of our sails.  We let the kids spend their gift cards and just left.

The KDP was reimbursing us for Mark's monthly Medicare premiums and payed his monthly secondary insurance premiums, $96 and $284, respectively.  That's no small amount of money.  We hoped through until yesterday someone made a simple mistake somewhere.  Alas, no.  We spent time on the phone with the financial services manager for the dialysis center yesterday morning brainstorming our options.

All this, and Mark paid the ER another visit on New Year's Eve.  There wasn't anything wrong with HIM, thankfully.  It was the dang wound VAC.  It was malfunctioning and we couldn't reach anyone on the phone who knew what to do about it.  Turned out the ER didn't know what to do either, and didn't even redress his wound properly.  It was a huge waste of time and Mark and I didn't even get to give each other a kiss at midnight.

I couldn't believe I cried both Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.  What the hell?

Mark's health problems have been taking more of a toll on him emotionally since his bypass in September 2010.  That experience brought his mortality right up in his face big time, and really rattled him.  Add to that his male pride....that he's not the same as other men....yet still a MAN in every other sense.... He is simply FEELING it all more intensely now.  He is way more easily stressed and worried and even cries more.  Not being used to this side of him, I keep making these mistakes in how to deal with it that cause us to argue, which is the last thing we need.

I am having to hold him up a lot, to reassure him that everything will be OK, everything will work out.  We've had this major role reversal in our marriage where this is concerned.  I used to be the one who freaked out easily and he would be my rock.  Now he acts as if the sky is falling during times when I used to.  While I too feel the stress and worry (and anxiety), I am now able to take a deep breath and tell myself it'll be alright.

I don't know how this happened, but I suppose it's the way it was meant to go.  That I would develop my strength to the point where I had enough for the both of us just when Mark needed me to.  He is kind of a mess right now.  We can't both be messes at the same time.  We have to maintain some semblance of normal life for our kids.  And I just can't let my husband fall completely apart.

Thank you, Shell, for giving me permission to pour my heart out once a week if I need to,
with the knowledge that someone will hear it.

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