Monday, October 24

Narcolepsy and Sleeping Arrangements

A reader recently asked me about the sleeping arrangements I'd recommend for a couple with a narcoleptic spouse. My answer is simple: do what works. I really mean that. Whether it's sleeping separately, sleeping together, a traditional bed, two beds in one room, or totally separate rooms - do whatever allows you both to get your much needed rest.

I didn't always feel this way.

When my husband and I first married, I expected what many new couples enjoy: snuggling in bed with the person you're in love with and gently drifting off to sleep together. Within the first few weeks of our marriage, I was rudely awakened from that expectation - literally. I quickly realized that my husband snored - loudly. He would stop breathing at times... and then gasp wildly for air, sometimes choking in a fight to take a breath. He talked. He laughed. He flailed his arms sometimes. He occasionally yelled or even screamed. It was nearly impossible for me to get any sleep with him by my side. And snuggling? Ha! Although we may have started out spooning, as my husband drifted off to sleep, he would jerk and tremble when touched. Needless to say, we knew that we would have to make some different sleeping arrangements.

Not all people with narcolepsy have such extreme difficulty getting a sound night's sleep. Although trouble sleeping at night is a very common symptom of the disease, it isn't an absolute. See, my husband also suffers from sleep apnea (hence the snoring and gasping problems), mild restless leg syndrome (touching him as he sleep disturbs him greatly), and hypnagogic hallucinations (which causes him to talk, laugh, and move in response to images that are simply dreams). Before his diagnosis, we tried everything. I tried over-the-counter sleep aids to help me fall asleep sooner - fail. I tried ear plugs of a variety of materials (and prices) - fail. We tried products that claimed to stop snoring - fail. We even tried combining solutions - major fail. Finally we were forced to admit that the only solution that seemed to work for us was to sleep in separate rooms. Initially, I felt saddened at the thought that we wouldn't fall asleep in each others arms. After my first good night's sleep in years, however, my feelings changed. I could only think, "Ah, sweet relief!"

That's where it stands today. 90% of the time, we sleep in separate rooms. This does not mean that we live in separate rooms however. We just sleep separately. It means more rest for each of us, which ultimately, is better for our marriage. We're not the only ones, either. In an article about her own relationship, author Sophie Keller examined why sleeping in separate rooms works for many couples.

My advice remains the same. Ignore the critics, the TV couples, or what your friends are doing. Do what works to allow you both to get some sleep. 

Thursday, October 20

Taking Advantage of A Person With Narcolepsy

I take advantage of my husband's illness sometimes.

I never really thought about it before, but tonight, I noticed it and felt a little shocked... and embarrassed.

The other day, my husband came into the room I was in to ask if we could talk about something. It was no big deal, but I was busy. Okay, I wasn't technically busy. I was watching American Greed (I love that show) and I just didn't feel like talking about what was on my husband's mind. See, earlier I had told him about some interesting research that I'd done - re: narcolepsy, of course. We agreed to discuss it later and well... it was later. But I didn't want to talk about narcolepsy. We always talk about narcolepsy. However, rather than tell that to my husband, I said, "Sure, just give me 5 minutes."

What's so bad about that?

The truth is, I had no intention of talking to him five minutes later. He went to wait for me in another room, and within a minute, he'd fallen asleep. Just like I knew he would.

Ironically, the exact same scenario used to infuriate me. When we were first married, my husband would often fall asleep while waiting for me. I would say defensively, "I know I didn't take that long!" Now here I was, counting on his sudden sleepiness to finish watching a television show that I could've watched any time.

When I checked on him later, he was still asleep and I felt a little twinge of... guilt. "How mean am I?" I thought to myself. I'd be furious if I knew someone else was taking advantage of my husband's sleep disorder, even in a small way the way I just had. So I decided not to do it again. The next time I don't want to stop what I'm doing, I'll be honest and tell my husband so. Better yet, I'll just give him the time.

Tuesday, October 18

Let Illness Destroy Your Marriage In Ten Easy Steps

If you’re currently in a marriage where one spouse is chronically ill, researchers say that your relationship is more likely than the average to end in divorce. Health problems – especially chronic ones – typically lead to other problems: financial, emotional, romantic, etc. Put that within the framework of a marriage and voila! Perfect storm coming right up. 

Living with a chronically ill spouse for many years has given me some interesting insights – including what not to do. If you want your marriage to survive your spouse’s illness, do the opposite of what you read below.
  1. Focus only the illness, not your spouse. Make the illness the priority and the sole focus of your relationship.
  2. Only communicate if it’s about the illness... or any other problem. Who has time to talk about anything pleasant? The illness is important, so the illness  (and only the illness) always needs to be discussed.
  3. Only talk about very important matters when you’re extremely tired, hungry, or not feeling well. It’s even better if you’re both feeling lousy!
  4. Never recognize or commend each other’s efforts. No one needs to hear that they’re doing a good job at anything. In fact, it's better if you can put your spouse down at every opportunity - especially in front of the kids.
  5. Don’t bother to say I love you every day. You don’t need to actually say it. Come on, you’re still together, so isn’t it obvious?
  6. When you feel an argument building up, go ahead and duke it out. Why should you hold back your anger? You put up with a lot and you should get to scream, shouldn’t you? You deserve to be heard – at any volume. It’s even more effective if you throw something or use profanity.
  7. Never go on a date. Don’t worry about keeping the romance alive. Puhleeze. It’s enough that you still live under the same roof. Going on dates, leaving each other love notes, and constantly reminding each other of why you fell in love is a total waste of time.
  8. Don’t worry about the healthy spouse staying healthy. Constant worry and daily stress might take a toll, but so what? If you’re not the sick one, you don’t require any attention. Try not to get enough sleep, don’t bother to exercise, and just ignore your constantly rising stress level.
  9. Blame your spouse for being ill. Hey, they chose to be sick! The whole situation is all their fault. After all, couldn't they have chosen an illness that was easier to deal with?
  10. Stay isolated. Don’t go anywhere as a couple. Make sure not to attend parties, dinners, or accept any invitations to anything even remotely fun. Make sure not to have people over. Stay insular and focused only on yourselves and your problems. After all, the illness is the only thing that matters... right?

Sunday, October 16

Narcolepsy and and the Jealous Sister

My sister is getting married and I’m jealous.

She’s my only sister, and much younger than I am, and I’ve always adored her. I was old enough to watch her be born, helped bathe and weigh her at the hospital (they’d never let a kid do that nowadays), and I’d do anything for her. I’m excited about and totally emotional over her engagement.

I’m also very jealous.

I didn’t realize it right away. It started as this nagging feeling that was always in the back of my mind when we talked about my sister’s wedding. It started out small but grew quickly until it was actually bothering me all the time. I decided to sift through my feelings to see what my deal was.

My wedding was intimate, simple, and involved just the two of us. Our families weren’t there, and our day was completely nontraditional. 

It was also the most fun day of my life. 

To this day, thinking back to my wedding day makes me smile. I don’t I’ve ever laughed as much as I did on that day. It was so wonderful, we were so happy, and the setting we were in completely reflected the giddy, fun love we shared. It was perfect. 

My sister’s wedding will be big, elaborate, and elegant. All of our family and friends will be there, and the lovely, traditional ceremony will suit her perfectly. I’m helping with the planning and I just know it will be awesome.

I’m not jealous about that.

My honeymoon was simple – we took a (really) long weekend and spent half of it at a B&B in the city, and then holed up in our newlywed apartment for the rest of it. It was romantic and special.

My sister’s honeymoon is a destination vacation at a beach. They’ll have time away, play in the ocean, and come home to their new lives refreshed and rejuvenated. 

I’m not jealous over that either.

It finally hit me one day during a wedding planning session. I tried to include my husband in a few things, but was repeatedly turned down. Finally I realized that they didn’t want him to help with the wedding. Not because they don’t love him or because they dislike him. It was because of his narcolepsy. They figured he’d probably fall asleep. That’s what was bothering me. I was jealous of my sister’s future husband. He’s kind and totally devoted to my sister, and I actually like him... and he’s healthy.

I'm jealous because my sister’s husband won’t have narcolepsy.

I’m usually not jealous of other women’s husbands. Every now and then I’ll hear about a couple going on a road trip (I love them), or spending an entire day at the movies (how fun!), or just cuddling on the couch, and I’ll think wistfully of how nice that would be. My husband can’t do those things without falling asleep. But jealousy? Not really. Not until now.

Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t wish narcolepsy on anyone! I’m so happy that my sister is marrying someone who will be as healthy as she is. But I’m jealous of the fact that her husband will be “normal” - not always tired or sleepy. When they have Sunday dinner at my parents’ house, she won’t join everyone at the table while her husband catches a nap somewhere. She won’t be asked, “Where’s your hubby? Sleeping?” repeatedly throughout the day. The unspoken phrase, “if he isn't too tired" won’t be tacked onto the end of every request made of her husband.

It's another reality check for me - another indication that having a chronically ill spouse makes me different from other people. Who would imagine that one could be jealous of someone having a healthy partner? It's almost funny. Almost.

The good news is that admitting it to myself allows me to move on and finish helping my sis with her plans. Admitting it reminds me not to compare my relationship to anyone else's. Faults and all, it's uniquely mine and I'm grateful for what I have.

Most of the time.

Friday, October 14

End of the Medication Nightmare ... Maybe

I'm not too thrilled with my last blog post.

My mouse hovered over the delete button, but I'm going to leave it alone. After all, this blog is about my reality of living with a narcoleptic spouse, and that day my reality was that I felt bitter. And tired. And discouraged. But today my reality is different. I feel better. I actually feel hopeful. In a previous post, I discussed how Nuvigil worked for my husband, but we couldn't afford it (even with so-called "good" insurance). Well circumstances have changed and Nuvigil is now within our grasp! I'm very happy about it; my husband will start taking it this week.

I feel hopeful because the husband who is irritable, quick to anger, and sometimes says mean things is not really my husband. It's my Medicated Husband. Different guy - same winning smile. Unfortunately, I don't see that smile a lot when he's on his current medication. I've talked a lot about how much I hate Adderall, so believe me when I say that I am thrilled to kiss it goodbye.

Believe it or not, I'm not knocking Adderall.

I'm sure it's worked great for some narcoleptics. I'm sure it has really changed some lives for the better and helped immensely. I'm sure it's the answer to many prayers. But not for us. The side effects just weren't worth it. I preferred to have my sleepy husband who fell asleep every half hour to the amped-up guy who couldn't sit still and was incredibly intense over mundane things. That guy was the inspiration behind my last post.

My husband deserves to feel better. He really does. As much as I hate the way he is on Adderall, he hates the way he feels. Because he's actually tried Nuvigil before, we know that it works for him. I posted about it not too long ago because our insurance didn't cover Nuvigil. We applied for the medication assistance program, but guess what? If you have insurance, you don't qualify. What?! That's our health care system for ya.

We're still interested in trying some other things, including something to help him sleep, but I'll take things one thing at a time for now.

I'm just so grateful that my reality is different today.

Wednesday, October 12

Doubts and Self Destruction

Sometimes I wonder what I'm doing here.

I mean, in this marriage.

Lately, I've been having a real hard time differentiating between the narcolepsy - excuse me - The Narcolepsy and my husband. Usually I can easily tell the difference between the two, but sometimes it feels like they're one and the same.

It's sort of embarrassing to read my previous positive post about sticking it out when things are tough. When I wrote "It's so selfish to be willing to bolt when the bad days outweigh the good," I wasn't thinking of a day like the one we had recently. After that day, I thought, "That's it. I'm done." I'm not exactly sure what I meant by that, but I just wanted to stop the madness.

Once in a while my husband just doesn't seem to care at all about our marriage or himself. There are days when I think he's self-destructing.

What am I supposed to do about that? I can struggle to find another medication for him, one that doesn't cause drastic mood swings, one that doesn't have such detrimental side effects, but I can't force him to take it. I can suggest he try some of the things I've researched: a routine, an exercise regimen, removing certain things from his diet... but if he doesn't want to try any of those things, I can't make him. All I can do is try. It's just really hard to care when the person you're fighting to help doesn't seem to.

But I never said that it would be easy, I guess.

Monday, October 10

Narcolepsy and Binge Eating

To look at him, you'd never know that my husband frequently binge eats.
Before his diagnosis, I just couldn't figure it out. If there was any kind of sweet or junk food in the house, it disappeared overnight. Cookies, doughnuts, chips, pie... the only evidence that there had even been a snack of some kind would be smears of icing or trails of crumbs. It drove me nuts! When questioned, my husband would admit - with embarrassment - that he had eaten all of the sweets, typically at 3 in the morning. 

Most recently, he devoured an apple pie overnight. The next week, he demolished the cake I had just baked that day. Finally, I thought... What's the deal?!
In reading a diet/health book a few years ago, I first learned the word ghrelin. In brief - ghrelin stimulates appetite. It's the little beast that growls and complains until we feed it. Unfortunately, when you don't get enough sleep, ghrelin is kicked into overdrive, making you feel even hungrier than normal. This is partly why doctors strongly advise getting more sleep when one is trying to lose weight.
When I did a little research and put two and two together... bingo! Well no wonder my husband pigs out in the wee hours of the morning - his sleep-deprived brain is telling him to! Crazy, right? It made total sense, though. It also made me wonder just how many narcoleptics overeat or constantly crave carbs and sugar... So now I know that something needs to be added to our action plan. Sure, I can keep junk food in the house for him, but what about his arteries? Skin? Cavities?
Maybe we can keep a treadmill and Listerine next to the Poptarts.

Tuesday, September 13

I'm NOT Ignoring You

Really, I'm not.

I love the comments you've made, the emails you've sent, the effort you've made to reach out to me.

As many of you know, having a chronically ill spouse is already difficult. Having a spouse whose chronic illness is narcolepsy however - well, that's a different story.

Most people just don't get it.

Most of the people I've met have either never heard of the disease or they may have seen it briefly portrayed in some random (and usually totally inaccurate) movie. When I explain how narcolepsy affects my husband, many people are sympathetic... but they still don't get it. How could they? I don't expect everyone to understand. Our own narcolepsy-educated families struggle to support us and what we're going through. So hearing from people who DO get it is like being surrounded by empathetic friends.

Thank you so very much for your support.

Have you sent me an email and felt miffed that I never replied? Have you left a comment and waited patiently for me to acknowledge you? Well, I'll be honest: it's really hard for me to talk about my husband and his health. Funny, right? This is a blog, after all. But spilling whatever's in my head and interacting one-on-one are totally different to me. My blog is cathartic, and it takes a lot of emotional energy. It forces me to confront certain feelings and helps me to think of the positives. Replying to individuals is harder for me, a lot harder.

I'm working on it. So if you get a totally out-of-the-blue email from me one day, just know that it probably took me a month to write it, and another month to finally send it.

I've saved every kind email I've ever received, though. I love re-reading them - it's very encouraging. Here are some of my favorite thoughts:

" Thank you for putting yourself out there, your entries were helpful to read."

"Your blog is very touching and honest and I have a tremendous respect for you writing down your experiences and sharing them... As a narcoleptic, a lot of the issues you write about are all too familiar to me."

"For the longest time no one believed me about having these disorders..."

"Thank you, thank you..."

I'm not superhuman or especially strong. I'm just a woman who's determined to fight narcolepsy's tendency to destroy relationships. But your support makes me feel pretty invincible.

Thursday, September 8

I Had Some Thinking to Do

 I've been avoiding this blog.
When I began this blog, I had every intention of sharing all of my feelings and opinions regarding being married to a man with narcolepsy. I had hopes of my words being read by someone - anyone else who was experiencing what I was enduring every day. If my thoughts and experiences reached and helped anyone else, pouring out my heart (and guts) online was worth it.

I mention all of that because that's what makes me feel obligated to maintain this blog.

So my last hiatus was intentional. I actually didn't have anything to say! More accurately, I didn't have anything that I felt comfortable saying, despite my anonymity. I know that you don't know me personally. I know that things I say here probably won't get back to my husband.

But he is my husband.

Making certain comments about the man I love just doesn't feel right. So I've been following the old adage of waiting until I have something "nice" to say before saying anything at all. This isn't to imply that things have been terrible since I lasted posted in May...

in June - we had some car issues that month, nothing really major, but things that were annoying enough to render the car inoperable for days at a time. My husband happens to be great with cars, so he worked on it piecemeal until it was repaired and good to go.

in July - remember me mentioning the religious convention that we attend every summer? We attended again this year and this time, my husband did great! I was so pleasantly surprised. He stayed awake for most of the entire program. He also helped immensely with our daughter, managed some assigned responsibilities to help with the convention, and we had a lovely time.

in August - a very busy month! Our daughter had her first kiddie party, my sister announced her engagement, and my family began planning a reunion all around the same time. Also this month, my husband experienced narcoleptic fugue that led to a big mistake on his part. Although that mistake wasn't divorce-worthy, it was something that hurt me (emotionally). Once again I was torn between blaming my husband, or blaming his illness.

September - our wedding anniversary is this month. Last month, things were so trying that I wasn't even sure we had anything to celebrate. Barely making it through each day isn't exactly cause for celebration, right? Or is it? I guess it all depends on your mindset.

As of today, we're doing okay. Not bad, not good, but making it, hanging in there, and fighting for our marriage. For all of you hanging in there with us - thank you.

Friday, May 6

Worst Week - Car Accident and Tornado Alley

 My husband had a car accident last week.

First, and most importantly, he's fine. The guy in the other car is fine. Damage was minimal, and considering how bad it could have been, I'm so grateful that things turned out okay.

When my husband told me about the accident, I breathed an audible sigh of relief and told him this:

"Honey, it's okay. It was an accident. That's why they're called car accidents."
"Hey, it's about time we put our car insurance to good use."
"You handled things well and I'm so glad you're okay."

Here's what I was thinking:
"GREAT! Like we need this right now!"
"How did it happen? Wait, lemme guess... you fell asleep?"
"Goodbye low car insurance rate!"

Isn't that awful? It was like two of me this time. The regular wife and the wife of a narcoleptic. We growled at each other, each determined to have her say... fortunately, now that I've had some practice, I was able to control myself and handle things fairly well.

He did fall asleep at the wheel while waiting at a light. When the car in front of him stopped, he drifted along, jerked awake, slammed on the brakes and swerved in time to hit the rear corner of the car rather than slamming into the entire back end. The most frustrating thing about the situation is my husband's denial that narcolepsy was a factor.

It's a recurring issue for us.

My husband seems to feel that admitting that narcolepsy is occasionally at fault for his mistakes is an admission that narcolepsy is a bigger issue than he cares to admit. I'm in the confusing place of not knowing when to blame narcolepsy and when to blame the man. When that confusion threatens to undo me, I stop and focus on whatever that silver lining may be. In this case, it was the fact that things could have been worse.

They really could have been.

On April 27th, our city was one of several hit by devastating tornadoes. The series of tornadoes killed almost 400 people across several states and caused billions of dollars in damage. Our family was scared, left without electricity and a few fallen trees, but we had our home, belongings, and our LIVES. Some of our friends didn't fare as well and are now homeless. Some here are still without electricity. It was a week of trauma that really put things into perspective.

My husband may have an annoying, frustrating chronic illness, but my goodness, who cares! At least I have my husband. The day that we sat huddled and frightened in our home, I leaned on him physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He handled everything. That strong supporter was definitely not narcolepsy - it was all the man.

Tuesday, March 29

The Medication Shortage and Another Prior Authorization

We had a little bit of an issue with my husband's medication the other day.

He ran out of his 30-day supply on the 21st day.

I'm not sure how we've been letting things slide for so long - I guess we've just been busy with day-to-day life. Okay, okay, I've been letting things slide for too long. I know good and well that my hubby isn't likely to be able to keep close tabs on his meds. 

When we attempted to get his new prescription filled, our insurance company demanded a prior authorization. Upon followup, we were told that the insurance company wouldn't pay for a new 30-day supply yet. The most leeway they offered would be a week (one week earlier than the 30-day time limit), so my husband had to go for a couple of days without.

Now what happened to the missing week's supply, you ask? Yeah, so did we. My husband insisted that he had not been taking extra pills, he didn't recall dropping, spilling, or losing any, and yet there he was, a week's supply short. 

First of all, I believed him. Originally his doctor had him taking more every day, but not liking the way he felt, my husband asked his doctor to step down his dosage. So if he wanted to take more, he could just ask his doctor to adjust that.

Anyway, I realized... I need to keep better track of my husband's medicine. Again. There's a lot that goes into helping someone with their chronic illness, and while I'm handling some other areas pretty well, I let the whole medication thing slip. Now that we know it's an issue, though, we've already made changes. 

We dole out just enough of his medicine for him to take with him during the day, leaving the rest of his medicine safely at home. We also use a chart now to keep track of when he's taken his medication.

Understandably, my husband was ready and willing to try new solutions to keep better track of his meds. The two days he had to go without his medicine were not good - for him or me.

So we're hoping our new methods will make things better - for both of us.

Thursday, March 10

Why I Want My Husband to Quit His Job

So my husband has been suspended from work.

Even though in my gut I could feel that it was coming, I was still unpleasantly surprised when he told me.

It wasn't a complete surprise, thankfully. See, my husband has a major issue with getting to work on time. In fact, he's been warned several times that his chronic tardiness is an issue. Although I don't believe that my husband's boss has been at all empathetic toward his illness, I do think that the patience exhibited toward him always being late has been relatively fair.

I'm really disappointed.

I did my part, I think. I try to always make sure he has clean clothes, a packed lunch bag, and whatever other little things that are necessary to get ready and out the door to start your work day. After his 8th or 9th tardy, I also bought him a new watch with a timer, stopwatch, and several alarm options. The truth is, none of that really mattered.

See, my husband's biggest problem isn't preparation. It's the suddenness, the unexpected, the Sleep Attack. Most of his lateness can be blamed on the times that he got to work half an hour early, but fell asleep in the parking lot. By the time he picks up his head from the steering wheel or someone taps on his window - he's late. Other times he felt so tired he'd take a break - falling asleep in the bathroom stall or with his head down on the table in the break room... it doesn't matter if he's on the premises. If he isn't clocked in, he's late.

Things were different when he had a salaried position with another company. But he gave that up a few years ago to move to the state we're currently living in - to be closer to our families at the birth of our child.

As a work-from-home mom who really loves working from home, I've been suggesting that my husband try my arrangement. Work from home, set your own hours, nap when you need to nap... but it didn't appeal to him in the least. I understood. Frankly, working from home isn't for everyone, but I was making any suggestion that seemed feasible for a person who could fall asleep at any given moment.

I'm not really sure what to do now. If he's late twice more - he's a goner - at work, anyway. He's been at his current job for almost 4 years, and really enjoys the work. He stays busy, is relatively well-paid, the benefits are just great for us, and it's a good company to work for.

Unless you're a narcoleptic.

So I'm now helping my husband job hunt - just in case. This isn't to say that losing his job is inevitable, but it's definitely possible. The good news is that in April - just a little over a month from now - his tardies will be wiped from his slate and he can start over. So if we can make it a month without him being late, he'll be okay.

For now, I'm going to keep doing what I can to help him get to work on time, and I've decided to increase my work hours, but I wish that he could just quit. I wish that he could live on disability or that I could support our family on my own. Of course, more than anything, I wish that he didn't have narcolepsy.

At least someday, he won't.

Thursday, January 20

You Gotta Put Up With the Rain If You Want To Have the Rainbow

Something I've been telling my friends and family for years - if you feel sad sometimes, it's OK. It really is. As human beings, we were created to feel: happiness, anger, sadness... we run the gamut of emotions, sometimes in just a single day.

Sometimes the emotions span a longer period of time - like a few weeks, for instance.

December was a quiet month for me emotionally. I intended to describe myself as depressed over the past few weeks, but it wasn't depression that kept me quiet and thoughtful during the month. I think that I was mentally and emotionally drained. Taking some time for myself in December allowed me energize my thoughts, examine my emotions, and meditate on events that took place during the year. It also allowed me to plan for this year - take steps to make things even better for my family.

I don't believe in the tradition of "New Year's Resolutions" but I do like to use the beginning of a new year as a sort of catalyst for change. My primary goal is taking better care of myself so that I can keep supporting my husband. Like it or not, I'm a caregiver. Although that may not be my professional title, it is a role that I respect and am determined to do well. In 2010, I saw the demise of many marriages, which saddened me greatly, and made me all the more determined to work towards my marriage's success. I am also determined to have a more positive attitude about our situation. Last year, a dear friend told me what her marriage was like in living with her chronically ill husband. He was sick for most of their 30 year plus marriage, but they remained deeply in love and the best of friends. Another friend is married to a really nice guy who has been ill for many years. He was recently hospitalized, but has since been released. She is now dealing with his uber-expensive medication, live-in help, and the machines he needs to make it through the day. You might think that they'd be stressed out or depressed, but they aren't in the least. In fact, the last time I visited, he lovingly referred to his wife as his "life-saver." They looked into each other's eyes and shared a wonderfully romantic secret smile.

I borrowed a book from the library about managing your marriage when one spouse is chronically ill. I returned it without finishing it after I got to a chapter that talked about separation or divorce being a fair option. I won't quote the author directly because I don't want to mention the name of the book, but I'll give the gist of it. She said that one has to think about themselves, what sort of life they'll really be able to lead with the weight of an sick spouse constantly on them. 

I disagree completely.

Marriage is about so much more than arranging things to avoid unpleasantness. A marriage is like the weather - there are good days, and there are bad days, there are absolutely beautiful days, and there are lulls in-between. It's so selfish to be willing to bolt when the bad days outweigh the good. Unless your spouse's illness threatens your life or the life of your children, it just isn't fair to leave. What's that quote about rainbows? "You gotta put up with the rain if you want to have the rainbow."

Maybe last month was more about introspection than sadness.